Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thrilling apple tales!

So I collected a few of my favorite stories from this blog in one place:

To see the collection just click here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A cast of uncommon characters

The apple harvest may have been uneven, but we've had a bumper crop of apple books. They are a joy to read in the bleak off season.

The challenge in writing such a book is to stay engaging while stepping through many apple descriptions. To make the descriptions parallel enough to permit comparisons without falling into deadly similarity. To use the descriptions to say something as a whole as well as many things in particular.

Rowan Jacobson, in his Apples of Uncommon Character (Bloomsbury 2014) won me over early with his voice and his views.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bad apples

May and June, so far from the harvest, make an especially bleak season of the apple year. High-tech industrial storage only gets you so far, and the supermarket apples are really showing their age.

These babies are months away. June 6 photo.
This year where I live the problem is exacerbated by an inexplicable absence of apples from New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.

Usually these fruits, fresh from the spring harvest below the equator, provide a welcome relief.

The imports ride in around the end of April and tide us over until the real thing begins here in late July.

Though unwelcome, this year's absence creates an opportunity for me to report on apples that I would otherwise avoid: those that have been in storage for as much as 9 months (and counting).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

New England apples from an expert in the field

Published last fall, Apples of New England is a rich guide to a topic close to my heart.

The small volume is somewhere between a coffee-table book, a primer, and a reference.

The author, Russell Steven Powell, is the former executive director of the New England Apple Association; he keeps his own apple blog. Documentation of each apple includes meticulous photos by Barr Lois Weeks, the current director.

In addition to a catalog of hundreds of varieties, Powell tells us some of the central stories about apples, with an emphasis on their New England roots in America.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Spring Gold

When I started this blog in 2008 it would never have occurred to me to hoard apples throughout the winter so that I could enjoy them in mid-May.

Fortunately, I've learned a thing or two since then.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Market prices make a hierarchy of apples

My own ratings notwithstanding, the market has spoken about the relative value of different apple varieties.

In the supermarket today, a few tried-and-true varieties are in the bargain bin, going for 99¢ per pound.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Will a chilly spring bring a bumper crop?

No blossoms yet! Though in 2010 trees flowered (above) on April 24.
It's been grey and cool in New England this month, an extension of an unusually harsh winter.

But Russell Powell, writing on his blog New England Apples, says that farmers are glad of the chill. An early spring

forces a premature bloom in the apple orchard, putting the delicate flowers and nascent apples at risk of frost damage for an extended period.

Colder weather delays the apple blossoms to a time when a killing frost is less likely.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

7 Victorian towns brawled for Baldwin Apple honors

Fisticuffs! (Public domain image)
In the 19th Century no less than seven New England communities professed to be the one true home of the original Baldwin apple tree.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Apples washing, waxing & packing

Here is how the pros do it:

This time of year, unless you've got exceptional storage, all of your apples probably go through something like this.

Video by Domex Superfresh Growers of Yakima, Washington.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jazz. vs. Kanzi smackdown

Jazz (L), Kanzi
Jazz, at left, has the same parents as Kanzi.
Today's match pits Jazz (left), a Gala x Braeburn cross, against Kanzi, a, um, Gala x Braeburn cross.

So strap yourself in for some real sibling rivalry.