The ‘lost’ apples of the Palouse entice a detective to sleuth for their rediscovery
Dave Benscoter’s obsession began innocently—as a favor to a neighbor, Eleanor, a retired missionary. Resettled near Chattaroy, and now beset with complications from childhood polio, she asked Benscoter ’78 to harvest some apples for her from the old orchard above her house.
“Every apple was too high for me to pick,” he says of his initial effort.
“One of the trees was 40 to 50 feet high. The trunk was split, and I couldn’t get my arms around either trunk.”
Determined to deliver Eleanor’s apples at some point, he started pruning … » More …
It’s canning day at Tieton Cider Works in Yakima. Tall, red cans of Rambling Route cider pass through a pasteurizing unit as they come off the conveyor belt of the mobile canning truck. Sold in four packs, the company’s first canned product is intended to reach the masses, perhaps even enticing craft beer drinkers with a moderately-priced, portable cider.
The label on a can of Rambling Route cider describes the journey apples made across the country to Washington: “When it reached the land that would be called Washington, the apple knew.” It knew it had found a home in … » More …
Perhaps the most venerable of tree fruits, the pear is luscious, but can be difficult.
Maybe, say some, the Washington pear needs some new blood.
Ray Schmitten ’85 and I stand on a grassy bench above the Wenatchee River Valley, a forest of Anjou pears at our back, as he points and talks about the interplay between his family and the landscape of the valley.
In 1897, his great-grandfather had a sawmill up Brender Canyon. He started out taking the mill to the timber.
“He moved up to that ridge and logged it out. Finally in 1921, he moved the mill and everything down here … » More …
Apple production was initially spread more evenly across eastern Washington. The planned agricultural community of Vineland (see “The perfect city,” WSM Fall 2012) included more than 900 acres of continuous apple orchards. According to Lyman’s History of Old Walla Walla County (including Asotin County), Vineland and adjacent Clarkston had “every conceivable advantage of soil, climate, scenery, water supply…”
Apples grown there included Winesap, Yellow Newtowns, Spitzenberg, Jonathan, Rome Beauty, and “assorted varieties.”
The September 12, 1916, edition of the Spokesman-Review reported that 60 carloads of choice apples were about to be packed in Vineland, Clarkston, and Lewiston, Idaho, for export trade: “The first carload … » More …
Much of Carolyn Ross’s work involves training people to quantify their taste. The sensory evaluation panels that she and her graduate students organize assess taste attributes in fruit and other foods and beverages such as sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and astringency. And “mouth feel,” which contributes enormously to the taste experience.
But for these panels to arrive at a consensus of, say, how sweet a given apple is, or how tart, or how much it crunches in relation to other apples, everyone must agree on the intensity of those attributes.
Before the panel members can evaluate a given food, they will train for a number of … » More …