1) Golden Russet:
(Please excuse the missing slice. I couldn't wait to taste it before photographing it.)
This apple wears leiderhosen and gold. In summers like ours, when the sun can dry sweet peppers on the plant and turn grapes to raisins in a day, leiderhosen may be what this apple, hailing from New York sometime before 1845, needs. My young tree gave me three beautiful, squat fruit; Emilio and I have eaten two, and one, heavy on its small branch, still hangs on the tree. While the texture of the two we've tried hasn't been perfect, perhaps a bit corky but not at all mushy, the flavor was amazing: spicy, tangy, winey, complex. This isn't a grocery store apple, nor an overly sweet Fuji (though those have their place). This is an apple that tastes like a season.
Blushing like a feverish child, Wickson is small, sweet, snapping with juice and intense flavor. Albert Etter, friend and scientific successor to Luther Burbank and student of Edward Wickson, developed this apple, a cross between a Spitzenberg Crab and a Newton Crab, sometime in the 1940s. It's a true California apple, but tastes like it has roots in Maine or Normandy. It is, according to every source I've read about it, the premium apple for a single-variety cider. There are only eight apples on my little tree this year, but I'm already reading up on cider press plans.
I wish I could have known the apple's creator. In the absence of time travel, I'll be satisfied with this gift he's passed down to me through time.
**********If you'd like to see what other people across the world are harvesting this time of year, join the Harvest Monday party at Daphne's Dandelions.