Uncommon Apple DESCRIPTIONS

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POMME GRISE:  Aromatic, sweet, mildly acid, faintly ‘nutty’ flavor, firm fine-grained flesh. Green skin, usually covered with russet. Called ‘Pomme Canada’ by the French, believed a New-World survival of their now-lost Reinette Grise. So voila! Here’s a bite from Louis XIV’s table!

Eat what Louis XVI ate!  For centuries this small, sweet, firm fruit with russetted skin has been grown in French Canada — it’s very close, even identical, to the ‘Reinette Grise’ served at the Court of Versailles.

WICKSON: Flavor very tart over sweet, aromatic, ‘herbal.’ Tiny round form, smooth yellow skin with an intense red blush. Wickson is an American apple bred in the 1800’s for pressing & fermenting into alcoholic cider, but it tastes brilliant fresh or cooked, & looks nice too.

If you like sharp-sweet, fruity-herbal flavors, you won’t stop at one  Wickson. An accidental 19th century taste treat, bred in the U.S. just for (hard) cider-making. Small and mighty!

RIBSTON PIPPIN: From a seed of over 250 years ago, Ribston rose ‘as high in Great Britain as the Bank of England, … to say that an apple has a Ribston flavor is, there, the highest praise…’* Maybe, but you won’t get such potent, rich, tropical flavor by munching on money.  *A.J. Downing, 1845

In the 1750’s, its rich, potent, almost tropical flavor makes this the new rock-star English apple. In our century: the NY Times raves about ‘the cidery sweetness within’ the Ribstons we grow here. Just saying.

HUDSON’S GOLDEN GEM: Candy-sweet, really crazy sweet, hard, grainy, elegantly tall, with a variably russeted green-gold skin. A chance seedling of the 1930’s, dropped by bird or beast in an Oregon hedge-row. Prized, propagated & planted by fruit fanatics ever after.

Candy-sweet, crazy sweet. An American fluke, from a seed dropped by bird or beast in an Oregon hedgerow in the ’30s, prized by rare-fruit nuts ever since.

CALVILLE BLANC D’HIVER:  Grown for over 400 years, much honored by use, a French cooking apple with firm, fine-grained white flesh and strong, tart flavor.  Sour-apple fans eat it raw.  Smooth bright-green skin, occasional pink blush, & a chic lobed shape. Looks great & works great.

A French cooking apple prized for over 400 years for its tart, intense flavor and hard, dense flesh. All sour-apple fans will like it raw. Looks so chic, works so well.

TOMPKINS KING:  A husky fruit, literally heavy with sprightly, sub-acid flavor & its own elusive perfume.  The original tree sprouted in New Jersey before 1800. Serious planting for market began in the mighty orchards of  Tompkins County, N.Y. & spread outward for 100 more years.

A husky fruit, heavy with its own elusive subacid flavor. Discovered in 18th-century NJ, named for Tompkins County, NY, grown across our region for over 100 years. Delectable for fresh eating or for cooking.

BRAMLEY’S SEEDLING:  A superior cooker, Bramley’s is the beloved pie apple of old England. Big, heavy, tart, boldly flavorful & congenial with classic pie spices, it still reigns back home, but graciously grows to perfection on our patch of New England.

Big, solid, an honored cooker, boasting centuries of delicious service, (in both old England and New.) Its fine tart flavor develops beautifully here in our orchards.

HUBBARDSTON NONSUCH:  Fine-grained, crisp, juicy flesh, aromatic rich flavor, mild sub-acidity with sweetness. Skin greenish-yellow with dark red blush, usually dotted with fine russeting. Originally found in Hubbardston, Massachusetts before 1832; named with local pride.

Proudly named in Hubbardston Mass. circa 1830, for many decades after grown & sold widely in NY & New England for its juicy, crisp bite, aromatic flavor, and ‘handsome appearance.’

LADY:  Grown and valued at least since 1600, this charmer offers sweet, strong apple flavor & miniature crunch. Its longest history shows up in France, where it’s called ‘Api,’ & where its closest ancestor reputedly arrived with the Romans & found a permanent welcome.

A sweet, crunchy little charmer, grown and prized since 1600 or before. Its longest history shows up in France, where it’s called ‘Api.’ Its close cousin reportedly was grown there way back in Roman times!

ESOPUS SPITZENBERG: Potently sweet-acid, spicy, and aromatic, with fine-grained, dense flesh. Skin smooth, color intense red-orange, shape angular. Reputedly the favorite apple of  Thomas Jefferson, who planted it at Monticello in the late 1700’s, when it was a new variety from Esopus, N.Y.

Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apple, a potently tart-sweet fruit discovered in New York State before the Revolution. Great for eating fresh, cooking, and cellar-keeping. Take a bite! Mr. J. had the best of taste.

ASHMEAD’S KERNEL: Richly flavored, with keen sweet-sour balance, this russeted English treasure first grew over 300 years ago in a certain Dr. Ashmead’s  Gloucestershire garden. It won prizes for taste in contests held by the Royal Horticultural Society in the quest for exciting new edibles.

A hot new variety in the1700’s, it swept taste competitions at the Royal Horticultural Society. Now it thrills wised-up fruit fans with its firm, grainy bite and “astonishingly concentrated sweet-tart taste.” (NYTimes, 10/20/04)

BALDWIN: Rock-solid, fine-grained & delicious, Baldwin first grew in Massachusetts circa 1740. This great eater, cooker, shipper & juicer became the Northeast’s top apple before freak winter cold killed huge acreage in the 1930’s, making way for the hardier McIntosh.

An epic eater, cooker, keeper, juicer and shipper. It dominated Northeast orcharding till freak winters in the ’30s killed huge acreage. Still grown, still great: super-hard, fine-grained, and singularly flavorful.

GOLDEN RUSSET: One of the greatest American russets, with aromatic, sugary, grainy flesh. Originated in the 1700’s and spread across the colonies & subsequent states. Prized for eating, cooking, fermented cidermaking, long-keeping, & also for export back to the Old World.

Aromatic, sugary, grainy, a colonial American apple variety so good it was exported profitably back to England from the new States! Cherished for eating, cooking, long cellar- keeping, still seen on old, old farmstead trees.

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