Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Will's 1920

The top of a yellow apple, with the number "1920" written on it with a black marker..

Today I am tasting the first of a shipment of mystery apples from Will, who grew these in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, near Worcester.

Will got ahold of me hoping for some help IDing his crop.

I warned him that he'd probably be disappointed, since I'm not much of an apple sleuth. He sent his apples anyway. The provisional names are his.

Will believes these were planted a hundred years ago and were likely a popular variety from Stark Bros.

Conical yellow apple w bruises and small faint orange blush.He sent me two of these, medium and large, with lots of bruises.

They are elongated and just a little conical, yellow with green lenticel dots, but the smaller one (shown) has a small area of streaky, patchy orange blush.

Both are slightly ribbed, resting on five "chins" at the base; the calyx is partially open and at the top the stem is thin. There are a few spots of flyspeck.

Let's eat

The flesh is soft but pleasant, white, and fine-grained. It has a sweet but balanced, mild, flavor set that includes cane sugar, lychee, and a floral note.

These are good tastes and I also find a very faint trace of cocoanut and something citric, more like tangerine than anything else I can think of but not tangerine. In the smaller apple that expresses itself as pineapple.

This second set of flavors gives it a tropical character.

Conical yellow apple w bruises and small faint orange blush.These flavors are good together. Were the texture a bit better this would be a very nice apple. As it is I am pleased to have it to try.

Do I know what it is? Not a bit.

But if Will is right, he might find a match in a 1920 Stark Bros. catalog.


  1. Fun. I do like the name 'Will's 1920' but how about Winter Banana as a guess?

    I honestly don't know having never tasted the variety myself but it looks the part.

    I also don't know about 1920 but Winter Banana was for sale in the 1921 from the catalogue -- see Banana (Winter):

    1. Dave, my guess is not the Banana.

      Winter B is a late apple, not even ripe now, this was from late September.

      It's is a hard apple, ligneous hard, like an Arkansas Black, this was soft.

      They get pretty good in February, wouldn't mind finding some next month to hoard.


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