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Ian Merwin in The New York Times

Ian Merwin.  Photo by Stacey Shackford

Ian Merwin. Photo by Stacey Shackford

Professor emeritus Ian Merwin was featured in a Travel Section article in yesterday’s online edition of The New York Times, Sips From a Cider Spree in New York State.

Our host, Ian Merwin, ripped a Hudson’s Golden Gem from a nearby limb and, with a worn pocketknife, cut an imperfect wedge. It’s a “really bizarre” apple, said the orchard owner, who wore a walrus mustache and a newsboy cap. He described sandpaper skin and a grainy flesh. “This apple, to me, tastes like vanilla ice cream,” he said. The crowd oohed and aahed like circusgoers.

Of the 68 varieties in his orchard, Mr. Merwin, a recently retired Cornell researcher and internationally recognized horticulturist, clearly had his favorites. The novelties, like the Hudson’s, were among them. But there were also other, less glamorous apples. Some of the varieties are hundreds of years old; others were developed by Mr. Merwin himself. They are sharp, tannic or bitter — unfit to be “dessert apples,” as the eating, baking and pick-your-own varieties are dismissively called by cider makers, but perfect for juicing and fermenting. These apples are rare, peculiar, heirloom fruit. They are what I had come for.

Read the whole article.

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