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Santa Cruz Apple Tasting 2019 Rankings (77 Varieties)
339 Posts
January 12, 2020 - 2:53 pm

I bet you can guess which variety came in last...

Battle Ground, WA
119 Posts
January 12, 2020 - 8:23 pm

It's an interesting list.  Some of the apples are unknown to me; others ranked surprisingly worse than I would have suspected, such as Cox's Orange Pippin and King David.

Brushy Mountain Limbertwig has been on my wish list for a while, and it is supposed to have good resistance to the major diseases.  I have never tasted a Limbertwig and can't envision what is supposed to be its unique flavor, but seeing it in first place makes me really want to plant one. 

719 Posts
January 12, 2020 - 9:56 pm

I noticed that almost all of them have higher brix than most grocery store apples around here.  

sw hills, portland, oregon
10 Posts
January 14, 2020 - 12:21 am

any reports of how the limbertwig grows around here? it's a southern apple... but a lot of them do fine in the western valleys.

Battle Ground, WA
119 Posts
January 14, 2020 - 10:22 pm

Jafar, do you mean that a store-bought local apple variety has a lower brix than the same apple variety  that was ranked - for example a locally-purchased King David compared to a ranked King David?  Or do you mean, just in general?  How do you think that either brix level would compare to home-grown apples that are left on the tree until fully ripened?  One of the most curious realizations in growing my own apples is how variable the quality has been, from year to year.  For example Liberty apples have ranged from excellent to decent, from the same tree.  I wonder if brix levels would correlate with this.

Brush, that's a good question about Brushy Mountain Limbertwig and something that I've wondered also. I had always heard, growing up only a few miles from where Golden Delicious was discovered, that it should never be grown west of the Mississippi River; that doesn't seem to be true, though.  So maybe it's worth a try, and maybe there will be scions at the HOS Fruit Propagation Fair in March.

John S
2736 Posts
January 18, 2020 - 9:25 pm

Part of the problem with grocery store apples is that they are picked way early, for better storage and handling.  They don't develop the subtle tastes.  Since they are grown for profit rather than for quality, there is also less investment in the soil and the ecology.

I can taste the difference.

John S

84 Posts
September 18, 2020 - 5:08 pm

I never trust those things.   I've got to taste the apples for myself.   

Further, I've attended a lot of apple tastings here.  And, the apples are never all at their peak at the same time.

Quite an art really....  Raising apples perfectly, picking them at just the right time, storing and shipping them, and getting them into  people's mouths, at the peak of texture and flavor.

Sadly, circumstances often conspire to elevate the mediocre, to the winners circle.

Can't imagine a well ripened Spitzenberg, so far from the head spot.  But, perhaps it doesn't reach top flavor down South.  Or, they had a bad year.  Or, they were picked too early.  Or, the apples were past peak.

None-the-less, thank you.  Lots of apples I've never heard of before.  Some of them have to be really good. 

Clark County, WA
519 Posts
February 12, 2021 - 12:50 pm

Some random thoughts on that interesting list -

That tasting is a snapshot in time and place.  Some apples are better, grown in one place than grown in another.  So, assuming they were all locally grown (I saw that in a comment on a previous tasting), the results may not apply here in the Maritime Pacific NW.  Also, comparing an early apple (overripe or stored) with a just-ripe apple, with an underripe late apple, seems problematic.  So it's nice to see that a lot of people in Santa Cruz in 2019 greatly preferred Brushy Mountain Limbertwig, over, say, Jonagold (probably my favorite of all apples when perfectly ripe and home grown), that doesn't necessarily mean that a particular person in Oregon City will have the same preference.

It's like with wines.  Certain wines are much better with grapes in one area, others with grapes grown in another area.

I don't see that they were blinded to name and appearance.  I know someone who loves ugly apples.  Some folks will be influenced by cool sounding names.

Please don't get me wrong, it's interesting and sounds like a great event.  I would love to attend, although Im not great with crowds of people.  I'm just a skeptic about choosing a variety from an event such as that.

I've also noticed a big difference from one year to another.  For example, my first Rubinettes were like potatoes.  Last year they were some of the best apples I've tried.

Also it's a good idea not to forget early / mid / late season and storage.  I love Pristine  and Gravenstein for early, Jonagold, Jonathan, Liberty, Rubinette, NorthPole, for mid season, and King David for late.  

Probably too long a post.  Snowed in, too much time on my hands ?

John S
2736 Posts
February 15, 2021 - 9:35 pm

Good points all.  That's part of the mystery of growing great fruit at home.

John S

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