Sunday, November 26, 2017

Chieftain *

A lively little apple that tastes like melon. What's nicer than that?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not with a bang

Farmers market in the rain

The last farmers market of the year ends in the rain, as it seems to do so often.

Old Fashioned Limbertwig **

I don't know how large these generally get, but my Limbertwigs (named for bendy, droopy branches) are on the small side of medium, stock sturdy Hobbits of the apple world.

They are just a little oblate, with ruddy red cheeks over a light spring green.

There is considerable iridescent russet and also a fair amount of sooty blotch. One sample has a patch of the black microdots known as flyspeck. (This cosmetic blemish has nothing to do with flies.)

Many orderly tiny white lenticels are clearly visible in the blush. These are tactile, little rough bumplets. Off the tree for weeks if not months, Limbertwig is rock hard and promising.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The harvest takes a bow

Union Square, Somerville, on November 18
It's the last week of farmers market.

But today you could buy 17 different kinds of apples in Union Square.

This Week: Blushing Golden

Blushing Golden improves with age.

A good pick for November, it gets better in December, when lush flavors bloom. Highly recommended.

Buy them now and eat them later. If you are like me, you can't get these in December. So, stock up while you can. Winter is coming!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Scarlet Crofton*

This old Irish apple has a marvelous painterly look, with Celtic knots of russet, lenticels, and sooty blotch dancing across the red-blushed peel.

I got seven heritage apples to try at Cider Days on November 4, and this is the gnarliest.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


This small, slightly oblate apple, perhaps 2 inches across, is ribbed, sometimes extremely so. It has a streaky red blush over light yellow, tinted orange where the blush is thin. The lenticels are effectively invisible.

I have two samples that bear a sweet cider aroma.

In early November, Benoni's flesh is soft and yielding, on its way to mealy but with plenty of miles left before it gets there. It turns out that Benoni is a summer apple.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Surprise *

Red- and pink-fleshed apples are experiencing a moment right now, though the effect is sometimes muted by climate.

Many of these varieties (but not all) need an environment milder than ours to develop their internal colors fully.

Still Surprise's pink marbling is striking.

On the outside, this medium-sized apple, ribbed, alternates yellow-green, green yellow, and a light orange pink.

Is that last a blush, or does it relate to places where pink flesh lies immediately beneath the glossy peel? The surface is decorated with brown lenticel dots.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


With its magenta-tinged red blush and prominent lentical spots, this large, round, slightly flattened apple reminds me visually of Opalescent. (Some are tapered.)

Pretty RosaLynn's shiny blush is streaky in places, but coverage is very good. The unblushed yellow region of the apple in the photo above shows where, probably, another apple cast its shadow.

These have deep stem wells and minor but real ribbing. Mine came all the way from Washington State. Enroute they lost any aroma they might normally have off the tree.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Crow Egg *

Wouldn’t it be handy if apples came labeled? Someone wrote “Crow Egg” on the top of mine with a sharpie. That's the mark of having lots of apples and wanting to keep things straight.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Frostbite vs. Wickson smackdown

This head-to-head became inevitable the moment I first tasted malty Frostbite. Wickson has some similar flavors and qualities, and both make weighty historical claims.

One thing that might not be obvious from my photo is that these apples are both small. Frostbite is about 2 inches in diameter, and Wickson is a large crabapple.

But which is best?