Saturday, October 26, 2019


Top of an apple, including stem and leaves, with "E5 HD RD" written on the peal.

Will, from Central Massachusetts, sent me these (and some other apples) from his home orchard seeking to know what they might be.

They are from his tree E5 and are supposed to be Red Delicious ("RD") from a tree purchased from Home Depot ("HD"). You do not have to be a pomologist to know these are not those.

So, what are they?

These apples look like russeted Golden Delicious. They are conical and tapered with yellow peel showing through the rusty brown russet; some are a bit green tinged.

Quoth the sharpie (not shown): "not quite ripe."

The calyx is closed and lenticels are practically invisible; the stem is thin.

E5 has crisp, fine-grained light yellow flesh and, fully ripe or no, is quite good. This is decently balanced and sweet enough to please modern tastes without cloying.

If these are unripe, perhaps more individual flavors will develop later, but there is pear and a little honey and a pleasantly astringent finish.

It's like Golden Delicious, but you'd be able to pick them out from GD blindfolded. These are livelier and less lush.

The jury has reached a verdict

In my opinion, these are an apple called Hoople's Antique Gold. That's a russetted sport of Golden Delicious.

I've had Hoople's before, but never finished writing the review.

Why? Bear with me: my sample, like the E5s, did not taste enough like Golden Delicious. It was (like the E5s) nonetheless GD-esque.

This raised doubt in my mind at the time, because sports usually taste pretty much the same as their pre-sport siblings.

But not always. These E5s convince me that my first taste of this apple, in Santa Cruz back in 2013, really was Hoople's.

They are similar, though these taste "not quite ripe."

So what are the odds of each of these explanations:

  • These are just random, unrelated varieties or even pippins that happen to look and taste the same
  • These are the same variety, and one that is known and cultivated to the point that it might show up, mislabeled, at a Home Depot.
The cultivar that corresponds to the second option is Hoople's Antique Gold.

Note to self: Time to finish and post that 2013 review.

Imagine your own story about the series of mislabeling mishaps that landed these at Home Depot as Red Delicious.


  1. It does look like Hooples, with the russet, although it surprises me that a big box store carries what I thought was a little known, obscure variety.

    1. I have no actual Home Depot knowledge, but I think the chain contracts with many small nurseries for trees. It seems likely that one of these might have confused a batch of Hoople's and shipped it to HD.

      You can choose your own labeling misadventure to explain that part of the story.


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