THIS WEEKEND many orchards will begin harvesting Macoun, one of the most highly anticipated apples of the New England harvest.
Macoun is easily identified by its boxy shape and wine-red color, both characteristics of its Jersey Black parent. But what makes it such a coveted apple is its rich, spicy flavor, much of which it owes to its other parent, McIntosh.
Jersey Black (or Black Jersey) is long gone from America’s orchards; in 1905, S. A. Beach in his classic two-volume work, The Apples of New York wrote, “It is an old variety now practically obsolete.”
But Jersey Black’s influence lives on in Macoun. Its lenticels, or pores, were “conspicuous, numerous, and raised,” writes Beach, who notes Jersey Black’s color as “dark red, almost black, shading to a wine red” and its shape “somewhat irregular; the sides somewhat unequal.”
Beach is not impressed by Jersey’s Black’s flavor, however, calling it “agreeable, but not high in quality.” The 1909 cross with McIntosh resulting in Macoun changed all that, and Macoun has become a favorite eating apple of generations ever since.
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Activity at pick-your-owns and farm stands has been brisk so far this fall, as orchards are a relatively safe place to enjoy the outdoors during the pandemic. If you have been putting off that visit, now is the time!
Many orchards require masks, have washing stations, or other healthful practices to ensure their customers’ comfort and safety.
As always, consult our Orchard Finder to learn what is currently available at your favorite orchard or farm stand.
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OUR TOUR of New England apples and orchards continues this week with some of the sweetest places in New Hampshire and Maine.