Thursday, November 26, 2015
That was my first thought when I saw apples labeled "Spymac." Cross two classics, Northern Spy and McIntosh. I'll bet it's a great pie apple, too.
Spymac looks squarely in the Mac family, with a streaky-to-saturated red blush over green yellow, moderate ribbing, and large light lenticels.
Closer inspection shows a blush that is a little less purple, and less vivid, than McIntosh's.
Spymac's flesh is medium-grained and breakingly crisp, light yellow and quite juicy. The flavors of this well-balanced apple are fine and unusual, melon dusted with a little light citrus and a hint of vinousness in the finish and the later part of the chew.
There is also a sweet floral quality, and maybe a little cherry in the mix.
What's especially nice is how well these flavors go together.
I also think that while Spymac has real character, it is an inoffensive apple that anyone could enjoy. It does not clobber you with intense sugar-tart combinations, is not hard or dense, and is not sour or acid by any stretch.
As such I would recommend it to anyone looking to stretch—gently—his or her apple-eating horizons.
I think these are ready for picking in early October. If so, Spymac must have some keeping qualities since I'm tasting mine in mid-November.
Champlain Orchards (Vermont) claims credit for breeding Northern Spy and McIntosh to create this variety. Well done: In retrospect, it seems obvious!