Gardening where the sidewalk ends

New But Not Necessarily Improved December 12, 2009

Filed under: digressions,edibles — greenwalks @ 9:28 pm
Tags: , ,

Since my family is a little bit apple-crazy, I figure I have to try just about any named apple variety I can lay my hands on. Farmers markets and orchard stands are of course the best places to find unusual varieties, but every once in a while something new pops up in the grocery store.

Last week, I spotted a sign for a new hybrid of Braeburn X Royal Gala, called a Jazz. It had the super-firm feel of a Fuji, which is not my favorite (I’d like to keep my front teeth into old age, thanks), but I decided to try it anyway.

"Jazz" apple

I don’t know if I got a poor specimen of the variety, but I have to say it did not make the cut for me in terms of flavor or texture (too sweet and chalky). Looking it up to make sure I had the hybrid varieties right, I saw that this particular apple has not only a trademark, but its own web site, Facebook page and Twitter following. I kid you not. I am not linking to any of them since I fear their PR flaks would take me to task for criticizing their product, which seems to have originated in New Zealand but is licensed to growers here in Washington state and elsewhere. But you can look it up if you don’t believe me or just want to see the cute young members of the JAZZ™ Apple Tangy-Sweet Crunch Bunch, coming soon to a town near you to offer up some slices. No, I did not make that up either.

I’m not knocking hybrids, I know they are an important part of keeping the plant kingdom thriving. In fact, it seems that the Royal Gala itself is a hybrid from New Zealand (Golden Delicious X Kidd’s Orange Red), ditto Braeburn (Granny Smith X Lady Hamilton, possibly). Those two combined represent a huge chunk of worldwide apple sales, so I guess I can’t blame them for trying to find the next golden goose. Has anyone else tried this apple? Was it any good? Did the name attract or repel you? (Do you think they focus-grouped the heck out of it?) Am I just being an old grump for preferring my apples not to wear stickers with company logos and trademarks on them?


6 Responses to “New But Not Necessarily Improved”

  1. I understand how you feel… a bit much on the hype side. Though in some ways … well it gives us a name to research … is it a company worth supporting? I have no problem with hybrids in cars … with fruits and veggies … I am a bit old fashion but as long as you stay in the kingdom you begin with I am not concerned . Its when those that think they must … mix the animal kingdom with the plant kingdom … that I think we protest too little.

  2. Catherine Says:

    I haven’t seen them yet, but it does seem a little over the top to have a facebook page, etc. When we were at Molbak’s a few weeks ago they were promoting Ice Apples. Have you heard of them? I guess they pick them after the first freeze. We didn’t try them but I thought it was interesting.

  3. RainGardener Says:

    I hadn’t heard of these either – very interesting. Sounds like they’re all over the web – more than we are! 😉

  4. Grace Says:

    Hi Karen~~ Bravo, girl! You said it. More commercialism, company PR and inane hoopla. Would you like me to tell you what I really think? LOL Here’s a rather embarrassing confession. The other day I was chomping on an apple, Braeburn, I think, and I got to this really chewy, icky–don’t swallow piece. I took it out of my mouth and laughed, sort of. It was the little sticker. Somehow in my haste, I’d forgotten to remove it. Oops. They annoy me on so many levels. Last night I was sweeping the kitchen floor and there was another sticker stuck to it. … I feel the same way you do. Hybrids are not a bad thing, per se but let’s not get over zealous about marketing them. At the end of the day, an apple is an apple is an apple. Personally I like the really crisp, sweet-tart, juicy ones. [I quarter them. Eating them whole is too much labor.] I did see Jazz at Winco but my immediate thought was, “oh brother.” Next time I’m there, I’ll buy one and give you my honest opinion. You can count on that. 🙂

  5. Jen Says:

    Never heard of this, but will keep an eye out for it. My favorites, Macoun, never seem to be available organically. In our school courtyard, we’re growing three apple trees grafted together that supposedly doesn’t need pollenating. I’m anxious to see 1) if it produces and 2) how they turn out. The tree is only two years old and didn’t bear this year.

  6. banner6 Says:

    I met an artist who did wonderful, witty collages using hundreds (maybe thousands) of those stickers…only good use I can think of for them. Hate it when they turn up in the compost. The alternative may be worse. I have heard that the next wave will be tattoos on the fruit. Just another reason to buy produce from the producers…locally, from farmers’ markets, fruit stands, u-pick and/or grow it ourselves.

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