When I read Howard Stringer’s article about his experiments with growing very late maturing apples, it reminded me of the selection Howard had sent over for us to taste at the beginning of February at home in Belgium.
From the early 1980s a group of 20 organic fruit enthusiasts have been gathering together to taste selections of different fruits. We belong the VELT organisation (Vereniging voor Ecologisch Leef- en Teeltwijze), similar to the organic gardening, Henry Doubleday Research Association in England. We have had many tasting sessions and gained lots of valuable information. Late keeping apples are important to us as we like to eat as much home grown produce as possible.
The visit of Vincent Turkelboom, a teacher of horticulture, presented a good opportunity to taste Howard’s apples on 24 February. There were three of us – Vincent, Aleide (my wife) and me. We gave marks from 1 (very bad) to 10 (the best).
All of the varieties received high scores and had benefited from last year’s beautiful autumn weather with Sturmer Pippin coming out top. They will all keep for a long period without cooling facilities and can be of great value to the amateur. It was an extremely interesting tasting session.
1. Otava: a variety from the Czech Republic
Yellow with a slight red flush, the flesh was a little soft, but still crisp, perhaps just over the top. Nice looking pips.
8 out of 10 and the second best overall.
2. Lady Williams: Australian variety
Hard, white flesh, crisp, sweet- sour with a special aroma; a long keeping Apple.
7 out of 10; third and equal to Yellow Newtown Pippin.
3. Yellow Newtown Pippin: arose USA c1759
As yellow as a Golden Delicious, still hard, sweet, with a special aroma.
7 out of 10; the third best.
4. Fremy: arose France 1830-1840
Still hard, old fashioned taste, sweet.
6 out of 10; the fifth.
5. Sturmer Pippin: arose England about 1800.
Tasty, refined after taste, pleasantly acidic; high vitamin C.
8 plus out of 10; the first and best.
See: ‘Global Warming and Fruit Growing in the UK’ by Howard Stringer posted under ‘Articles’