Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sweet Cheeks

I tried today's variety with the knowledge that it is a cross between Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink.

However, Sweet Cheeks (yes that is a name) did not especially reflect eating qualities from either parent.

Large but not huge, the Cheeks is conical, with slight ribbing. The blush is streaky red over yellow with some areas that are nearly saturated. This blush is decorated with many small tan lenticels ranging from tiny and close together to larger and more widely spaced.

Those lenticels are slightly indented in the peel, an understated echo of Honeycrisp, which is dimpled. The calyx gapes wide, and the peel is glossy. No aroma.

The bite is the big reveal. There's crisp, breaking flesh, medium-coarse and light yellow. The apple is sweet but partially balanced by some tartness.

However, there's very little distinctive flavor—like a Red Delicious in that regard—but Sweet Cheeks has a clean lychee note and, in one sample, some floral accents in towards the core.

Despite a decent crunch (though nothing like that of its famous parent), Sweet Cheeks is a little low in the flavor department.

It strikes me as the sort of apple that, with a some marketing umph, might have been popular 10 or 15 years ago, before the current trend toward flavor.

The name seems to prove Rowan Jacobsen's cynical observation that modern apples are all named for strippers. It is a trademark held by Hess Brothers, a Pennsylvania grower that perhaps originated this variety.

I can't find a plant patent, however, so am at a loss say which of Sweet Cheeks's famous parents provides the pollen and which provides the seed.

Plant patents are all about physical description and lineages, but trademarks don't deal with that—are pretty dull, actually. Behold the papers for the saccharine-cheeked one.


  1. It feels great to read about things that are totally unknown to you. Blogs like this one always add to your knowledge. Will have to eat sweet cheeks someday.

  2. I just bought these at our local supermarket and they are the best apple I have eaten, better than honey crisp and ambrosia, my used to be favorites!

    1. Found the Hess Brothers employee

  3. I too found this apple as one of the best I have ever tasted. Discovered it at a local orchard in PA last fall purchased 3 bushels and made apple chips via a mandolin and a food drier . Gave them out as Christmas presents. Came back with rave reviews. Purchased another bushel in January from same place. Tasted even better then. So a good “keeper”, very firm, sweet and juicey. Nothing even close to those bland red delicious, can’t believe that was even mentioned in the review Very thankful to find them at my local grocer several weeks ago.

    1. AGjb—I did not intend to make any invidious comparisons.

      I do feel that someone who likes Red Delicious could probably enjoy these as well (and perhaps even come to prefer them).

  4. This apple has tons of flavor. Not sure whats wrong with the author's taste buds

    1. When you figure it out, let me know!

      In the meantime, what does Sweet Cheeks taste like to you?


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