I brought reinforcements and a better plan for my second visit to apple paradise. Our COVID friend met us at the experimental orchard, my apple paradise, to help us find and pick apples. We introduced him to varieties that he’d never heard. We were also able to spend a fair amount of time talking with the orchard owner about apples and his research. He’s an interesting person and the connection I felt from our first visit was still there. His work and effort over decades is evident everywhere you go. I continue to be overwhelmed by the shear number of trees and varieties. For my desire to explore apples and how they impact cider, I couldn’t ask for a better orchard.
For this visit, I wanted to pick some of the same apples that we’d picked a couple weeks ago but I also wanted to pick new varieties. I had a specific variety in mind that the owner had mentioned last time, Roxbury Russet. Believed to be America’s oldest named variety, it was discovered on the mid-1600s in the town of Roxbury, which is now part of Boston, Massachusetts. As you might remember from my article about the age of apple trees, I adore heirloom apples. The realization that these trees are growing from pieces of wood linked directly back to that original tree, still amazes me. Also, since I killed the graft I successfully started of the Roxbury Russet, picking these apples gave me a glimpse at what I could have for my cider. Since the owner allowed me to take some bud wood, it also meant I could try to bud graft a new tree or two.
As is my usual, I went about collecting my apple data for my database. The Pumpkin Sweet, CQR10T17, and the Winter Banana were apples that I’d picked during my previous visit so I wanted to see how they ripened. I also discovered some other exciting varieties including the heirloom varieties of Smokehouse, discovered in the early 1800’s growing near a smokehouse, and Northern Spy. The juice of the Pumpkin Sweet and the Northern Spy both oxidized heavily indicating these could both have high tannins. Another favorite find was the Hidden Rose, which is a red fleshed apple. It’s amazing to bite into one of these and see this red flesh. This tree is actually an Airlie Red Fleshed, which has now been branded as the Hidden Rose. This is similar to the Haugaun apple I found, which is now branded Autumn Glory.
Here’s my apple data for what I found.
Hidden Rose (Red Fleshed)
Haugaun (now named Autumn Glory)
Overall, the Pumpkin Sweet is fast becoming my favorite apple that we have found. That is because it appears to be a bittersweet, something I am constantly seeking for hard cider. However, there are so many that I love for various reason. As a side note, we made some apple sauce from the Winter Banana and it was awesome. It is awesome to think that my ancestors, who were in the US in the 18th-century, might have made hard cider from some of the same apples that I am using.
Do you enjoy data about apples? Check out my book, it has my complete apples data base and will provide you ideas and information on making and enjoyng hard cider. It will explain everything from making hard cider to pairing cider with food. I even include my favorite food recipes along the recipes for making your own hard cider. You can find it as an ebook and a 7×10 paperback on Amazon or a 7×10 paperback on Barnes & Noble. Click on these Links to check them out.
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