Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Yarkin Pearl

The folks at The Orchard told me to pick out a bag of apples to take with me and after browsing through the various varieties -- Jonathan, Stayman, Delicious -- I chose York.

It's a tasty, crisp eating apple and tart enough to be good for cooking too.  But, to tell the truth, I chose it for reasons of nostalgia.

Our first fall in the mountains, Clifford, our neighbor down the hill, gave me an apple to try, saying that it was an old time variety and a good keeping apple.  

I tasted it and was impressed. We were planning to plant apple trees come spring and I already had a tentative list of varieties.

"What's the name of this apple?" I asked, and was told that it was a Yarkin Pearl. 

Interesting, I thought, Yarkin could be the name of the discoverer or breeder of the apple and Pearl could be because it was so good -- or maybe the name of his daughter. Nice.
This was 1975 - pre-Internet -- and I began to hunt through my nursery catalogues and Rodale gardening books for more information on this pearl of a fruit -- but alas! I could find no Yarkin Pearls.

I intensified my search, checking various orchard-related books out of the library and leafing  through back issues of Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening.

1975 was also before I learned the language of my adopted home.

Finally I came across the name York Imperial.
York Imperial . . . Yarkin Pearl.

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Marilyn said...

Oh I love it, thank you for making me smile. I would need an interpreter if I visited your area!

Martin H. said...


My grandparents had a good apple orchard and a favourite 'eater' was Beauty of Bath. These days, I'm partial to a Pink Lady. I'm still talking about apples, by-the-way.

Joan said...

What a great story. Years ago I minded two small children from Tonga after school. They taught me a little song in Tongan. I'd sing away with them ..in Tongan, until one day the "penny dropped" and I realised they were singing in English.
I am loving Signs in the Blood Vicki. Learning all kinds of things..i meant to ask.. what are peepers and lightning bugs?

Pat in east TN said...

That is a cute story. To this day I still have to keep my ears 'tuned in' to what the old-timers are saying. I usually get it, but sometimes am stumped!

Merisi said...

Love it, what a hoot! :-)

Brian Miller said...

teehee...yeah words tend to run together at times...and then take on new meanings and...kinda like the telephone game...i want a good apple...

Friko said...

how very funny.
I just love it when that happens!

Carol@The Writers Porch said...

Mountain talk....I love it and I'm thankful that you and other writers are keeping it alive in your books!
Have a great day! I'm getting a new do today and I'm kinda nervous about getting all my hair cut off! HA! xo

Vicki Lane said...

Marilyn -- it took my quite a while to understand my neighbors and I can still be baffled over the phone.

Martin -- you dog, you! Oh, you said apples. Never mind.

Joan - Wonderful story about your 'Tongan' song!

So glad you're liking the book! Peepers are little small tree frogs that chirp all night long in breeding season. And lightning bugs (the Southernism for fireflies) are flying insects that flash off and on all night long in breeding season!

Me too, Pat. Over the phone is the worst for me.

Good luck with the haircut, Carol!

lifeonthecutoff said...

I caught a comment you left on Joan's blog and decided to nose around on yours this morning. What a treat! Yarkin Pearl! I will be chuckling about this for awhile and identifying with just this sort of interpretation of words.
I love this time of year, autumn, and the smell and taste of apples.

Mama-Bug said...

Just loved this Vicki! Apples have to be the most perfect fruit because you can do so much with them; I still prefer just eating one in hand.

estaminet said...

I just laughed really, really loudly. Thanks! :)

NCmountainwoman said...

It makes sense when you know what it is. I love it! I'll always think of Yarkin Pearl when I see Yorks.

Kath said...

I love the transformational grammar lesson wrapped in delicious apples!

Louise said...

A wonderful story. Thanks for the smile.

Michele said...

Too funny. Thanks for the laugh.

Tammy said...

Thanks for a good laugh this morning! I love how you were so very determined to find that Yarkin Pearl. And it is so hard to 'remember' what it was like to look for information before the internet came along. I was always an information hound, but the internet has really 'opened the world'....sometimes not so truthfully, but so it goes.

Reader Wil said...

How great to see how a word or name can change from York Imperial into Yarkin Pearl.I think it looks like Rome Beauty or Bramley which is the apple I prefer for applesauce!
BTW I enjoy reading your book. Does "Least"mean last? She is a beautiful person.

Star said...

I love those old apple names. I wonder if we have it over here in England, maybe under a different name.
I'm bursting to tell you something...it's my birthday today and guess what Larry bought for me? The whole set of your books! I will post about it but today I posted the next chapter of my own story. I am so delighted to get the books. I wanted to buy your latest one, but felt that I needed to read the others first. Now I have them ALL so I can start at the beginning. Can't wait to get started because I think I'm going to love your heroine.
Blessings, Star

Vicki Lane said...

Thanks for stopping by, lifeonthe cutoff! It is, indeed, a fine time of year.

Mamabug -- and a recently picked apple -- never refrigerated -- is Marvelous!

Good for the soul, they say, estaminet!

Perfect sense, ncmountainwoman. It just took a while... like Joan's comment above.

Transformational grammar? So that's what it was! Thanks, Kath!

Louise and Michele -- my work is done if I can make you smile or laugh!

Tammy -- oh, how I love Mr. Google. But, as you say, you have to watch him -- sometimes he lies.

Reader Wil -- Around here, the 'least un' means the youngest one.

I'm so glad you're enjoying her story!

Star -- What a terrific and discerning fellow Larry is! Please give him my thanks. I do hope that you enjoy the books!

willow said...

((giggles)) LOVE this!!!

Miss_Yves said...

Funny story!

The apple I prefer is called
"pomme passe pomme", lovely name,isn't it ?
beside ,It's a remembrance of the garden of my childhood: there were lots of this variety

Anonymous said...

There are similar regional differences in American Sign Language. ASL has a different syntax than English so literal translations don't work well, but it's a rich wonderful language that can be more expressive than English.

Have you ever tried the Arkansas Black apple. They grow in north Ga and we've bought them before in NC so there may be some up your way, but typically they're not in stores so you buy direct from the orchard.

Lynne in GA

Bouncin' Barb said...

That is a keeper Vicki. I'll think of that when I'm at the produce and fruit stand tomorrow!

gayle said...

Thanks cute!! I've live in the south since I was 13 and there are still some I don't understand!!


Vicki, I understand the language barrier very much. It can be embarrassing sometimes -- especially when you repeatedly ask, "excuse me did you say ...," and the speaker nods his head with a negative. Oh well. Eventually I'll get it down.

Victoria said...

What a great story! Made me smile.

jennyfreckles said...

Wonderful story. Dialects and deafness tend to cause the same mistakes. Someone at work asked me if I could smell banana... I said B...A...N...etc!

Tipper said...

Nice : )

Vagabonde said...

I’m impressed. I would have never deduced that name from the original.