Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It's in the bag

A bag of tiny organic Crimson Golds from my supermarket.
'Tis the season, apparently, for apples sold in bags. In addition to the above Crimson Golds, my local supermarket is also selling bags of Junami apples.

Crimson Gold is, of course, the superlative apple created by California apple-breeding legend Albert Etter. I know it as a regular-sized fruit, medium to large.

Crab-sized Crimson Golds with Empire.
While it would not be beyond Etter to breed a separate variety called "Crimson Gold Crabapple" (which is how these were marked), it's pretty clear these are just tiny samples of the regular-sized apple. In a bag. And exorbitantly priced.

Their coloring is not as good as I've seen, but these little guys have the same rich complex flavors.

I nearly overlooked the bagged apples, including Junami, which is a winter treat. Bags can be a great value but I prefer to buy in smaller quantities.

bag detail
Click to zoom in
What's with the bags? Modern tastes run to large, so smaller apples are often bagged as a marketing move.

The smaller Junamis may just not have been large enough to be sold per piece. There have been no loose Junamis around here this winter.

Meanwhile, these diminutive Crimson Gs revive the confusion about crab apples that I describe in my Crimson Gold review.

It's not wrong to call the Crimson Golds crabs, but that just refers to their size.

I'm not sure why Cuyama grows them this way. Maybe it's easier not to thin them, and that leads to tiny fruits. Around here, Tougas Farm grows them at full size.

Etter sometimes called these "Little Rosybloom." Maybe "little" means that he grew them small, too.


  1. I know Crimson Gold only as a small apple. Larger than Wickson, but pretty petite. I've bought them here on the west coast (I think from Cuyama) in a paper bag, but friends also grow them. They are larger than Wickson on average, but I've never seen a large one. I think your larger samples are an exception rather than the rule. The big ones, unless mislabeled, may have been from some kind of dwarf tree or restricted form. I have a couple of the other Etter "crabs" on diagonal cordons and they produce medium sized apples in that situation. all of them I've tasted so far have a thread of taste running through them that reminds of Wickson, so they are probably all related.

    1. Thanks! I was starting to wonder if something like that might not be the case.

      There is however a small fog of misinformation about Crimson Gold's crab-appleness.

      Starting first of all with the notion that all small apples must be little malus angustifolia sourballs and thus sweet crabs are some kind of miracle (no, they are just small apples).

      In Crimson Gold's case, the story is further confused because, according to the folks at Greenmantle, the cutting preserved at Geneva that was thought to be CG turned out to be little old Wickson.

      To be fair to Cuyama, their packaging did not refer to these as crab apples. That was an embellishment from my local market.

      Size is quite a variable. These are actually smaller than WIckson.

    2. I'm inclined to think that there are some crab genes in some of those miniature apple lines though. I think that may be where the intense flavor comes from. I really like chestnut crab. I haven't spent enough time around Crimson Gold to know how it blooms, but both Wickson and Chestnut bloom on the early side, like crabs. I think there is actually great market potential for intensely flavored miniature "snack" apples. Especially with the (in my opinion unwarranted) sugar/carb phobia that is going around. I know small market growers can't produce enough Wickson to supply local markets once people get a taste for them. I had a lady drive back to the farmer's market and clean me out because they ate all the ones they bought in the car on the way home and had to have more!

  2. in Poland jaka jest cena apple in USA ? Poland Red Delicios 0,3 usd /kg
    gala 0,6 usd / kg
    mutsu 0,6 usd/ kg

    1. via Google Translate:

      in Poland which is the price of apple in the US? Poland Red deliciosa 0.3 usd / kg
      gala 0.6 usd / kg
      Mutsu 0.6 usd / kg

      Thank you mariusz!


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