“One apple tree remains under my care.”

merton beauty

One apple tree remains under my care. It’s a Merton Beauty, bought as a tiny plant at a produce store in Sechelt. An organic gardener had grafted interesting varieties to dwarf rootstock, and I chose one almost at random. Merton Beauty is a cross between Ellison’s Orange and Cox’s Orange Pippin. For years, ours sat sort of sullenly in a little circle of stones near the garden shed, caged in chicken wire. I’d water it, give it the occasional mulch of compost and drink of fish emulsion. A few frail blossoms, an inch or two of new growth. Then it produced some fruit that was delicious. The information I’ve read about this variety stresses the aromatic flavor of the apples—their spicy taste, redolent of pears, cinnamon, aniseed. I can’t say I noticed those particular notes, but the skins were pretty, russeted at the shoulders, and the flesh was crisp, with a true flavor of apple. Not the empty watery taste of many supermarket apples, sprayed, waxed, gassed, and stored for months.

–from Euclid’s Orchard

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