We think that Pomme Grise originated in Europe sometime around the 17th century and then was transported tothe St. Lawrence Valley in Canada by French immigrants. We do know that it found its way into Maine about 150 years ago and can still be found in old Maine orchards today.
The greenish skin of this apple is completely covered with a chalky russet, sometimes with a red blush. Pomme Grise is one of “russets” grown in Maine. Russet is the skin condition that looks and feels a bit like un-glazed pottery or maybe suede. The combination of the chalky russet and the green ground color gives Pomme Grise its grey (grise) appearance. Technically russet is a layer of dead skin cells. That doesn’t sound very appealing, yet russets are some of the most delicious dessert apples. The fruit is crisp, juicy, rich, sub-acid and aromatic. Take a bite and savor the anise/almond after-tastes. Keeps fairly well some years.
Years ago Cammy was teaching a class of third-graders how to plant apples from seed. Each child named his or her new tree. One boy planted a Pomme Grise seed. When asked what he would name it, he explained that since he would be about 13 when the tree fruited for the first time, he would name it “PG 13!"