Thursday, November 08, 2007

In appreciation of the apple! Apple tasting extravaganza

Again, it's been a busy few weeks so not much time to post updates here. A few weeks back we hosted a "heritage apple tasting" which was an amazing afternoon of great people, unique flavours (from tart, to sweet, to crisp, to sour, to dry), interesting learning, and later delicious homemade wine (thanks Alfred & Meghan!)

A huge thank you again to Bob Wildfong, of Seeds of Diversity, for leading us through the history and flavours of 22 different varities of apples! All varieties had been purchased at the local farmers market, from an assortment of vendors (some with larger orchards, some with a few old fruit trees, etc). Even though Bob mentioned we would have had more than 500 varieties available a century ago, I still find it inspiring to know that many of these old varieties have been kept over the years, tended and valued, and are all locally available through our farmers - even if not at the regular grocery store.

The varieties we learned about were:
1) McIntosh (c1811, Colorado) - crisp, mild, tart
2) Snow (or Fameuse) (c1730, near Lake Champlain) - possibly first apple grown in Canada?
3) Delicious (c1870, Iowa) - a good long keeper
4) Empire (1945, New York)
5) Golden Delicious (c1890, West Virginia)
6) Cox's Orange Pippin (c1825, England)
7) Royal Gala (1934 New Zealand)
8) Jonagold (1943, New York - Golden Delicious x Jonathan)
9) Northern Spy (c1800, New York) - favourite pie apple in NA
10) Sandow (1912, Ottawa - Northern Spy x ?)
11) Ida Red (1942, Idaho) - great for baking
12) Tolman Sweet (Pre-1800, Massachusetts)
13) Wealthy (c1861, Minnesota)
14) Golden Russett (19th century, USA)
15) Northwest Greening (Golden Russet x Alexander)
16) Wolf River (pre-1875, Wolf River, Wisconsin)
17) Cortland (1898, New York - McIntosh x Ben Davis) - the "caterer's" apples (does not brown)
18) Honey Crisp (1991, Minnesota) - very crisp and sweet
19) Ambrosia (1980's, British Columbia) - chance discovery in an orchard
20) Baxter
21) Schatzi
22) Hyslop crabapple (mid-1800's) - tangy and dry, good for apple jelly

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