King David here came courtesy of a reader.
I continue to be rewarded by the human harvest of personal contact with apple farmers and fanatics of all stripes.
A highlight of my year in apples was a walk in Tower Hill's heritage orchard with Richard Bourrie of the inestimable Orange Pippin web site.
Your comments keep me focused and thinking and are often the source of story ideas.
Predictably, I found fewer new (to me) varieties last year. It's naturally harder to find new apples year after year in the same location, but I keep looking. I'm up to 172 varieties and always hungry for more.
Despite that, I managed to write 95 blog posts in 2012, the same as in 2011. That made a total of 478 posts (!) since I started this project in 2008.
I also introduced a 3-tier rating system for apples last year, the better to structure those 172 reviews.
This felt more than a little presumptuous, but as the apples on this blog have proliferated it's been a challenge to keep the content available to readers in useful ways.
Right now you can slice this blog by season, category, and image, as well as by rating.
I hope this will encourage readers to try something new. I plan to revise these ratings annually.
Very best wishes to all of you for the new year!
When winter comes, can spring be far behind?