Friday, October 21, 2016

Bonnie Best *

Another Midwest variety! Grown in the Midwest. More on that anon.

This very large globe of an apple has only the suggestion of ribs.

The green-tinted yellow peel peers through a streaky red blush; the view from the top seems to resolve into thousands of fine lines radiated from the stem well:

The view form the top seems to resolve into thousands of fine lines radiating from the stem well.
Bonnie from above.
There’s a satin semi-gloss shine on the peel, and the calyx is open.

Tiny light lenticels are only visible in the most-saturated regions and even there are not obvious. The apple smells sweet and a little grassy.

Bonnie Best has flesh that is a tender, medium-grained creamy yellow, with a peel that is is persistent and chewy. She is not a hard or breakingly crisp apple, and may be just a little past peak.

The taste is well-balanced with a kind of non-citrusy tang I recognize from Haralson, though the two cultivars are almost certainly not related.

Bonnie is more tart than otherwise, but there's nothing to curl your teeth. She is just a little bit floral and has a tentative start towards some vanilla, which adds softness.

However it is the tanginess, with a savory echo, that is the most interesting thing about this apple. I said not citrus, but the tang is a little like chamomile (pineapple's first cousin) at points. The finish is pleasant and refreshing.

Bonnie oxidizes quickly. Other web sites rate this as tops for baking and sauce. Which I can believe completely.

This apple is named for Bonnie Keehn, who discovered this variety in Cooksville, Wisconsin, in the mid 20th century.

Bonnie and several other varieties came my way this month courtesy of Lisa Boes, a former resident of my town who moved to Minnesota and who still visits back east. Lisa likes apples too.

Not only did she give me access to Bonnie Best, a rarity at best in these parts, but the fruits in question came from their native soil and clime. Not to exaggerate, but this can make a significant difference sometimes.

The kindness of fellow apple geeks is becoming a significant source of fodder for this blog, and I appreciate it very much.


  1. Next time I see Lisa, I'll thank her for passing these apples on to you. Did the Ruby Jon come from her, or was that from your orchard?

  2. Gretchen, yes, she provided the Ruby Jons.

    Do you find that they have any important differences versus Jonathan, other than color? (Someone who commented on that post thought they did.)

    Kudos to you and to Sweetland orchard for growing these great varieties.

  3. That was my comment on the Ruby Jons so yes -- I feel it's a substantially different apple than Jonathan. The trees seem to grow differently too, with the Jonathan in our orchard ultimately succumbing to our climate while the Ruby Jons are thriving.

  4. What time of year are the Bonnie Best coming in to riping? My brother inlaw lost his orchard map and is not sure of the varties. Some I can figure out like Yellow Transparent, Honey Gold and Cortland.


Join the conversation! We'd love to know what you think.