Monday, January 15, 2018

Roger Yepsen's Apples

Open almost any page in Roger Yepsen's Apples to find a charming tableau.

On the right-hand page is a watercolor painting of an apple, rendered by the author with reverent realism.

Facing on the left is a verbal sketch of the apple. These are not long. Several comprise only three sentences.

The images float on the white page. The text, though brief, tells the essential things you'd want to know about each variety, including origin, character, and time of peak ripeness.

When you are done with one apple, turn the page for another. There are more than a hundred of these.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New year's wishes

A very happy 2018 to you!

I am pleased, and a little surprised, to look back on this blog in 2017 and see a healthy number of posts, including 22 apple reviews.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Careless surprise

I neglected to store my Suncrisps properly, and they wrinkled up.

Inside however the meat of the apple was still sound, and filed with intense flavors of caramel and brown sugar.

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Last of the Cortlands

Ice-coated apple on a tree
A reader provided this photo of an ice-encrusted Cortland apple in Harvard, Massachusetts, yesterday.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


I thought my previous review would be the last for 2017, but happily a reader from Washington State decided to send SugarBee my way. Thank you, John!

The moment I unpacked these, something said "Honeycrisp" to me. It isn't size: these are large but not nearly as big as the H bomb. Nor is it shape.

I think its the orange tinged blush, which also has shimmery quality, at least in artificial light. That is Hcrisp-esque.

Either that, or I am just sensitive lately about Honeycrisp's outsized influence on the apple world, and was unconsciously triggered by the S word in SB's name.

In any case, my gut reaction proved true, see below.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Kidds Orange Red

I am a sucker for this kind of look, a mix of colors layered provocatively.

Here russet tops the reddish orange blush, but on other samples the underlying yellow is also visible and sections of the blush are an almost peachy orange red.

This interplay of colors on Kidds Orange Red is further enlivened—or muddled—by large indistinct lentical dots smeared like the markings on an animal's pelt.

Friday, December 8, 2017


I didn't think I'd get a crack at Evercrisp, a ballyhooed Honeycrisp successor, for several more years. But today I have two.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December fruit

Left to right: Blushing Golden, Golden Russet, Esopus Spitzenberg
It's December, and time to open up the chest of pirate booty and start eating those keeper apples you put down against the inevitable coming of winter.

Saturday, December 2, 2017


Visually the most interesting thing about Wagener is the tentative, almost milky red blush, which washes in varying patches over a spring green that is practically yellow.

I don't mean that it is terribly beautiful, but it is surprisingly complex. The blush is also a bit streaky in some places, and there are small light lenticel dots.

The peel has a semigloss sheen. Click on the photo if you'd like to look closer.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


A lively little apple that tastes like melon. What's nicer than that?

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Not with a bang

Farmers market in the rain

The last farmers market of the year ends in the rain, as it seems to do so often.

Old Fashioned Limbertwig

I don't know how large these generally get, but my Limbertwigs (named for bendy, droopy branches) are on the small side of medium, stock sturdy Hobbits of the apple world.

They are just a little oblate, with ruddy red cheeks over a light spring green.

There is considerable iridescent russet and also a fair amount of sooty blotch. One sample has a patch of the black microdots known as flyspeck. (This cosmetic blemish has nothing to do with flies.)

Many orderly tiny white lenticels are clearly visible in the blush. These are tactile, little rough bumplets. Off the tree for weeks if not months, Limbertwig is rock hard and promising.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The harvest takes a bow

Union Square, Somerville, on November 18
It's the last week of farmers market.

But today you could buy 17 different kinds of apples in Union Square.