Thursday, October 31, 2013

NY 315 *

This large yellow apple looks and smells like a Golden Delicious.

It's perhaps a little more squat, and the blush, when there is one, is different, a streaky orange pink with a hint of copper.

(Golden Delicious will blush if you let her, but the effect is more solid, like this.)

The green lenticels are a little different as well.

But the classic conical shape, the moderate ribbing, and the rich cider-and-honey aroma all suggest Golden D, in the family tree if not in the flesh.

It has an open calyx and is quite firm.

The curtain falls

Some of the urban farmers markets (Somerville, Boston, and elsewhere) will stay in business though Thanksgiving. But today, Halloween, marks the end of the market season in the suburbs.

Belmont's farmers market ended today with a bit of seasonal rain.
By the luck of the calendar, it usually falls to Belmont to ring out the end of the season. There were 25 different kinds of apples for sale there today.

I am always sorry to see things end, but they do that this time of year. It was a splendid harvest.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Arlington finale

Today was the final day of Arlington's farmers market for 2013
Yesterday was Lexington's seasonal farewell. Today was Arlington's turn in the low autumn sunshine. Tomorrow will be the last market in Belmont until 2014.

The Davis Square market continues through Thanksgiving, but best to get there before dark.

There was a great assortment of dollar-a-pound apples today. But make no mistake: The harvest is in, dusk comes early, and winter is coming.

Sutton Beauty **

Medium-sized Sutton Beauty has a dark red blush, a little dull and a little streaky, speckled with small tan lenticels that are grouped mostly away from the deepest-blushed region.

The peel is a lively spring green but nearly entirely covered.

Sutton is classically shaped and has only a hit of ribbing visible at the base.

In hand it is rock hard and has a strong aroma of sweet cider.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So long to so many markets

Many local farmers market close this week until next year. Lexington, shown, strikes its tents in just a few minutes.

If you were there, you could have gotten many old favorites, as well as Ida Red and Arkansas Black.

See you next year!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Golden Blush

From the outside, here is the only way that Golden Blush is not like Blushing Golden: It's a lot bigger.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Hidden Rose (Airlie Red Flesh) **

This medium-sized apple (many quite small) is elongated and conical. The not-so hidden blush is a solid fuchsia-tinged red over yellow green, but there is also a thin peach-pink wash of blush, delicate and pretty, over much of the back and sides.

Small light lenticels stand out against every background. In the right light they almost seem to glow.

There's moderate ribbing, and a thick stem in a shallow stem well.

The apple is rock hard with a sugary sweet aroma. Its calyx is shut and an unusually thick stem emerges from a shallow stem well.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Notes on a bumper crop

We won't have final numbers for a month or so, but there has been every sign that this fall's is a blowout apple harvest.

After last year's bad-weather debacle, that is welcome news.

One indicator is prices. Honeycrisp and Macoun commanded $3 a pound last year. Last week I saw both for a third of that.

Economists need look no further for a demonstration of the effects of a growth of supply on price, all else equal.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Russet Beauty *

This striking sample is small and oblate with minimal ribbing. The bumpy, textured coppery brown russet covers all, though it is thin enough in spots that the underlying green peers through.

Judging from a tiny area at the lips of the (closed) calyx, this is a vivid saturated viridian.

This one smells gently yeasty and has a very slight give when squeezed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

For further reading

I suspect a lot of you come here for information about a particular apple.

If I've done my job right, though, some of you stick around to see what else there is to see. (Here's my "how to find stuff" page.)

Beyond that, you may also be interested in the work of another fellow who tastes and reviews apples over at The Fruit Gardener.

I've reviewed that site before, but he has been busy this fall, and worth a second look.

Finally, I've reviewed a number of apple-related web pages. Here's an index.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Copley Square Farmers Market, Boston

Some of the wealth at Copley Square
Cities draw good things to eat, as farmers bring their crops to where the people are.

So, my first trip to Boston's Copley Square Farmers Market yesterday was long overdue.

There I found 30 varieties of apples for sale, including two that were wholly new to me (reviews forthcoming).

This market is open for business on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11 am to 6 pm from mid May until Thanksgiving. Tuesday November 26 is the last day this year.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Odd Couple

Tiny, flavorful Wickson poses with beautiful, placid Opalescent in today's photo.

I esteem both of these apples.

It's a sign of the times that you could have gotten these at urban farmers markets this year, without visiting orchard country.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Orleans Reinette

Though I've already reviewed Orleans Reinette apples, last week I found some unrusseted samples so different from any I'd seen before that I just had to try them again.

This is a very oblate, medium-sized apple with a dull red blush over green-yellow. There's only a little russet flared across the top, and many light tan lenticels. Really not like my previous ORs at all.

Unbroken this apple is firm and promisingly fragrant. Its calyx is quite open.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Watsonville pippin

This large spring-green apple, very ribbed, sometimes squat, lacks a name, a number, or even a pedigree, according to the grower.

A few of these sport a mottled persimmon blush, as in my photographed sample. The green is a bit lighter than that of a Granny Smith.

Sweetness predominates in the dense white flesh of this apple, with hints of lemonade, table grapes, and flowers. The flesh oxides almost instantly where torn.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall colors

October makes apples deep red, crisp, and fine. Above: Two Sisters of Fortune.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tydeman's Late Orange

This classically shaped apple is a little lopsided, a small large that is well ribbed. Dark crimson streaks mingle with lighter orange-red strips in the blush, covering a peel that is almost certainly yellow.

The net effect is orange with red stripes, quite handsome.

The lenticels are small on the darker, redder region of the blush and larger on the more-orange part that clearly got less sun. Tydeman's Late has a faint sweet aroma with hints of cider and tea.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dark Mollie

I did a double take when I saw this apple for sale last week. Can you guess what it is?

It's a Mollie's Delicious, which usually wears a much lighter and partial blush and usually is for sale a month earlier.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pink Pearl

What a distinctive, unusual apple! I'm posting even though my sample is a bit past prime.

The Pink Pearl's signature pink flesh, marbled with white, is front and center in my first photograph.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ruby Mac **

Ruby Mac is on the small side of large, classically shaped with varying degrees of ribbing (one very ribbed, the other moderately so).

The dark red blush is a little dull and more even than that of many in the McIntosh family. Coverage is nearly complete, with just a few spots of  light yellow-green peel where the sun didn't shine.

Tiny light lenticels are nearly invisible in the darkest regions of the blush, and the peel has a satiny finish.

A dusty bloom, patchy and thin, adds more visual interest. The apple itself is pretty firm in hand.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The harvest on parade

Brigham's had 11 apple varieties today.
Today I visited two farmstands in Concord, Mass., where I had my pick of 20 different varieties of apples, some heirlooms. 21 if you count different varieties of Cortland.

'Tis the season, to be sure.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sops of Wine *

The streaky blush of this apple, red with an orange cast,  covers most of a light green-yellow peel. Large light lenticels provide additional decoration.

The apple is on the large end of medium, oblate and moderately ribbed. It has a rich, sweet aroma with a hint of yeast, and feels quite firm

The light yellow flesh, more coarse-grained than fine, is pleasant to chew but not very crisp by modern standards. The flavors are well balanced, favoring the sweet side, with a little savory note and quite a bit of banana.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sommerfeld *

On the smaller side of large, somewhat blocky with moderate ribbing, Sommerfeld sports a variegated streaky blush, dull red.

This completely covers the yellow peel, though on the shaded side the streaks grow sparser. You have to look twice to notice the many light lenticels dotting the mix.

The peel has a matt, almost rubbery, finish. Unbroken there is a sweet cidery aroma and a little give to the hand.

Friday, October 4, 2013


This Gala x Fuji cross does a good job of splitting the difference between its parents.

Each of these ribbed, slightly elongated apples has a very streaky red blush over a green-tinged yellow peel that sports a glossy finish.

Light lenticels add even more variation to the striped blush.

These feel pretty firm with just a little give.

Rubenstar's flesh is very juicy and reasonably crisp, a coarse-grained light yellow. Balanced and mild flavors include corn syrup, a very little melon, and a faint generic floral note.

It's easy to see both parents in this apple, which is pleasant and should appeal to fans of Gala and Fuji.

Update: The grower insisted that this apple, which seems to be known in Central California, is its own cultivar and not Rubinstar (with an i),  a sport of Jonagold.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NY 61345-2 *

Whenever I sample one of these unknown offerings, too obscure to even merit a name, I feel as though I am sitting down with the grower who planted (or grafted) the tree.

This interested me, the farmer seems to say. What do you think?

On the smaller side of large, this apple is oblate but also conical, blushed dull red over green yellow. Large light lenticels show against the blush, and at the top of the fruit these are stretched into ovals and stubby lines.