— by Dwight Bradley
The annual apple tasting was held at Bradley’s on September 22. About 30 people attended, perhaps a third of them non-members. We sampled 34 Alaska-grown apple varieties, which were contributed by about half that many different growers. People also brought a variety of excellent apple pies, apple- and raspberry crisp, apple sauce, and cider. Eighteen people actually filled out the rating forms. The apples were rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (best). The winner was Mantet, grown by Bob Boyer. Here are the average rankings, in order from best to worst:
8 or above: Mantet
7-8: Norland (red), Roda Mantet, Parkland, Lodi, Karl Franke Mystery Apple, Golden Transparent
6-7: Arvid Miller Mystery Crab, Viking, Ginger- Gold, Rescue, 15th St. Mystery Apple, Yellow Transparent, Heyer 20, Beacon, Patterson, Discovery and Red Astrachan (tie), Whitney Crab, Morden 359,
5 to 6: Rosthem 15, Hazen, Geneva Early, Adanac, Hugh Harris Mystery Apple, State Fair, Chinese Golden Early, Wealthy, Red Transparent, Summerred, Norland (green)
4 to 5: Primate, Westland, Heyer 12
As happened most years, the first apple to be passed around — an enormous Lodi — received more 10’s than any other variety. Most of the votes for Lodi, however, ranged from 5 to 7, which I suspect is how the vote would have gone if this particular Lodi had been tasted later on.
It should be remembered that the rankings are based on the taste of a single apple (or in a few cases, two apples), so the results are not necessarily representative. On my own scoresheet, the highest scores were for Mantet and Parkland (both 8). Within a week of the tasting, however, I sampled Alaska-grown Crimson Beauty, Eighth & M Mystery Apple, Rescue, Yellow Jay, Yellow Transparent, and Norland, each of which I would have scored 9 or 10. At the tasting, there were two Norlands, one a highly colored (red) fruit that had grown in full sun, and the other, a nearly entirely green fruit from a shaded branch. The red one rated 2nd overall, while the green one 31st! Next year, we should make more of an effort to sample the most highly colored fruits of a given variety.
Even though the tasting was delayed a week from Sept. 15 to 22, there still were a large number of types that weren’t ripe. From my notes, these included Wealthy, Discovery, Red Astrachan (mislabeled?), Morden 359, Heyer 20, Rosthern 18, and Dudley. On the other hand, Geneva Early or Chinese Golden Early would certainly have scored higher if they’d been picked a few weeks earlier.