Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Katherine *

I had one job.

Take a decent photo of Katherine.

And look.

Sorry. This is the photo I have to share with no chance of another sample any time soon.

Perhaps it will prove sufficient when married to my written description.

Katherine, another Etter apple akin to Waltana, is large and classically shaped, with a bit of a square profile.

A washed out red blush comes off as a dull orange over a yellow-tinged green peel, but there are streaks and spots of darker red within the blush and a swath of russet across the top that gleams dully like copper gold.

The peel is glossy. A few large light lenticels complete the picture.

Ribbing is modest.

Katherine’s flesh is medium-coarse, yellow, and juicy. Her crunch is breaking but not crackling.

She bears rich flavors dogged by a faint bitter note. Is that from the peel? Anyway the other flavors more than compensate: Cane sugar, berries, a tiny bit of sweet grain, table grapes.

These are normal flavors but somehow the result is greater than the sum of its parts. Perhaps it is the richness of these flavors or the way that they linger after eating. There is a nice clean finish too.

Katherine is closely related to Waltana, in more ways than one. Not only do they share the same pollen parent (Wagener), bred by the legendary Albert Etter, but they are named for, respectively, Etter’s (1) wife and (2) younger brother (and sister-in-law).

I found lots of fascinating information about these apples and Etter from the Ettersville web page, maintained by a nursery that has taken up the breeder's legacy.

As for the photo: I actually had a lot more than one job, and field conditions were challenginig. But sorry.


  1. And where might one find such an apple? ('One' being an apple-obsessed, green orchard worker named Katherine.)

  2. Hi Katherine! This is not an easy variety to find, doubly so if you do not live on the West Coast. I sort of lucked out on this one.

    If you are in California, or even if you aren't, ask around. Katherine is an Etter apple, and Etter is a name to conjure with in apple circles.

  3. Thank you! Unfortunately, I live in Indianapolis and work at an orchard about 50 miles south outside of Bloomington.

    Interestingly, the orchard is 5 miles east of McCormick's Creek State Park. I wonder if there is a family relation from John McCormick, the first settler in the area, to Katharine McCormick-Etter. I don't know, that might be wishful thinking.
    At any rate, I might try to convince the orchard owner to order a sapling or two.

    1. Well, there are some serious apple nerds in the Midwest. For budwood, you could try the Ettersville people.

      Come to think of it, they might be able to steer you to someone local to you.

      I am sure you will track it down eventually. When you do, would you be so good as to post about it here?

      Good luck!

    2. I most certainly will! Thank you!

    3. I am also looking to buy one and import it to the UK for my father in law who is a Mr Lyscom! Did you manage to find it and if so could you please send me the organisations details?

    4. @Andrew: Lyscom, you say? Any relation?

      As for details, the link to the Ettersville web site is in my post above. Good luck!

  4. Trying to find some Duchess of Oldenburg apples to be shipped here so my elderly mother can have one before she passes. I bought and planted a tree of it for her but want to make sure she gets to have one to see if it is the apple she remembers from our farm before i was born. Any help would be appreciated.

  5. In Indiana, you might contact Doud's Orchard (Denver, IN) or David Doud's County line Orchard (Wabash, IN). Both sell a wide variety of heirloom as well as newer,less well known apple varieties


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