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The Foxwhelp Mix-Up

Posted by Todd Parlo 
The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
January 05, 2013 08:20PM
We have gleaned Foxwhelps from the greater New England area for our tasting here, and they have generally been large, slightly conic, and quite flavorful with a good tartness. Most comments from attendees have referred to the good fresh eating quality, certainly not strictly cider. It is unlikely that this is the foxwhelp of Gloucestershire, England, though it is a good cider variety. If you want to add to your confusion, do some browsing in google images at the foxwhelps, and let me know if you find two alike.

I think a good way to get to the bottom of this is for growers to submit here the attributes of their foxwhelps (and certainly the same goes for other cultivars listed on the site), and disclose the original source material of the tree or scionwood. There are different strains of things out there, but there is also a lot of error in the chain of dispersal (ie- mixups and such).

There is some information on foxwhelps at suttonelms.org.uk/apple81.html which gives the tannin and brix levels so folks can compare with theirs.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2013 01:26PM by Michael Phillips.
genotyping Foxwhelp
January 06, 2013 08:39AM
I have a number of trees of what was claimed to be Foxwhelp, but which Claude Jolicoeur, (who is much more sophisticated than I), points out bears no relationship whatsoever to the descriptions of Foxwhelp in any reference books. Mine is a large, red blushed apple with an unimpressive flavour, minimal tannin, and moderate sugar - probably best classified as a pure sweet, if it can be considered a cider apple at all.

If we want to get really specific about this, what we really need is genotyping of a Foxwhelp which everybody (the Gloustershiremen) agrees is true. We could then compare ours to this "gold standard". I dreamed up the idea of genotyping apples 10 or 15 years ago, when the technology was still undeveloped, and was told it was simply impossibly expensive to waste on something as trivial as apple varieties. However, last year one of the researchers at my local ag. research station planted an orchard of 1000+ varieties with the intention of genotyping each one to identify the genes responsible for each characteristic, (resistance to scab, red colour, good storage, maybe even insect resistance (which is what I am currently intersted in)). The intention is then to test crossed progeny while still seedlings to determine whether the desired characteristics have been passed to the the progeny. It develops that it is now possible to genotype things for a few hundred dollars. (The original human genomone project was estimated to have cost something like 2.5 million dollars ... or was it billions?)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2013 09:47AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
February 01, 2013 10:11PM
Yes, I am another victim of the Foxwhelp mix-up. Actually, we usually call this apple the Fauxwhelp in the Cider Digest discussion forum. Here is a picture of mine:



This one comes from scion wood I obtained from Richard Fahey, a NAFEX member, in 1996. I think it originally comes from the Geneva collection, and that the mix-up happened when they imported many English cider apples during the 1970's. It has been said that the person who collected the scion wood actually took a branch coming from the rootstock, but I don't have a formal confirmation of this.

As of its value for cider, in my opinion, it has... none. The sugar is too low, SG below 1.045; the acidity is way to high, around 11 to 12 grams of malic acid per liter, no tannins, no flavor. Compare these numbers with Cortland that gets SG close to 1.060 (that is 30% more sugar) and acidity around 8 g/L (30% less) good flavor and tannins... Fauxwhelp might be interesting as a cooking apple, but that's about all. And there are many others that are way better for cooking. And it's not even a nice looking apple!

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
October 13, 2013 12:43AM

I wondered about this; we harvested Foxwhelp this week after a brutally hot and unusually humid September, and it was fantastic. A bit intense, but flavorfully sweet/tart and nice "appley" overtones, not the harshness I expected. It was very crisp and moderately juicy, worthy of a much bigger rootstock than the M27 it's currently grafted on.

I had just figured that our hot climate mellowed it out from the English descriptions I had read, but now I suspect that it is indeed a different variety. Whatever it is, I like it and want more of them.

Kevin Hauser
Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery
Riverside, California
Uganda, East Africa
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
November 29, 2013 12:14PM
My experience with "Foxwhelp" is like Kevin's, and the look of it resembled his. I ordered a scion from Fedco a few years ago of one they might prefer to call "Fauxwhelp". It bloomed every year since I got it (quite precocious), and it finally gave me its first apple this third year. The apple fell off the tree by itself the 1st of October. It was rock hard so I let it sweat for a couple of weeks, then dove in. Mine was very sweet and juicy, and the flavor reminded me very much of a good Fuji. It had a certain earthiness to the flavor. No tannin, none whatsoever. A very sweet delicious apple, worthy of eating as well as cider making once I get more of them. I can't wait to get more in the future! I'm sure it bears zero resemblance to the one from England, but whatever it is, this one that I got is certainly a worthwhile apple for eating and probably all uses.
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
January 31, 2014 12:10AM


I've got a 12-tree block of what I believe are proper bitter Foxwhelps out here in California and here's the pic.

They usually ripen here in mid-September and have been making some nice hard cider blends. I planted them in '07. The trees came from Trees of Antiquity nursery, whose owner tells me they've been propagating the same stock for the last 30+ years. The stock originally came from trees at Foxwhelp Farms in Healdsburg, CA.

I'm not sure what sub-category of Foxwhelp they are. From the striping it looks like they could be "Original/Old Foxwhelp?", or perhaps "Improved/Bulmer's Foxwhelp?" Going by the key in this document [www.cider.org.uk], I end up with Bulmer's Foxwhelp because some have short stems that don't extend out of the basin, no swollen stem bases noted, and russeting is (mostly) confined to the basin.

Vulture Hill Orchard
Zone 10a in California



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2014 12:20AM by Chad Frick.
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
April 25, 2014 01:04PM
I thought you all might appreciate this quote from I book I am currently reading from 1902. It is a USDA pamphlet titled " A study of Cider Making, France Germany and England" It sounds like the confusion of English Cider apples has been going on for awhile. Page 39 "Any attempt to study the cider apples of England, or table varieties for that matter, is greatly complicated by the endless maze of names of similar orthography which have been given to apples, both cider and table varieties, and by the fact there is no recognized authority on the nomenclature of orchard fruits in the entire country. Every local community appears to delight in applying names of its own choosing to the fruits grown, and there seems to be no general disposition to reduce the nomenclature to a system under some competent authority, as for instance, a national committee on pomological nomenclature."
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
April 25, 2014 01:28PM
Yes, this is Alwood's book, very interesting...
Highly recommended reading for all interested in cider.
And easily downloaded from
[archive.org]
Claude

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: The Foxwhelp Mix-Up
December 10, 2015 06:42PM
Hocking Hills Orchard
Zone 6B, SE Ohio

I grow just under a thousand varieties of apples and have grown what I thought was Foxwhelp, but now refer to as Fauxwhelp, since the early 1990's. The source was Greenmantle Nursery in California. The fruit tastes great, is extremely productive, large and a pinkish red but unlike other comments in this now old string <g> mine ripens around Labor Day.

I also grow a Foxwhelp which looks and tastes exactly like the Foxwhelp in Dr. Joan Morgan's great tome "The Book of Apples" which is about apples grown in the UK and the home of Foxwhelp.
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