Saturday, October 31, 2015

The hinge of autumn

Halfway between the September equinox and the December solstice, this weekend marks a profound change in the calendar.

Jack o’lantern apple

Friday, October 30, 2015

Allen's Everlasting **

Allen’s EverlastingHyperbole aside, the Everlasting enjoys a reputation as a keeper. And, it’s really good to eat.

My sample is small, oblate, and lopsided, but I saw larger examples. Most were broader than they were tall.

There's almost no ribbing on mine, but those ridges and bumps were more pronounced on some others.

Allen's Everlasting has a patchy orange blush with distinct red streaks over a yellow-green peel. It’s really quite striking; click on the photo for a better look.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The accidental apple tourist

There are so many wonderful apple events in the fall in New England: Tower Hill’s heirloom orchard walkGreat Maine Apple Day, and the Cider Days of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

The bounty of the harvest set out with increasing panache and sophistication.

But I was in California and stumbled on an extraordinary apple tasting entirely by accident.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Cornish Aromatic *

What a wonderful name for a fragrant apple.

My lovely Cornish Aromatic is quite big, ribbed and broad and a little tapered. It's got a very pretty translucent orange blush with darker red streaks in it.

It seems clear that the unblushed color would be yellow if we could see it, which we nearly can where the blush is thinnest.

All that is spangled with many large distinct tan lenticels. Look at it, like a huge round strawberry. I find it very handsome.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Red gold

These Ashmead's Kernel apples glint and gleam in the autumn light like pieces of eight.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Snowsweet again

I had a chance to resample this variety from the University of Minnesota, which has developed so many great cold-hearty apples.

The original review (one star) is here. I found a slightly different flavor profile the second time around. I think this batch may be a little fresher off the tree.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Gray gold

A lone Pomme Gris glows in the autumn sun, another burnished addition to my growing hoard. Happy fall!

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Belying its name, the Snapdragon is neither (a) snappy and sharp nor (b) especially floral.

Instead it's a pleasant and mellow new variety courtesy of one of the oldest apple-breeding programs in America.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

All-star cast

Left to right: Reine de Reinettes, Ashmead's Kernel, Macoun, Wickson, Cox's Orange Pippin
The gang's all here.

All 5 of the apples I've rated as "exceptional, worth a quest"—3 of 3 possible stars—together in one place.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Vanilla Pippin *


Yes, you can taste some vanilla in this pippin.

Vanilla is not an unusual flavor in apples, where it abuts vanilla caramel, cream soda, and banana.

You can taste a lot of interesting things if you leave behind the narrow bright circle of crunchy hard supermarket apples.

But first, take a look at this one.