One bite: the Cameo apple | Bleader

One bite: the Cameo apple



The Cameo. Word up.
I know apple picking season in these parts is over but John Seabrook's recent New Yorker piece about the development and marketing of the SweeTango apple—a cross of the Honeycrisp and the Zestar—got me thinking about my favorite apple, the American Cameo. Unlike SweeTango, which emerged out of thousands of crossbreeding experiments at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center, the Cameo was discovered by accident in 1987, growing in the middle of a Red Delicious orchard in Dryden, Washington.

With its red stripes painted over a creamy yellow background, it was thought to be an accidental cross between a Red and Golden Delicious, which were also growing nearby. It differs from the truly awful Red in more than appearance. It has a thin skin, a firm crackly-crisp texture, and a mild, delicately balanced sweet-tartness, with a lingering but subtle tropical aftertaste.

Mick Klug has been growing these for five years now, and harvested a large crop this year from his 300 trees. It doesn't sell as well as Honeycrisp, but it should.

How much does he like it? "Good, standard apple flavor!" he writes.

What does that mean?

"It may sound weird, but I think it tastes how an apple should taste. Nothing crazy like a Honeycrisp, or too tart like some of the other varieties." He expects to have them for sale at the Green City Market up until Christmas—that's tomorrow, December 10 and 17, and also at the special holiday market, Wednesday the 21st.