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English Apples - Martin's Custard

- an old apple which was thought to be extinct. Specimen found by Sally Cunningham in Cotesbach, Leicestershire, who has kindly allowed me to photograph a few apples and who has supplied the following comments:

......'The tree is in the oldest part of the orchard at (location witheld) and probably dates from around 1850. Tree is big (about 60ft), vigorous and for its age quite healthy, with lots of new growth suitable for grafting....I was asked to give a possible ID as they thought it might be Mere de Menage, but on reading Hogg's Fruit Manual - his description - Martin's Custard seems a better fit.

"Fruit medium sized, two inches and three quarters wide and two and a half high: roundish, ribbed on the sides, and with ridges round the crown which extend into the basin of the eye. Skin greenish yellow, mottled with red on the shaded side, and considerably streaked with dark crimson and with a violet bloom on the side next the sun. Eye, small, quite closed, set in a narrow puckered basin. Stalk, very short, sometimes a mere fleshy knob, and sometimes woody with a fleshy swelling on one side. Flesh, yellowish, firm, crisp, juicy and briskly acid. An excellent culinary apple: in use from October to Christmas. This apple is much grown in the orchards conterminous with Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, and I am indebted for a knowledge of it to my good friend the Rev M J Berkley, of Sibbertoft, near Market Harborough."

The only thing I'd quarrel with is the size - it's a bit bigger, but this has been a damp season so it's probably within tolerance'.

..........Thumbnail pictures below; click on them for a better view. Thanks Sally......ND.

Pictures (click on small images for detail):

Blossom



Fruit from the original tree

Martin's Custard

Fruit from a newly grafted tree on MM106:

Martin's Custard..... Martin's Custard..... Martin's Custard.....

- there are more pictures of this variety on the main apple pictures page.

My own description of this variety - it seems intermediate in flavour, fruiting time, and storage capability between Golden Noble and Bramley. It's almost like a cross between these two apples. Eventually it goes shiny and rather sticky, as in the last picture.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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