UBC Botanical Garden’s annual Apple Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday. “Takes place” sounds so inadequate to me, considering the event requires three hundred volunteers and thousands of hours of work to organize and operate. Not only does it provide opportunities to taste (and hoard) some hard-to-find apples, but events and demonstrations for adults and children occur throughout each day. If you’re local, I hope to see you there (I’ll be helping people select apples for purchase).
‘Melrose’ is a close sibling to ‘Jonagold’, featured on BPotD last year; instead of a ‘Golden Delicious’ × ‘Jonathan’ hybrid, ‘Melrose’ is a hybrid between ‘Jonathan’ and ‘Delicious’. It was developed in 1940 at the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station by Freeman Howlett. Howlett had the nickname “Screaming Freeman” (source – PDF), but I haven’t been able to uncover any stories or anecdotes behind the nickname. In 1970, the Ohio State Horticultural Society named ‘Melrose’ the state apple.
As noted by the Ohio State University Extension service, ‘Melrose’ is a good general use apple: stores well, is crisp-textured, tastes sweet with a hint of tartness, and is used for pies, applesauce and baking. Its appearance may not win it awards, but I’m certain many would agree that much has been lost in the quest for visual (i.e., market) appeal in the breeding of fruits and vegetables.