by Alex Dadio, Doylestown Farmers Market Manager
/pōm/ noun BOTANY
- a fruit consisting of a fleshy enlarged receptacle and a tough central core containing the seeds, e.g., an apple or pear.
Apples are our focus this week and with that, I thought it best to dive a little bit into the word pome. Pomes are derived from the flowering plants of the subtribe Malinae, which is part of the Rosaceae family.
They have a fibrous core of several seeds, which are encased inside the fused carpels -the female reproductive organs of the flower. This core is surrounded by a tough membrane or the endocarp. Surrounding the endocarp is the mesocarp or the fleshy layer that we eat. Encasing all of this is the outer skin that protects the edible flesh otherwise known as the epicarp.
Pomes are also considered to be an accessory fruit. These fruits are where some (but not all) of the flesh develops from tissue adjacent to the ovary outside of the carpel. Besides apples, pears, loquats and quinces are examples of pomes. For several hundred years, pomes were primarily used to make cider, which was the most accessible and popular alcoholic beverage in the United States. Prohibition then swept in and put a hit on cider production, with beer surpassing cider in production. The word pome originates from the Latin word poma.
Find fresh apples at your local farmers market this weekend!