Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple Tasting!

Honeycrisp Carries the Day

"I'm thinking about apples," said Kevin.

It's not unusual for my colleague to begin a conversation about food, and he always gets my attention with this gambit. "I'm interested in local apples, but I don't know much about the different kinds," he continued. And then Kevin outlined his idea for an apple tasting event sponsored by our workplace:

  • Someone would get lots of different apples.

  • Someone would prepare a blind tasting.

  • Then someone would provide information on what we had all just eaten.

Instantly I realized two things: 1. This mysterious "someone" was, of course, to be me; and 2. it would mean the opportunity to buy dozens and dozens of apples with the company's money. It would be like Christmas—make that Applemas—at the Apple Pole, and I would get to be Apple Claus.

A committee of coworkers loved Kevin's idea as much as I did. Fully funded, I trundled off to the Minneapolis Farmers Market to buy the goods. I marched straight up to my longtime favorite, Brian Fredericksen of Ames Farm, and bought a bag of everything he had. I swung by Fireside Orchard to pick up some more varieties. In twenty minutes, I had acquired nine kinds of apple: Honeycrisp, Honey Gold, Early Gold, Fireside, Chestnut Crab, Cortland, Haralson, Sweet 16, and Sugar King. My market bags strained under the weight of all those apples. I was the luckiest pack mule in the city.

Back at the office, committee members assigned secret codes to each variety, cut slices, and devised a voting system. Coworkers filed into the lunchroom, filled plates, and started nibbling. Soon the room filled with animated conversation, evaluations, comparisons, and opinions. People tasted, debated, retasted, and voted for their favorites. About 35 people cast ballots.

In the end, and to no one's surprise, Honeycrisp won the vote. Its cheerful red and yellow skin, crisp texture, strong apple flavor, and generous juice make it the universe's best apple. Honey Gold came in a close second. People liked its mellow pearlike taste, good crunch, and lovely greenish-yellow color. Little Chestnut Crab trailed by only a few votes for third, but everyone was charmed with its diminutive size and spicy pear notes.

No, we did not try SweeTango—we couldn't find it! But we're a marketing company. We know that if the buzz is true, then a successful apple will be around for the long haul. We'll catch it on the next sales cycle.

Cutting up a Honeycrisp

Filling up plates

Kevin's logically organized plate

Tasting notes from colleague Kathy (click to enlarge photo)


  1. I want to know where you work and if I can get hired there, too.

  2. Thanks, Susan--we'll talk. :-)

    If you, or anyone else out there, decides to do an apple tasting at work, I'd like to hear how it went!


Thanks for your comments - nothing scatological, please. If you wouldn't bring it in the kitchen, please don't say it here.