Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Gasping for Apples

‘Wide” crosses with Eurasian crab apple trees bore red-flesh fruit for Albert Etter. The Burtons of British Columbia carry on his colorful legacy.


Pink Pearmain, one of the Burtons’ 27 red-flesh apples

Photo: Harry Burton

Harry Burton is a zealot for red flesh apples. He and his wife Debbie grow 27 varieties of these freaky fruits at their farm on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and hold an apple festival there every fall. 

Through a combination of indolence and congenital nostalgia, we’ve always found white flesh apples plenty fine (same goes for pink roses rather than blue ones, green foliage, and one headed kittens). Today, though, Harry enticed us into reading a short bio of pomologist Albert Etter, his hero.

It was Etter, a German immigrant to Humboldt County, California, who figured out how to make red flesh apples tasty. “Where conventional plant breeders would make their crosses between the most desireable standard varieties, Etter preferred ‘wide’ crosses that utilized primitive, almost wild types that are genetically distant from the more common kinds. Many of his best apple varieties have a crab apple for one parent.”

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Posted by Julie on 07/24 at 10:57 AM
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