Sunday, July 16, 2017

No apples yet

The cupboard is bare at Nagog Hill Farm yesterday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The apple sleuths

There's Lee Calhoun, who chased the old apples and their stories across the south.

He rescued 400 varieties from near extinction though the primal wizardry of jamming a stick from the old tree into the rooted trunk or branch of a younger one and making them live on as one. Magic.

Tom Burford plowed similar turf, while John Bunker did (and does) much the same in Maine. No American state has a finer apple heritage.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The bag with the heavenly aroma

This bag held my stash of Gold Rush apples for two and a half seasons.

It smells wonderful.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Apples to Apples

I've learned a lot by comparing apples, eating and weighing two different breeds together.

Sometimes these head-to-head contests are lighthearted, sometimes for higher stakes, and sometimes to settle specific questions (such as, "is this early Mac very Mac-like?"). I almost always learn something new.

Turns out, I've held more than 30 of these contests. Here are some of the more interesting ones.

Monday, June 12, 2017

June gold

Goldrush apples picked last fall
Photographed June 11
I'm still eating the Gold Rush apples I laid down last Halloween and began eating in April.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Breeze (Gala, Galafresh)

Fooled again.

It's not unusual this time of year to see one or two new kinds of apples in stores, fresh off the boat from New Zealand or other points south. So I pounced on Breeze when I found it last week in a local supermarket.

To cut to the chase: They're Galas.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Rescue from a bleak spring (with music)

Note (or, perhaps, Warning):

The Music Appreciation Department at Adam's Apples has selected a recording to play in the background as you read today's report.

Mid-spring is the nadir of the apple year. The fall harvest is a distant memory and the first apples of summer are 3 months distant.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Gateway apples

To the extent this blog has a message, it is appreciation of the many diverse kinds of apples that are still grown, enjoyed, and loved.

Towards that end from time to time I take my best shot at pitching alternatives to fans of some of the standard popular varieties.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Apple blossoms on parade

Sweetland Orchard (or perhaps I should say, @SweetlandOrchrd) has won me over this week by tweeting apple blossoms straight from the Minnesota farm:

The best thing? Sweetland is going variety-by-variety.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Robots invade the orchard

Robots are battling for dominance of the orchard.

Check out this fruit-picking robot under development by an Israeli company.

Details are sketchy, but a promotional video shows two listless, sweaty apple pickers who are delighted to welcome their robotic overlord, which we are told can pick ten times as fast as humans.

Meanwhile, the sound track and the lighting changes and a robotic arm deftly harvests the apples.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Opal vs. Lady Alice smackdown

These two modern varieties rise to the top in the off season. Their distinctive flavors set them apart from the older Gala-Braeburn generation.

But which is best?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Lady Alice vs. Gold Rush smackdown

April is the cruelest month for apples, so far from the harvest yet too early for fresher reinforcements from the southern hemisphere.

Lady Alice and Gold Rush apples

But in April, two varieties stand out: Remarkable Lady Alice, which improves (to a point) in storage, and the phenomenal Gold Rush, perhaps the greatest keeper ever.

Since I am lucky to have a supply of both this year, this head-to-head taste-off became inevitable.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Are they old or are they fresh?

It'll be many months before I eat anything fresh-picked from an orchard, so the topic of keepers, and of the long-lived varieties that do well in controlled atmosphere storage, has been much on my mind.

I make a distinction between the old-fashioned meaning of "keeper" and the use of chemicals, precision chilling, and controlled atmosphere to arrest the ripening-rotting process.

The latter is a kind of high-tech suspended animation for apples. At least some of these methods are applied to all of the industrial apples you'd find in your supermarket in the off season.

Many of those are not naturally keepers and would not be good to eat if you just stashed them in your fridge for 4 months. They don't last long out of storage.