Sunday, February 19, 2017

PRI comprises sprightly private fingerprint

There's a story, probably apocryphal, that the Purdue, Rutgers & Indiana apple breeding co-op sprinkled a private imprimatur into the names of many of its apples.

The story is that this surprise fingerprint can be found in the names of such varieties as Pristine (1994), Williams Pride (1986), and Enterprise (1993), each in its own way a priceless example of the breeders' art.

Monday, February 13, 2017


In this space, I recently published some misinformation about some research into the breeding ancestry of the Honeycrisp apple.

I regret the error. Here is the real story.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

McIntosh x Delicious

Breed the noble McIntosh with the ubiquitous Delicious, and you'll get a different variety every time you do.

But when the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station at Cornell University did so in 1945, it created Empire.

This apple is a reliable, crisp variety that boasts generic versions of the berry-and-wine flavors that characterize most of the vast McIntosh family.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Stellar notes

Have you noticed the absence of apples in the night sky? Apples feature prominently in classical mythology. Meanwhile, we have constellations to things like The Fly.

Enlightenment thinkers esteemed the pomacious fruit but neglected to place any in the heavens, meanwhile frescoing the southern sky with The Clock and The Chisel and The Compass Case, for goodness sakes.

Snakes and birds galore.
Well, this post is not about any of that. Rather it is my annual rating of the apples I've tasted for the first time, using a Michelin-esque three-star scale.