— by Dwight Bradley
The following table summarizes the results of four consecutive years of apple tastings of apples grown in the Anchorage-Matanuska Valley region. This is a partial list of all the varieties that have been brought at one time or another to the tastings. For this table, I took only the top 10 for each year from 1994 through 1997. In some cases, such as Parkland in 1995, an apple will be ranked more than once. This is because more than one grower contributed fruit of a particular variety and each was ranked separately. The absence of a given variety in a given year could be due to many possible causes: For example, Oriole didn’t rank in 1994 because Tom Marshall didn’t bring any to the tasting, whereas Mantet and State Fair have been way back in the pack during certain years. Bob Boyer’s Ginger Gold is just starting to come into its own as a regularly producing tree; I don’t think it bore fruit in 1995.
The varieties are listed in approximate order from most to least successful. This involved some judgment; certain varieties could move up or down a few notches. The number of first- place finishes (column 3) and the number of years in the top ten (column 2) were the two most important factors. Clearly, Norland and Parkland deserve their good reputations for consistency (and hardiness) but as for quality, they aren’t up there with Oriole or Ginger Gold.
In the next newsletter, I’ll follow this short study up with whatever information I can dig up from the pre-1994 tastings.
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