Monday, September 21, 2020

Pixie Crunch

Today I learned that Pixie Crunch, a modern variety less than 30 years old, is an "heirloom" apple because, apparently, it is not Honeycrisp, Gala, or Red Delicious.

(Not, by the way.)

My two tasting samples are small and medium, slightly oblate spheres with no appreciable ribbing. 

These attractive compact apples are rock hard in my hand with a stripey red blush. Tiny, distinct tan lenticel dots lend a visual accent.

Where the blush is absent, Pixie's peel is yellow tinted with green; where thin, the color and blush meld for broad vertical streaks of brownish red.

Pixie's calyx is slightly parted. There is no aroma from these orchard-fresh apples, unbroken.

Let's Eat!

Biting into the light yellow flesh brings a satisfying yet delicate crunch and light, even flavors. These are generally balanced, floral, and spicy, with faint vinous qualities as well; one sample (the bigger, sweeter, more vivid one) had the faint suggestion of malt.

The flesh of the Pixie is medium coarse and juicy, firm but not hard, like that of Honeycrisp. The size is also attractive: sometimes you don't want much.

The aptly named Crunch has a winning texture and taste. I am glad that I had a second sample, because the first was a little washed out. The apple's breeder describes Pixie as "full flavored," so perhaps there is a range.

If you are into Honeycrisp for its great crunch, you should really try a few Pixies and get a superior flavor set, too.


  1. You have a good post on heirloom that you should reference :)

    1. Why Dave, you know me better than I do myself!

      Of course, things like "heirloom" are, ultimately, social constructs.

  2. Pixie Crunch. Heirloom, hah! Cousin, Solebury Orchards in PA grows, tastes good, v. Popar with pyo. I have 10 trees on Bud9 rootstock here in W. WA (Skipley Farm) not a favorite.... Pretty, hard, low flavor, low sugar, clayloam soil, 11 years old, hangs forever(into December) ripe now. I Grafted on 10 different rootstock to see if I can bring flavor forward like heat (or rootstock) might in warmer PA. My Fiesta are very different on B9 vs. BUD118- much bigger, flavorful fruit on B118.

  3. As an orchard owner growing hundreds of named varieties and an on-site apple breeding program with many hundreds (thousands?) more, I tend to call all of these types of varieties "unique and rare" rather than "heritage, heirloom, or antique". Some ARE antique (Golden Russet, for example). But the uniques and rares...newer varieties with standout qualities...should not fall just yet under those other monikers.

    1. That seems exactly right to me! Lisa Anne's orchard, North Star Orchard, is in Pennsylvania.


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