New Zealand is an apple-breeding powerhouse. When its harvest arrives here this time of year I have come to hope (but not expect) to find some apple that is wholly new to me.
Lemonade is a strikingly elongated lemon yellow with green highlights.
It is large and without ribbing, though the base is crowned with a circle of bumps.
Some samples have a faint orange-pink blush over as much as a fifth or so of the peel. The shiny surface of this fruit is articulated into shallow bumps and ridges that further suggest the glossy rind of a lemon.
Lenticels, the pores of the fruit, are almost invisible except where marked by a dark gray-green speck in the center. The calyx is closed and the fruit feels hard and firm. My samples have a pleasant sweet floral aroma.
With a name like Lemonade one would expect, if not actual lemon flavor, at least some tartness married to sugar. How does it eat?
Hard, dense light-yellow flesh is nonetheless halfway between coarse and fine-grained and pleasingly juicy. This hard firmness provides an agreeable crunch, but it does work the jaw.
There is initially a strong floral note reminiscent of Gala. Lemonade is a well-balanced apple in which there is indeed some tartness, but sugar predominates. Afterwards this is joined by a little melon flavor and a vegetable note; towards the core, one had a whiff of pear.
I also find a merest hit of vanilla. No lemon, but enough acidity for a nice astringent finish.
Lemonade is a Royal Gala x Braeburn cross that is sold exclusively by the Yummy Fruit Company near Hastings on New Zealand's North Island. Yummy markets Lemonade as "fizzy," but I don't see (or regret missing) that.
The Gala heritage is obvious, but that distinctive lemon color is quite a surprise.
Incidentally, if you collect enough Yummy fruit stickers you can win sports equipment—if you are a school in New Zealand.
There is some evidence that this variety is or was initially marketed as Honeymoon in New Zealand.
Lemonade is bright and refreshing, all the more welcome here for its debut two long months before our harvest begins. I wonder how Lemonade would mellow over time, but am not going to find out. These are too good to do anything but eat them now.
It is energizing to get back to the business of tasting and describing apple varieties for the first time this year.