Origin and History
An early-season dessert apple, Discovery is one of the few varieties in the Gardens to remain in small-scale commercial production. It was raised in 1949 by Mr Dummer, a fruit-farm worker in Langham, Essex and is thought most likely to be a cross between Worcester Pearmain and Beauty of Bath.
The story is that Mr Dummer had raised a number of Worcester Pearmain seedlings and chose the best one to plant in his garden. As he had only one arm he needed assistance from his wife. However, she broke her ankle and as a result the seedling was left for weeks simply covered by sacking. Against all the odds, the seedling survived and came to the notice of the nurseryman Jack Matthews of Thurston, Suffolk, who bought grafts.
The apple was first marketed under the name Thurston August and only renamed Discovery in 1962.
The medium-sized fruit is attractive, the skin being a fresh yellow-green, flushed crimson where the sun catches it. An unusual characteristic is the red skin-colour bleeding slightly into the light cream, crisp-textured flesh. The flavour is fresh and slightly acidic and sometimes has the same strawberry tang found in its parent, Worcester Pearmain.
Picking, Storing and Using
Discovery is best picked from mid to late August into early September and stored in the fridge, where it will keep for up to two weeks. It makes an excellent, pale-pink juice.
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
Although it can be slow in the first few years, once mature Discovery is usually a heavy cropper. The tree is quite vigorous and the pale blossom shows some resistance to frost, making it a good variety for cold areas. It is self-sterile and needs a pollination partner, such as Dumelow's Seedling, James Grieve or Lane's Prince Albert.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018