Wednesday, July 22, 2015

White apple pips

White pips are a sign that the apple is not yet ripe.

White pips from an unripe apple

The apple, an early Lodi, was super tart and obviously picked too soon.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Comment of the day

and rejoinder videos.

Steven Edholm, the polymathic paeleolith from Turkeysong ("a homestead in the beautiful coastal mountains of Northern California" as well as a blog) took the time to respond to yesterday's video about apple breeding from one of the big commercial breeders in New Zealand.

I've edited his remarks lightly, emphasis is added.

I noticed a while back how much breeding is the beginning of a line of thinking toward more and more sophisticated marketing. It seems like the trend is a little more skewed toward consumer satisfaction now.

I'm not convinced that they always know what consumers will want, given a broad choice [ya think?—Adam.], but apple quality in stores has certainly improved tremendously since I was a kid.

As many apples as it seems like they are releasing the entire industrial apple system will never be about diversity, or about really serving human needs or culture in a broader sense. It is, as the man said, a business.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A breeder's eye view of the orchard

Apple breeders consider consumer and production "fruit-quality traits" and even global economic strategy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mahana Red (Braeburn)

Today's apple is attractive and big, with red to deep red streaks, sweet, juicy, and crisp.

And it's a fraud.

That is, it's a Braeburn marketed under another name. And frankly, I've had better Braeburns.

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.