[NAFEX] Prairie Spy and MN447

loneroc loneroc at mwt.net
Thu Sep 1 08:39:11 EDT 2005


The parentage of Prairie Spy is unknown, from what I've read in the past,
although since it may have been bred at the University of Minnesota Fruit
Breeding Farm (again, the literature is inconsistent) the parentage might be
available through them.  (Joan Morgan's apple book says U of M-released
1914)  If you find something out from them, don't expect information on
parentage to be certain.  They were off on their assumptions about
Honeycrisp for years.  Prairie Spy has the reputation of being a short lived
tree.  Folks who know a whole lot more than me/I have told me that  they had
not seen a  tree live past 25.  P.S. seems unrelated to Northern Spy--the
trees don't look alike to me.  Perhaps the excellent keeping qualities of
P.S. were the source of the name, or I'll bet more likely, that the U of MN
folks (if that is, in fact, the origin) wanted to cash in on the cachet of
the name to popularize it more rapidly.

Speaking of Honeycrisp, I have one of its grandparents nearing ripeness at
the moment.  MN 447 is a parent of Keepsake, which was belatedly found to be
one of Honeycrisp's parents.  For those of you who haven't eaten a good
northern grown, well-ripened Keepsake you are missing out on one of the
finest apples there is (my personal favorite, in fact).  Keepsake has an
unusual, fruity-aromatic flavor that can be 'haunting' at its best (in the
same way that gardenia or ylang-ylang are, although obviously not similar in
taster smell--just in that mysterious sort of aromaticity).  Keepsake is a
sweet apple, which might remove it from the A-list of some.

This will be my first real crop of 447's.  I've been able to sample a few in
the past by taking a bite off the good side of drops that were half eaten by
insects, and I've been following progress that way this year, too--damage,
of course, speeds up ripening.  (Perhaps through the production of ethylene
by rotting tissues?)  I was intrigued last year, but never did get to sample
a tree ripened one because of the paucity of fruit--a half dozen or so.
Anyway, my 447's appear to be approaching ripeness.  Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I may
have a new favorite.  The apples are quite small, probably too small for
commercial purposes unless they are renamed Pyxy447 or other such tripe.  I
plan to pick a few this weekend and store them, then compare the storage
qualities with later picked ones.  The tree seems to be an easy grower and
was one of two apples to fruit well after a series of severe freezes this
past Spring.  I feel fortunate that I have the tree at all.  Five or six
years back I accidentally dropped a silver maple on the blooming tree and
snapped it off two feet above ground.  The stump regenerated well.

I'll report further as the season progresses.

Steve Herje, Lone Rock, Wisconsin, USDA Zone 3, in sandy alkaline soil





----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dave Griffin" <griffingardens at earthlink.net>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 01, 2005 5:37 AM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] firm cooking apples (was Bramley)


> Prairie Spy and N. Spy are unrelated. I used to know the parents but only
> remember this much now. Where does the spy part of the name come from?
> Somebody once told me it was a reference to the russeted area around the
> stem. This is much in evidence on the Prairie Spies but I don't know if
the
> N. Spies have it, and it doesn't explain why that makes it a "spy".
>
> Dave
>
>
> > [Original Message]
> > From: Ginda Fisher <list at ginda.us>
> > To: North American Fruit Explorers <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
> > Date: 8/31/05 5:23:24 PM
> > Subject: Re: [NAFEX] firm cooking apples (was Bramley)
> >
> >
> > Thanks everyone.
> >
> > Charlie - you live in my general neighborhood.  Where can I buy
> > Northern Spies?  (reply off list if you like.)  I see a few of them
> > for one week at one market, and wonder if anyone sells them in more
> > quantity.
> >
> > Stephen, I will have to try a multi-variety pie with an eye towards
> > slices in sauce, as you suggest.  Perhaps Spy and Macintosh.
> >
> > Of the other suggested apples, I can buy a few Goldrush or Newton
> > Pippin (like Northern Spy), Jonagold, Stayman Winesap, and of course
> > Macoun, which is very popular around here and is in the supermarket
> > in season.   I find Macoun cooks similarly to McIntosh.  (Maybe I
> > overcook it?)
> >
> > I've never seen Suncrisp or Cox's Orange pippin for sale locally.  Or
> > a Prairie Spy.  Is that a really different apple or just a sport of N
> > Spy, do you think?
> >
> > Thanks again.  I will think of you in pie season.  :)
> >
> > Ginda
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