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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 2 (May 1, 1934.)

Fruits of New Zealand — Some Seasonal Apple Varieties

page 46

Fruits of New Zealand
Some Seasonal Apple Varieties.

How difficult it sometimes seems to learn the principal varieties of fruits! In many shops, unfortunately, no appropriate labels or name tickets are exhibited on each pile of fruit, and all too often one is compelled to ask just for “apples”—perhaps for “some good eating apples”—perhaps for “some cheap cooking apples.” Then one variety finds favour on the dessert dish —but its name is unknown, and there follows more guess work when next the fruit shop is included in the shopping round.

Yes, it all sounds really tedious, but actually the identification of the principal fruits grown within our Dominion is by no means the hopeless process one usually supposes. First, let us run over the seasonal groups; in spring, the “berry” fruits—raspberries, currants, etc., are usually ready at Christmas. They have to be “topped and tailed” just after the Boxing Day picnic. At the same time there are the first of the stone fruits—cherries—to be followed by others of the same group—peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots.

About March, or early April, the stone fruit season concludes, and apples are more sought for. Actually, during the early summer, there have already been certain varieties appearing in the shops—notably Gravenstein in January and February, and Cox's Orange in February and March. These are both excellent dessert apples; the Gravenstein is a cooker also. In March, two more varieties become available for dessert purposes, Jonathan and Delicious. As a culinary apple there is the Dunn's.

Gravenstein goes off the markets in April, as it does not keep well in cool store. Thoroughly tree-ripened Cox's Orange are prominent during April, and there are still a few procurable now.

The smooth-skinned rosy red Jonathan apple is at its best in May. Stocks are coming from the orchards in beautifully ripe condition, and these will be available for some weeks.

The Delicious apple is also in full supply. It is easily recognised by the five prominent “crowns” grouped round the “eye” of the fruit, and by the red stripes suffused in the skin. Delicious is in every respect a premier dessert apple—and where supplies are procurable cheaply, it is excellent for all the usual culinary processes.

At this time of the year there are two cooking apples—Dunn's and Ballarat. Green in colour, they have a yellowish tint in the skin, and where the sunshine has been strong there is usually a patch of light sun colouring.

Very soon the Sturmer will be prominent in the shops. It is the “hardwood tree” in the apple world. It takes longest to grow, longest to mature, and is a marvellous keeper. Supposedly a green apple, it is often characterised by a patch of bronze colouring.

It is impossible to give full and adequate descriptions of all the fruits available, but these varieties mentioned —for early season, Cox's and Gravenstein; for mid-season, Jonathan, Delicious, Dunn's, and Ballarat; and for late season, Sturmer—may be accepted as the best. They are the varieties grown in large quantities in all the fruit-growing districts of our Dominion.

Quite considerable quantities, especially of Delicious and Sturmer, are placed in cool storage, and when the last of the treeripened fruit leaves the orchards, about June or July, it is from the stocks in cool storage that the shops draw their supplies. The cool store season lasts until about November, and then once more we come again to “berries.”

Here now we are entering the real apple-eating period. Ask for varieties by name, examine each, and very soon you will easily identify the principal varieties. It is well worth while, for in the apple we have a product that will supply necessary minerals, aiding in body-building and in regulating the body fluids; will provide sugar in a natural form, readily digestible and nutritious; will give bulk to the diet, stimulating the bowels gently and effectively; will purify the blood stream, helping to keep the complexion clear; and will provide the vitamins so essential to perfect health, acting as a tonic pleasing to take, inexpensive, and appropriate at any and every time of the day.

An Appreciation.

From the Hon. Secretary, Southland Rowing Association, Invercargill, to the General Manager of Railways, Wellington:-

I am instructed by my Association to express its appreciation for the willing assistance and co-operation given us by officers of your Department in Invercargill in sending the Southland eight-oared crew and boat to Wellington to compete in the Interprovincial Championships at Easter.

Despite the fact that the Booking and Inquiry Office was very busy coping with the Easter traffic, Mr. H. Curson could not do enough to assist me in assuring the comfort of the crew travelling.

Such genuine and obliging service on the part of your officers must go a long way towards firmly establishing the railways in the public favour.