Top left: a mystery Russet from a farmer at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market in early October, top right: Pitmaston Pineapple from an apple farmer at the Portland Saturday Farmers' Market, bottom left:Tydeman's Late Orange from Grouse Mountain Farm, bottom right: Egremont Russet from Booth Canyon Orchards.
The Pitmaston Pineapple was probably the 'find' of the season. With an English lineage tracing back to at least 1785, it's a firm, dense yellow fleshed apple with both sweetness and tartness, a modest amount of juice, and definite hints of pineapple flavor at the skin. I'm still trying to track down the 'mystery' russet from the Bay Area. The Tydeman's Late Orange is a cross between Cox's Orange Pippin and Laxton's Superb created in Kent England in the very early 1930s. A fair number of farmers grow it here in the Puget Sound, and with good reason, it is even more accessible to the casual apple fan. It is dense and juicy like the Cox, and although it has a definite 'tart' lean, it is a bit sweeter. It is a good keeper and a good cooking apple. Harkening back to the England of 1872, the Egremont Russet is one of the oddest apples I've ever tasted. With a heavily russetted appearance bordering on gnarly, this smallish apple was dense and sweet but had a mouth puckering dryness that muted both its sweetness and its flavor. After three different tastings, I decided this wasn't my cup of tea. Oh, by the way, I'm still trying to track down the 'mystery' russet from the Bay Area.