Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The wet and chilly end of things

The last outdoor market of the year ended in rain and slush in Davis Square, Somerville, earlier today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Barnack Beauty *

These run medium to large, round, unribbed, and with a modest conical taper. They are just a little flattened at the poles.
The stem well is shallow and the larger apple has a "Roman nose," a fold that juts like a little causeway into the moat around the stem.

There manages to be a tiny crown of russet about the top too, brown copper.

The orange-red blush is streaky and subdued, but covers the similarly subdued green peel nearly everywhere to some extent. Barnack has many small light lenticels that are not at all obvious against this background.

In hand, the Beauty is a nice firm compact apple with a wide-open calyx and the faint scent of cut grass.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How much is a story worth?

Stories have worth, of the "priceless" variety. But do they also have cash value?

I don't mean storytelling, which is a craft and an art that, thank goodness, people pay for. I mean the stories themselves.

This blog is largely about the stories that apples have, so the question interests me. And as it happens I have a story about that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Razor Russet

The russet that jackets this medium-sized classically shaped apple is fine-textured and a little translucent.

It coats every part of the apple with a thin golden mustard shell that has some olive-green highlights. Greenish lenticels are prominent and large.

The small blushed area is smooth and tinted orange and brown. There are a few faint longitudinal green stripes beneath the russet.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Virginia Beauty *

Today's apple is a daughter of the South, but mine grew in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts.

Apples have their own territories, but I can only taste what I have.

Today that is two of these oblate, slightly conical apples grown far north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

A dull red blush covers about half the surface over spring green. Large light lenticels are striking, as is an iridescent coppery sheen reflecting from the peel's satiny finish.

Virginia has an open calyx, a thick stem, and no aroma.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ramsdell Sweet

Running from medium to the smaller end of large, these classically shaped apples have a streaky red blush.

Save for a few dark stripes the blush comes off as more orange than red over the underlying yellow.

Many light lenticels further enliven this variegated exterior. There is almost no ribbing.

Ramsdell has a sweet cidery aroma and an open calyx. There's a bit of russet in the stem well, which is deep. The peel is moderately glossy, and there is a little give in the squeeze.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Kind people have sent me apples before, but Aurora is my first from a commercial grower seeking greater exposure for a new variety. I am pleased to oblige.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Eating October

When it comes to apples, is there any month like October?

I ate 62 apples last month, 23 different identifiable varieties and 2 apples I could not place.

They were great.

October is apple month
I've been tracking my apple consumption this year. Here's what the record shows for October.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Winter is coming

The markets are still filled with fruit, and memories of harvest bounty linger.

But the trees are bare or nearly so. If you want local apples to eat in December it's time to start stocking up. Otherwise, it will be hit or miss at the supermarket until July.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Spigold is great for eating and for pies
Huge, crunchy, and fun, this Northern Spy x Golden Delicious cross is famous as a pie apple. At this size, according to the woman who grew this one, "You only need 3 for a pie." A big pie.