Friday, May 16, 2008

Heirloom apples...and writing


Thanks to the Evil Fruit Lord for posting a link to this article about heirloom apples. Most grocery stores sell no more than five or six varieties of apple, maybe more during the harvest season. But more and more at farmers' markets these days you see a wider variety and an exciting array of heirloom apples. I have tasted some wonderful apples that had been more or less lost to history for many years, except to expert apple growers. Now all sorts of growers are getting in on it, just as enthusiasm for other heirloom crops like tomatoes is also increasing. You can even order trees to plant, like the ones offered by Trees of Antiquity.

I really want to write about them, too. The idea of them interests me a bit more than the pragmatic aspect of how to find and grow them. Seeing this, I had the thought that I really should try to follow up on researching and writing about things that interest me and try to submit them more widely...ya know, start acting like a freelance writer again. I guess I just kind of assume that magazines and newspapers are starting to be a thing of the past and that blogging is the only place anyone reads anything anymore.

Or maybe I am just losing focus and discipline. Writing has fallen to the wayside. I always kinda feel this way just after the semester ends. Must regroup now and get back in the habit, before summer teaching starts. These book projects will not complete themselves!

Not feeling particularly loquacious just now. More on this later perhaps.

But I leave you with this reading recommendation: Apples by Roger Yepsen, a gorgeous and nicely-written little gem of a book about heirloom apple varieties. I got this as a gift from my sweetheart during our first year together and I treasure it.

4 comments :

Luna said...

Thanks for the link to the great article about heirloom apples. I'm so curious now to try more varieties. You know, when I was growing up, there were apple trees in the field bwteen our house and the next that I always wanted to pick. They weren't being taken care of, and my mom always said that they were bad and full of worms (which may or may not have been true). Since where we lived was in the old town center (of North Andover, MA), I'll bet those apples were an heirloom variety. Sadly, the field is probably some yuppie's garage now, so I doubt the apples are still there. Is there a way to find out what apples were being produced in that area back, say 50 to 100 years?
Additionally, I'm excited to find out that there was a type of apple grown here in Boston, called the Roxbury Russet. I think I'll try to locate some and tell you what I think on my blog.

Peg said...

I think there must be someone who has researched this. It would be interesting to find out what grew where. I know Michael Pollan discusses a bit of this in his chapter on the Apple in The Botany of Desire.
The fun about heirloom varieties is that their lore is often very specific to location. I have seen Roxbury Russet trees on offer..the russet was very popular for eating in England, but they fell out of favor. They tend to be small and hard and dull-colored, but flavorful.

Luna said...

Thanks!

OrleansReinette said...

For anyone interested in heirloom apples, I would highly recommend checking out HeirloomOrchards.com.
They have over 20 varieties of heirloom apples that they ship in gift boxes. They have most of the really good varieties that I have heard of. I love those apples that are russeted and ugly on the outside. They seem to usually taste the best to me. They are much more interesting than the apples I have found in the grocery stores.