Doc (Dr. Sponsel cv.)
Named after Minnesota Harvest founder, Dr. Kenath H. Sponsel (1919-1979), who was affectionately called Doc by his sons and patients. The original tree is a seedling from our breeding program and was referred to as HP-06. Grafting was done in 1994 and resulting first generation trees were planted for field trial in 1996.
The fruit resembles Arkansas Black in color with very dark reds covered by a leopard pattern of dark black-reds in some cases or, in other cases, just a solid dark red to black red. The flesh, which is bright white, has some red near the skin and especially around the seed cells. It resembles just-picked Rome Beauty with its somewhat non-juicy, cracking-fresh crispness. And. like Rome Beauty, this gives way to a grainier, less terse condition after a couple months in storage.
Doc’s somewhat shallow to very shallow stem cavity is remarkable. In some cases it is just a depression with a stem sticking out of it, furthering the speculation it may be an ornament instead of a real fruit.
The tremendous, full black-red and black coloring on semi-gloss skin gives this apple an extremely attractive appearance. Our photographs of Doc in bright sunlight suggests a cherry red, but make that black cherry, because the indoor photos are much more accurate to what you’ll see in your hand. Nevertheless, the cherry red shots help show just how perfectly spectacular the coloring is.
As mentioned in the write-up of Golden Earl, we love to show Doc and Golden Earl together, just like they were when Doc and Earl Ruehling were alive. Their colors are wonderfully in contrast, featuring the near flourescent yellow of Golden Earl and the near black red of Doc. Both of these varieties are very durable. They’re in the hardware category of apples and give you the feeling that they’re strong and muscular.
We’re planting more Doc apples now, having grafted 100 more trees to be planted in the spring of 2006. Until the new trees come into production, though, there will only be enough Doc apples for evaluation purposes, so none will be available for sale. That’s fancy horticultural scientific language for saying that I’ll probably eat all of them myself.
But I’ll tell you all about it. I promise.
… click here to go visit the Dr. on our founders’ page. There’s an actual painting of him over there. Of course, they painted it after he died. He certainly would never have sat still long enough for anybody to paint him ‘live. He has kind of a smirk on his face, like he thinks it’s kind of humorous what he did, saddling us with this orchard. And Susan told him directly don’t do it. But he did anyway.