Archive for November 12th, 2009


On a visit to Smyth’s Orchard, I purchased an assortment of varieties to sample. RailGuy and I shared a taste test together one morning, comparing five varieties of apples at our sitting. Above is pictured the Lobo apple. Lobo apples were developed from McIntosh apples and were introduced in 1930. Beyond that, not much information was available about this older variety.


The Smoothie is a sport of the Golden Delicious. A sport is a mutation of the parent plant that nurserymen have removed from the parent and grown as a new and different plant. They have a very tender complexion, and it is said that a little dew on the fruit in the morning will cause some russeting. Russeting on apples is a particular type of skin, slightly rough, usually with a greenish-brown to yellowish-brown colour. Not a lot of information was available about Smoothies either, and some of it was conflicting.


The Jonagold, introduced in 1968 by New York State’s Geneva Station, is a cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples. Jonagolds have become more popular in Europe and in the western regions of North America than they have in this area.


The Honeycrisp was developed at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Designated in 1974 as the MN 1711, it was released in 1991 as the Honeycrisp. Its popularity has grown quickly. As a result, the government of Nova Scotia has encouraged its local orchards to increase their supplies through the Honeycrisp Orchard Renewal Program. From 2005 until 2010, apple producers in Nova Scotia can replace older apple trees with Honeycrisp trees at a subsidized rate.


Ginger Gold apples have an interesting story. When Hurricane Camille brought devestating floods to Virginia in 1969, the orchards of Clyde and Frances “Ginger” Harvey were badly washed out. While recovering trees from around an orchard of Winesaps, Clyde found one that was different. Instead of red apples, it produced yellow apples. Genetic analysis showed that its parents were Golden Delicious, Albemarle Pippin, and some other unknown variety. The new variety was eventually named after Clyde’s wife, Ginger. It is one of the first yellow apples to ripen and is proving a commercial success. It has even been proposed as the official state fruit of Virginia.

Yes, but how do they taste? It has to be noted that the apples had been in the fridge for a week or two before sampling, which may have affected their crispness, although they all seemed to be in good condition.

The Lobo apple has the whitest flesh. The other four apples all have pale-yellow-ivory flesh. Of the five, RailGuy and I rated the Lobo as our least favorite. It had a bit of a mushy texture (but see previous comment) and a not-unpleasant but rather bland flavour.

The Honeycrisp was pleasant and sweet, but again a rather mild, bland flavour. Its main appeal was that it was the juiciest of the 5 varieties.

The Ginger Gold had a stronger flavour, sweet and fruity.

The Jonagold was sweet, but had a more complex flavour, offering just a touch of a pleasant tartness and was our first-runner up for favorite.

And the winner? The Smoothie, although it was hard to choose between the last three. They were all nice. For the definitive answer, I turned to that renowned lover of apples, Mousie. Her verdict? They’re all applicious!


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