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2019 - 2020 Warm Climate Apple Variety List
Part of our mission at Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery is
to test apple varieties in our warm climate where citrus is the
traditional crop. We have found this to be
absolutely necessary as even though growers in other areas have given us
their recommendations, nothing can replace actual testing. Place
of origin or region of current cultivation are not reliable indicators
of how an apple variety will do here. We have proven that many, many more varieties than once thought are well
suited to our climate of very hot summers and warm winters. We've been
refining our list of offerings to be proven winners. Don't agonize
too much over your selection, we don't have room for bad varieties
in our orchard and any of these will blow away the taste of
We've traveled all over New England and Virginia and
North Carolina sampling their best apple offerings, and we have a
thriving apple industry in the nearby mountains of Southern California
(2,500 chill-hours), and so we know what the good stuff is. When
we tell you an apple is good, we're not just comparing it to the usual
low-chill summer apples, but to the best of the best; and our best
hot-climate apples hold up just fine to their cold-climate brethren.
"It would be well if fruit growers in each
geographical section would raise and test new (apple) seedlings, and
introduce and experiment with new varieties produced elsewhere, aiming
always to select those best adapted to the requirements of the
particular locality. IN this way many localities where the apple
cannot be grown today might produce thriving orchards." - Luther
We're quickly discovering that to be an apple
researcher you need to start early and live long, as it takes decades.
One of the reasons for this is an apple tree's first couple of crops may
be inferior to crops it will produce as it matures more. Sometimes
problems like cracking and bitterpit go away in a few years. Other
times freak weather patterns will mar a crop one year that otherwise is
wonderful in that climate. For example, because of an unusually
cool spring in early summer of 2007 coupled with 113° humid Labor Day
heat, just about the entire stone fruit crop in California's central
valley was terrible that year, and Dave Wilson Nursery cancelled their
Fall Fruit Tasting tour. All the more reason to plant many
varieties ripening at different times so that you'll get at least a few
good apples no matter the weather.
As these varieties start to produce for us, we'll
note our successes by listing it as "Tested good for Southern
California". if we don't list that, it means it hasn't fruited
yet. If it does not do well here, we will say so and probably pull
it out. We will leave the description with negative comments up to
help you decided if you want to still try it. We're testing more
than we've listed here and will post results once they fruit.
If you're having trouble deciding,
click for our favorite varieties.
About Pollination and Chilling Hour Ratings:
We do not list blossoming times on our varieties, as in a warm climate
the blossoming period is so strung out, there's always something
blossoming for six months out of the year and pollination is not a
problem (you'll have to forget a lot of the conventional wisdom about
apples that you've been told from growing them in cold climates).
The only varieties that are critical for needing pollinators are Anna,
Dorset Golden, and Shell of Alabama, which will all pollinate each other
and only each other. We don't list chilling hours either, as we
could care less what this arbitrary rating is; it doesn't have much
impact on tropic apple culture (again, forget conventional wisdom).
See more on pollination at our YouTube channel
Japan, 1960’s One of the better-tasting early varieties, a cross
between Jonathan and Worcester Pearmain. The medium-sized bright red
apple has a thin skin and white, crisp, juicy flesh with a hint of
strawberry flavor. It’s good for fresh eating, cooking, and drying,
which is good because it doesn’t keep well. When cooked with the peels
the applesauce turns pink. Ripens late August to early September, and
hangs well on the tree allowing extended harvest time. It
purportedly has decent disease resistance. We
harvested an excellent crop this year, and will be planting this more
1959 Bred at Kibbutz Ein Shemer in Doar Na Shomron by Abba Stein as a cross between
the local cultivars Red Hadassiya (a plum-sized apple) and Golden Delicious. Considered the standard in low-chilling apples, Anna is Israel's gift to
the world as it feeds half the tropical world. It's kind of like
fishing for bluegill; fun for the kids, decent eating, and you get
something every time. The showy blossoms burst fourth in late
January and every blossom sets an apple (thin heavily). Aggressive
thinners will be rewarded with humongous, beautiful apples blushed red
and yellow. The first couple of crops may be inferior, but as it
matures it seems to do well no matter how hot or cold the spring is.
The flesh is white, crisp, sweet, juicy, with a hint of zing; not high
flavor, but not bad for early May. Despite it's low-chilling
requirement, Anna is hardy to Zone 4 and is grown by our friend Richard
Fahey in upstate New York, where they force branches for January
blossoms on the dining room table. Avoid getting a multi-graft or 5-in-1 tree, as
Anna will dominate all the others. Order along with Dorsett
Golden or Shell of Alabama, as they are the only apple varieties that will pollinate each
other so early in the season. Please see our
notes on Anna and Dorsett Golden.
Black Arkansas, 1870 Thought to be a Winesap seedling,
Arkansas Black is a strikingly beautiful apple with a deep burgundy,
approaching almost jet black skin that darkens in storage; it often has
almost a cult following at our local U-pick orchards. The flesh is
white, hard, moderately juicy, and has a distinctive wine flavor.
Resistant to powdery mildew and scab. They develop a very "greasy" skin in long storage.
They ripen here around January. We like the ones grown in our heat
better than the mountain ones; the ones we picked in Irvine, Orange
County this January were fantastic right off the tree. King David
is still more productive and equal or better in flavor, but AB would
still sell like hotcakes at farm stands and probably keeps better.
Arkansas, recent Developed by the University of
Arkansas (a very hot and humid part of the USA), Arkcharm keeps its
quality and colors up well despite high heat. It ripens
earlier in the season and has a good sugar/acid balance and complex
flavor. It has good disease resistance but does not keep very
long and should be eaten right away; it would be good for processing
into juice or dried apples if marketing takes more than a few days.
Excellent in Southern California.
Ashton Bitter England, 1947 A
bitter cider apple with full astringency, high sugar, and low acid.
Ripens early fall, a juicy orange-yellow
fruit, blushed and striped with red. Needs to be blended with other
OUT OF STOCK North Carolina,
According to Masters (2005), this variety performs well in the
Piedmont of South Carolina. Originated as local apple in
. Fruit begins ripening early in the season and continues for two to
three weeks. One of the best early season apples, Aunt Rachel is a
medium to large, red-striped apple covered with prominent light dots.
Very attractive with very fine flavor. Ripens July - early August.
Excellent in Southern California.
Bramley Seedling England, 1800
No self-respecting Brit would have anything else but Bramley Seedling
apple in his pie, as it is the counterpart to Cox's Orange Pippin which
is for eating fresh. The quintessential British cooking apple
descends from the original 200-year-old tree still growing in a
cottage garden in Nottinghamshire. It is firm, very tart, and
juicy and high in vitamin C. Ripens in the blazing heat of late
September and keep well despite becoming "greasy" in storage.
Pollen-sterile, so it needs a pollinator and will not pollinate other
apples. Many in colder climates are shocked to find out that these
are excellent in Southern California, which they were again in 2011.
Recent Discovered by Jesse Schwartz near Bolinas, CA, Cinnamon
Spice is named after the rich cinnamon taste it purportedly has.
In our climate it was juicy and sweet, but we couldn't detect even a
hint of cinnamon, which might have to do with our lack of cold nights in
September. The skin is a green base with a beautiful red and
orange blush and russeting at the top. Flesh is whitish yellow and
fine, dense, moderately juicy, slightly chewy. It bore
heavily and held up well in the heat. Ripens mid to late
September, tested good in Southern California.
Cloud OUT OF STOCK South Carolina, 1850 One of our imports from Tasmania, offered in
the USA again for the first time in 100 years. A South Carolina apple sold by a Georgia
nursery in 1861. Fruit oblate, red striped, subacid. Ripe winter,
hasn't fruited for us yet and so we have no idea how it does in a warm
Coconut Crunch Homedale, Idaho- Recent Bred by
apple aficionado and all-round nice guy Garfield Shults, Coconut Crunch
is an extremely solid apple that ripens fairly late, though it's hard to
tell when it's ripe because you don't use it until it has been in
storage a while. It’s been known to keep for a full year in ordinary
cold storage. Lately our apples from this tree have been excellent, very
spicy and rich, and still very firm. It tastes like a classic
apple, not coconut. We're recommending it for all
California, 1944 The Crimson Gold
apple is the last of dozens of American apple varieties developed by
fruit breeder, Albert Etter. Etter was fascinated with crab apples and
chose to hybridize an entire class of apples specifically from crab
parentage. The difference, though, is that, unlike crab apples, these
apples would lack astringency, rather display a blend of both high acid
and high sugar content. The Crimson Gold, originally named by Etter,
Little Rosybloom, was introduced to the public in 1944. Etter died in
1950, before the fruit's patent paperwork was finalized. The Crimson
Gold orchards were under ownership of the California Nursery Company and
somehow trees were being mislabeled, grown and distributed as Wickson
apples (another crab apple variety. It wasn't until the late 1970's
that a single limb of a multi-grafted test tree was identified as
Crimson Gold and the variety was saved from near extinction. Crimson
Gold apples still remain an unpatented variety. They ripened early
November this year for us and got pretty big, and were of excellent
quality and nice color. We're happy to count them as tested good
in Southern California. Note: now a bay area grower is bagging
Wickson apples and mislabeling them as Crimson Gold and selling them in
major supermarkets. We've notified him of the mistake, but it
doesn't look like they'll be correcting the mistake anytime soon.
Cripp's Pink Australia, 1979
Cripp's Pink apples that
are grown to certain quality standards are marketed under the Pink
Lady™ trademarked name. A cross between Lady Williams and
Golden Delicious, it is a favorite in supermarkets because of it's
dense, crisp juicy flesh and sweet-tart flavor. It is not bothered
in the least by hot weather and even excels in Las Vegas and Phoenix,
once considered apple graveyards because of their intense heat.
Cripp's Pink apples that have been in storage a while will often have
seeds inside that are already sprouted, useful for folks trying to start
their own rootstocks from seed. It ripens late (November-December)
and is a good companion for Fuji. I've given it short-shrift in
the past because the ones in the supermarket are decent, but this year
I've really enjoyed ours off the tree, and the ones grown in the
mountains have been mind-blowing. Tested good for Southern California,
very productive here.
Cripp's-Two Australia, 1973 Also
known as its trademarked name Sundowner™, Cripps-Two is a
cross between Lady Williams and Golden Delicious and is a popular
commercial variety in Australia and England. It ripens very late
in the season, and needs a long hot season to be its best. It is
considered low-chill and sets fruit very reliably, even when a tiny
tree, and is very sun and heat resistant. The flavor is a pleasing
sweet-tart and the texture is firm. It has a red skin on a yellow
background. Tested good in Southern California.
Dixie Red Delight
Alabama, 1960’s A sport of Red Delight
of the early 1900's, Dixie Red Delight was developed by an
amateur horticulturist, Oren T. Bolding, of Sylacauga, Alabama. It was
patented in 1960 (Plant Patent No. 1974) and rights sold to H. G.
Hastings Company of Atlanta, Georgia, who assigned their rights to the
Commercial Nursery Company of Dechard, Tennessee. Fruit is medium to
large, with red skin and yellow ground color. Flavor is sharp, sweet,
aromatic, and spicy, and improves in storage; the closest thing to
Virginia Winesap we've tasted in a hot climate. Keeps well and improves
in storage, bears heavily and reliably, ripe late December and blooms late. An
excellent apple that has been tested very good for Southern California.
Dorsett Golden Bahamas, 1954 Bred
by Mrs. I. Dorsett in Nassau as a chance seedling of Golden
Delicious. If you’re
going to plant just one summer-ripening apple, make it this maniac, as it
will grow anywhere and produces the year after planting. It ripens in
the middle of July heat, but tastes like November. It will continue to
blossom and fruit throughout the summer, with a second crop in late
fall. Crunchy, juicy, sweet-tart with classic apple flavor, even if you
live where temperatures never fall below 45 degrees F. Good fresh, in
pies, and for cider. Tree may be late to leaf out following a very warm
winter, best picked a little green. Keeps well in the refrigerator,
needs no chilling but best when pollinated with Anna or Shell of Alabama.
Please see our notes on Anna and Dorsett
North Carolina, late 1800’s
Originated from seeds of a Limbertwig
planted by J. A. Dula of
. It is a strong, vigorous tree well adapted to all growing conditions.
In 1908, the NC Dept. of Agriculture recommended this variety for
Piedmont growers. Fruit is large and slightly conical with dark-red skin
overlaid with darker red stripes. Flesh is yellowish-white, tender,
crisp and juicy. Ripens late fall to early winter.
Fuji, Red Japan, 1962 Despite its commercial success,
few people have tasted Fuji as it was meant to be, which is sweet,
flavorful, crunchy, and ridiculously juicy. This is because it can
require over 200 days to ripen to full maturity, long after the season
ends in many apple-growing regions. Here in Southern California it
can hang on the tree until its heart's content, pumping the full quota
of sugar and flavor into the orangish yellow flesh. Just because the
skin has colored up doesn't mean it is ripe, although the skin never
does really color up well. Fuji's grown here are world-class, and
it can really take the heat. It takes about 5 years to start
producing, but reliably sets a full crop every year after that despite
neglect. This is a red sport of Fuji, but it never gets that red.
Self-fertile. A mandatory apple for home gardeners to grow.
Gala New Zealand, 1920's
Gala seems to grow well no matter what climate it's raised in. If
the only Gala apples you've had have been from the supermarket, you
haven't tasted Gala. This pretty apple is best enjoyed right off
the tree when it's crisp, dense flesh and mild, sweet, aromatic flavor
is at its peak. It will keep a couple months in the refrigerator,
but the flavor just doesn't stay the same. Keep an eye out for
fire blight, as the tree is very susceptible. The tree is vigorous
and self-fertile, and recommended very good for Southern California.
Golden Russet New York, 1849 Long
valued for fresh eating and cider, the golden russeted skin has kept it
from modern markets. Too bad, as when harvested at the right time,
they are flavorful sugar bombs with a nice combination of sweet/acid.
It was really good and productive at the Irvine, Orange County,
California test orchard, and remains sweet but turns mushy in storage.
GoldRush® Illinois, 1972
Developed by the PRI breeding program that also developed Williams'
Pride. AKA Co-op 38, GoldRush is renowned for being
battery-acid tart until in storage for a while, but ours are excellent
off the tree, rivaling Fuji for fresh eating. It is considered one
of the best storing apples, where it improves in flavor. It bears
heavily and reliably in Southern California, but is subject to sunburn
when exposed to our 110F September heat. Immune to scab, resistant
to powdery mildew, we're happy to be carrying it again now that the
patent has expired.
Granny Smith Australia, 1868 Few folk
realize that this is the oldest supermarket apple variety.
It sprouted from a washtub of French crab apple trimmings tossed out by
an actual granny, Maria Anne Smith of the Ryde District of New South
Wales. You may be surprised if you're expecting
the homogenous, lime-green coloring like in the supermarket, as when
ripe Granny Smith has a pinkish-orange blush on the sunny side. It
is in high demand at our local U-pick orchards, which puzzles me as it
is readily available at any supermarket. It needs a long,
hot summer to attain the best flavor, and thus does well in our Southern
California climate, requiring very little care.
Italy, 1600's A big tree with big
leaves, Gravenstein has been in California since 1820 and is almost
considered an American apple. The skin is greenish-yellow with red
stripes- pick a bit green for pies. The aromatic flesh is tender,
fine-grained with a well-balanced sugar-acid content. The crunchy, juicy
apples are best eaten right away, as they don't keep well. Ripens
in early fall, pollen sterile, won't pollinate other apples or itself
and needs a pollinator. Use when green for pies and yellow for fresh
eating. The raccoon swiped them off the tree this year, which is the ultimate
vote of confidence, as it only takes the best and leaves all the
miserable apples for me. Pick before it's colored fully yellow or
it's mushy. Tested OK for inland Southern California, but it
really doesn't like our heat; however it grows well by the beach in
South Orange County and does well in a low-chill environment.
Hashabi Israel, unknown
An Israeli crab apple found growing naturalized in the Judean
foothills and used to breed a line of numbered rootstocks released in
1995 by Raphael Assaph of the Volcani Institute. The small yellow
crab apples bear in clusters like cherries and are mind-blowingly
astringent. For hard cider only. As you can imagine it's
well-adapted to heat, drought, and alkaline soil conditions and do well
in Southern California. We'll be propagating more for rootstocks,
but for now can offer limited amounts of scionwood for cider trees.
Hawaii California, 1945 This beautiful, large,
yellow apple is exceptionally sweet (even when green), and you may or
may not detect a tang and scent of
pineapple. The fruit has a light pinkish-orange striping
which gives it an overall orange appearance. This apple is considered
one of the very best dessert apples, and eating them fresh is a real
treat. A vigorous grower that ripens late September, tends to bear biannually. Thin
heavily for best results. Does very well in Southern California.
Hudson's Golden Gem
Oregon, 1931 Discovered in a
fencerow thicket in Oregon and was introduced in 1931 by the Hudson
Wholesale Nurseries of Tangent, Oregon. It is probably the largest-size,
high-quality russet apple. It has pronounced conical shape, smooth,
uniformly dull-russet skin, a very long stem and sugary, juicy, crisp
flesh. The flesh is light yellow in color. In our climate, the shape is
irregular with a knob on the bottom resembling a hot-air balloon. It is
a vigorous, productive and annual bearer. In taste tests, the flavor has
been described as pear-like and nutty. The tree remains small, even on
size-controlling or standard rootstock, and the fruit will hang on the
tree long into the winter. There is a tendency to biennial production,
and cross-pollination will increase the fruitfulness. Hudson's Golden
Gem will store well and ripens in mid- September. It can be a beautiful
apple for a russet. Holds up well to our heat, and is tested good for
Southern California. The ones from Irvine, Orange County about
blew your head off they were so good.
Hunge is a classic old apple
long valued for its many wonderful qualities. Once believed lost, Hunge
was rediscovered and saved in 1986 by Gertrude Morris of
. It is one of the few apple varieties that will grow well in coastal
plain areas, regions that are usually inhospitable to apple growing.
Fruit is large with light green skin mostly covered with dark red and
overlaid with a fine russet coat. The yellowish-white flesh is crisp,
juicy, and aromatic with a pleasant winey flavor. Ripens August to
Out of Stock
North Carolina, 1830 According to the description in Calhoun’s
Old Southern Apples, the original tree was owned by a Cherokee chief
named Junaluska who lived in either Macon or Cherokee County, NC
and was credited with saving Andrew Jackson's life in the battle with
the Red Sticks. . When
the state began purchasing Cherokee lands in the 1800's, Chief Junaluska
refused to give up the land on which the tree was growing. After
meetings with State Commissioners he finally agreed to add $50 to the
price of the land. Once again credit for finding this highly
sought-after apple goes to Tom Brown who discovered it in Macon County,
NC. It is described as a large to very large, high-quality apple
with a distinctive irregular globular form. The dull yellow skin is
somewhat rough with raised russet patches, occasional greenish spots and
with a pale red flush on the sunny side. The tender yellow flesh is
rich, and very sweet with a pleasant subacid flavor. A fine storage apple
ripening in October and keeping until March.
So far its been mediocre
here. 12/30/10 Much better this year, ripening at New Year's and crisp,
sweet, and juicy, very dense. Very productive and the apples can
indeed get huge. Tested good for Southern California. Note;
famous Old Southern apple hunter Tom Brown notified me August of 2014
that my description of Junaluska was wrong and would tell me why later,
but I haven't heard back from him. Stay tuned...
Out of Stock A flowering crabapple that produces excellent fruit for
fresh-eating. As it typical with crabapples, the tree puts on a huge
long-lasting display of fragrant blossoms that are self-fertile and will
pollinate any other variety of apples. The fruit is a beautiful red and
hang on the tree well after ripening. Like the blooms, the harvest is
extended over a long season. The fruit has a yellow flesh that is
sweet-tart and crisp, good for fresh-eating, cooking, and cider.
Tested good in Southern California.
King David Arkansas, 1893 We've floundered
about a bit on this one, as we had two trees of it here, one of which
was mislabeled. As it turns out it is one of our favorite apples,
and for good reason; it was Stark Bros. Nursery's biggest producer for
years and considered tops in flavor in warm climates. It turns deep
purple, almost black in our climate and hangs late on the tree and should be picked when full color
develops. Yellow flesh, firm, crisp and juicy with a deep, dark, rich
winey flavor that matches the color, a favorite with most people who try
it. Would be handsome espaliered. Ripens around Thanksgiving for us,
tested superior for Southern California. See why it is the
greatest apple in the world
Kingston Black England, early 1800's A
cider apple with a good balance of acid, sugar, and astringency that
makes an excellent single-variety cider, both sweet and hard.
Imparts a deep rich color to the cider, needs careful pruning as it
tends to get gangly, ripens October.
Lady Williams Australia, 1935 A Granny Smith offspring
that is also a parent of Pink Lady. A pinkish-red apple with a
distinctive horizontal white stripe on one side that ripens very
late and needs a long hot season.
In our climate it may ripen well into the New Year, probably February.
Will keep until the first summer apples ripen and improves in storage.
It is quite tart until fully ripe, when it developed a nice sweet/tart
balance. So far it has out-produced its offspring Cripp's Pink (aka
Pink Lady) and has been tested very good for Southern California and
added to our favorites list. It is one of the few apples that
achieve marketable size, color, fruit quality, and production for
commercial growing in Southern California. Scionwood is extremely
limited, we will run out fast.
Liberty New York, 1966 Hailed as the most disease-resistant
apple by folks in humid climates, Liberty is a product of the New York
State Agricultural Experiment Station at Geneva fruit breeding program.
The beautiful apple with a sweet, spicy flavor comes from an extremely
productive tree. Although best eaten fresh, Liberty does store well for
several months, and then makes an excellent pie. Ripens in mid-November and
is self-fertile. Tested good for Southern California.
OUT OF STOCK North Carolina, prior to 1858
Originated near Lake Mattamuskeet in coastal North Carolina. An
old legend says that it came from a seed found in the gizzard of a wild
goose by Mattamuskeet Indians. It was prized as a winter "keeper"
that did well in the warmer coastal plains, a rarity that would be quite
valuable before refrigeration. It keeps without chilling for
months and like many winter keepers improves in storage, often reaching
peak in April. It is a very late ripening apple, sometimes waiting
until November. The skin is tough, greenish-yellow covered with a
rusty red, with a firm, pale yellow flesh that's moderately juicy and a
bit tart when first picked. It mellows out in storage. Such
qualities make it a great apple for Southern California, and our testing
confirms this. Thanks to Lee Calhoun who rescued it from obscurity
in 1986, and alert apple researcher Kenneth Dobyns for finding the
correct date while scouring period literature.
Melrose Ohio, 1944 The
official state apple of Ohio. A reddish colored apple speckled
with tan spots that has a slight green to yellowish background. With a
white flesh that is crisp textured, the Melrose provides a sweet but
slightly tart flavor. It is a good eating apple and works well as a
fresh apple in salads, pies and applesauce. Raccoons stole two off our
tree, which is usually a good sign as they're quite the picky
connoisseur here. Ripens late September through October. It
used to be on our "reject" list, but it has redeemed itself the
last few years has produced excellent crops.
Mollie's Delicious New York, 1966 An excellent apple for mild
winter climates, a cross between Golden Delicious and Red Gravenstein. Sweet,
and aromatic but with not much acid. Has a beautiful red blush over yellow. Pollinator required:
Fuji, Granny Smith, or Yellow Delicious, ripens late August to early September,
stays crisp in the heat, keeps
rather well, supposedly improves after a month in storage. Tested
very good for
Pink Lady™See Cripp's Pink
PristineTM Indiana, 1975
Cultivar name of "Co-op 32", Pristine is a product of the Purdue,
Rutgers, University of Illinois (PRI) disease-resistant breeding
program. The beautiful, pearly-skinned golden apples ripen late
September here in Southern California, and are resistant to our late
summer sun. It is very disease resistant and can usually be grown
without fungal sprays. The apples are a bit flattened in a warm
climate and tend to crack, and also drop when ripe. It is a tip
bearer and needs to be thinned for best size. The apples are crisp
and sprightly complex with spice, acid, and sugar, very refreshing.
Apparently keeps well in refrigerated storage, which is rare for an
Putty Henck California, 1970 A seedling
that sprouted next to the cider press of J. Putnam ("Putty") Henck in
Skyforest, California. Medium to large with a green skin with a
red blush. The white flesh is crisp, juicy, and yowza tart; it
should hold up well in cooking and cider. Keeps well and gets greasy in
storage, where the flavor mellows and improves. Ripens late
November into December, probably needs a pollinator. Tested
excellent for Southern California, one of our latest tart apples.
Red Boskoop A modern redder strain of Belle de Boskoop, which originated in the Netherlands in 1850. The
whitish-green flesh is firm and dense. Belle de Boskoop is
essentially a dual-purpose apple, suitable for both dessert and culinary
uses. It works equally well in a savory salad, or can be used sliced in
apple pie. It keeps its shape when baked into a pie, and can be
used as the "sharp" ingredient for cider. These are wonderful in our climate; juicy,
tart, sweet, crisp, and extremely productive (9 full-sized apples on a
tiny little 2' tall M27 tree). It supposedly improves in storage,
which we may never find out as I can tell we'll be eating these. I
bet it would make a killer pie. Ripens mid-October; tested
excellent for Southern California.
This beautiful apple originated about 1850 in
on the farm of Captain Charles B. Wood. It was once described in old
nursery catalogs as "the prettiest apple that grows." Despite
its attractiveness and fine flavor, the apple never gained a following
in the South and was thought to be lost until our good friend, Joyce
Neighbors of Gadsden, Alabama, found an old tree growing in nearby
Wedowee which had been planted in the 1930's. Thanks to her efforts,
this wonderful old apple is once again available. The apple is medium to
large with deep dark red skin over a light yellow background. The
yellowish flesh is crisp with a fine subacid flavor. Ripens late October
in Southern California, and was very good here.
Texas, 1965 A local family
heirloom of the Deep South, originating in Houston, Texas, an area not
conducive to growing a wide variety of apples. The apple was first
raised by Reverend Herman T. Morgan in 1965 from seeds of Granny Smith
and produced its first fruit in 1972. It is well adapted to most regions
and has been raised in agricultural zones 7 through 9 as
well as areas further north. Fruit is
medium to large, roundish-conical with rich pinkish-red skin. A fine
quality apple that ripens in late October here in Southern California,
where the quality was outstanding.
Alabama, this was developed by Mr. Greenberry Shell (born 1841). Mr. Shell had an
apple orchard in Escambia County, shipping boxcars of crisp, somewhat
tart, green apples north in July. In our tests it was almost
indistinguishable from Dorsett Golden, yet there were subtle
differences; It has some pearly white lenticels on the base of the
apple, it hangs on the tree a little longer, gets a little better color,
and stays crisp and juicy longer. It is not quite as sweet as
Dorsett Golden, but makes excellent pies. In any case it is much superior to the detestable Ein Shemer.
Sierra Beauty California, 1890 A byproduct of the
gold-rush era, Sierra Beauty was discovered as a seedling high in the
Sierras. Offered by nurseries for a few years, it became extinct except
as an heirloom of the Gowan Family of Philo (Mendocino County) until
"rediscovered" around 1980. Tends toward biannual bearing, so
thin heavily for more consistent crops. A beautiful apple with striking appearance,
brisk flavor, and firm texture. Ripens late October. Excellent in
Southern California where it keeps its zippy acid along with plenty of
Georgia, 1850’s An
excellent old southern apple noted for its long-keeping abilities for
warm winter areas. It
originated before the Civil War with a Mr. Terry of Fulton County,
Georgia, and was soon widely sold throughout Georgia and neighboring
states. Medium-sized fruit with thick, tough yellow skin covered with
stripes and splashes of red and crimson. The white flesh is crisp,
juicy. This is one of the most prolific varieties we have, setting a
huge crop the second year. Make sure to thin heavily for the best
quality. Ripens mid-October through early December and tested very good in Southern California.
Tull Arkansas, 1840 Originated with the
Tull family from orchards in Little Rock, reportedly well-adapted to
Southern growing conditions. Greenish skin with red stripes,
mostly red when ripe. Flesh yellow, firm, juicy, crisp, sub-acid,
ripens October. Thanks to Roy L. Wilson of Sheridan, Arkansas for
sharing cuttings from his tree.
OF STOCK Minnesota, 1868 One of
the most cold-hardy apples that is also low-chill, popular for growing in tropical climates. Flesh whitish sometimes stained with red, tender,
very juicy, flavorful sweet subacid, makes good pies. The flavor and
quality was excellent here. Pick yellow for
cooking, red for fresh eating. Skin red, sometimes striped red.
Mid-October harvest, tested very good for Southern California.
Wickson Crabapple California, 1930's An Albert Etters
hybrid named after Edward J. Wickson, who was called the "Father of
California Agriculture" and a mentor to Etters and Luther Burbank.
Originally bred for cider, the crisp, yellow-fleshed golf ball-sized
apples pack a lot of flavor into a small package, and excel in making
flavorful cider, both sweet and hard. They're also good for eating
out of hand, and like most sweet crabapples, bear heavily and do quite
well in our Southern California climate and ripen from Thanksgiving to
Georgia, 1870 Originated from seed by Robert Boatman, Dillon,
Walker county, GA and first described as Boatman’s Seedling. It was
afterwards called Wallace Howard by the Atlanta Pomological Society in
honor of Reverend Wallace Howard of Georgia. In Apples of New York S. A. Beach
describes it as tested at the Geneva Station as “lacking character” and
did not recommend it for planting in New York, but also stated that as
grown in the South it has been called “a magnificent fruit of best
quality” and “one of the finest apples cultivated in that region”.
Fruit above medium
to large, pretty uniform in size and shape. Skin smooth or roughened
with russet dots and flecks, yellow nearly overspread with orange-red
mottled and distinctly striped with bright carmine. Flesh tinged with
yellow, firm, a little coarse, crisp, moderately tender, rather juicy,
mild subacid becoming nearly sweet, aromatic. Ripens in November.
Pride Indiana, 1985 A product of the PRI
breeding program of disease-resistant apples, Williams' Pride is a
welcome addition to our early fall apples. Here in Southern
California it blossoms during May's 105-degree heat and still sets a
full crop annually. Despite very warm nights it still develops a
deep red color, approaching purple. It ripens in August and is
amazing for the quality the golden yellow, crisp, juicy, spicy flesh
attains, keeping quite well for a summer apple (six weeks) and
surpassing many fall apples. It bears early and heavily even on
vigorous rootstocks. To top it off it is field immune to scab and
cedar apple rust and highly resistant to fireblight, moderately
resistant to powdery mildew. The tree has a good growth habit with
wide branch angles and lots of spurs to bear heavily. Tested
excellent for Southern California, colors up nice even in the tropics.
OF STOCK Georgia, 1844 Early pioneers brought this
variety to the South, being highly prized as an all purpose apple. The
skin on this tiny apple is bright red with yellow markings, being small
in size but tender and juicy. Ripens in October, keeps all winter.
Does well in Southern California.
Yellow Newtown Pippin New York, 1759
Popular export to England during colonial times because the apples
endured the three month voyage with little degradation, and fetched a
higher price because of it. Improves in storage, and peaks at about
three months. Shape oblate; skin green to yellow, often russeted at the
stem end, with
white dots. Flesh yellowish or tinged with green, firm, crisp,
moderately fine grained, sprightly aromatic flavor. I always heard it
ripened in late October, but in Southern California they are ripe in
mid-January, a lesson we learned after stumbling upon a tree full of
apples early into the new year. A good keeper and a favorite apple of
George Washington. Still considered one of the best apples in the
world. A tip-bearer, it requires yearly pruning in order not to
get too leggy of limbs. You may recognize the taste as the apples
used exclusively in Martinelli's Sparkling Cider. Does very well
in Southern California.
The below are apples that we've tested and found either lacking in
quality or unsuited to our climate. We do not carry these
American Golden Russet New York, 1845 This is a
classic cider apple, which is also excellent for fresh eating or
drying. The dense, sugary flesh is reminiscent of the French heirloom
russets. Blossoms in July and sets a decent crop. Ripens late November. Partially self-fertile.
We have had a lot of incidents of cracking this year, putting this apple
on the borderline. 9/1/10 update; it was icky, we pulled it out.
American Summer Pearmain New Jersey, 1817
Widely hailed for excellent flavor. Slow-growing but productive, ripens
gradually over July through August. Greenish-yellow, tender, juicy,
crisp, aromatic, slightly tart. Best grown on a vigorous rootstock, needs a pollinator.
August of 2010 found these apples tasteless, mushy, and definitely
unhappy in our climate. So by the law of the orchard, out it goes!
Ashmead's Kernel England 1700's
Considered one of the top culinary apples, it traditionally has a
sweet/sharp flavor with nutty overtones. It certainly produced
well for us and was very vigorous, but the fruit quality was horrible
and didn't like our heat at all.
Braeburn New Zealand, 1950
Thought to be a cross of Lady Hamilton and Granny Smith, Braeburn
combines modern shipping and marketing qualities with old-world flavor.
But as is typical, the ones from your tree are much, much better than
from the store. It is popular because it bears early and heavily,
usually the second year. The tree is vigorous and is a great
candidate for a big seedling-rootstock tree in the front yard for the
kids to climb on. It needs a hot, dry climate to do well and the
flavor quickly degrades in storage. We had some of our crop rot on
the tree during our hot summer, but a few made it through and although
well-colored and juicy, the flavor did not live up to the reputation and
we were quite disappointed. We'll give it a couple more years to
see if this was just an aberration. Update 9/9/08: This
year's crop was heavy but just as poor quality as last year's, ripening
way too early and often rotting on the tree. It is with great
sadness that we're abandoning this variety.
fine apple of the Deep South brought to notice by apple collector Joyce
Neighbors of Gadsden, Alabama. The tree originated by a roadside in
southern Alabama around 1945 where a road crew took notice of this fine
flavored and attractive fruit. A large, mostly red fruit ripening August
to September. Needs a pollinator. After three years I'm afraid this
beautiful apple is still too mushy and flavorless to make the cut.
Virginia, 1790 Described
by Lee Calhoun as the "quintessential Southern apple", Buckingham has
been grown in the South for over 200 years. Its history is unclear, but
believed to have originated in Louisa Co., Virginia in the late 1700's.
Fruit is large and slightly conical with thick, smooth yellow skin
mostly covered with dark red striping. The yellow flesh is tender and
juicy with a sprightly subacid flavor. Ripens in the early fall in the
mountains. Here in Southern California it has been mushy and
flavorless. We were disappointed with this, as it seemed by the
description to be the perfect apple for us. We'll try picking
earlier next year before abandoning it all together.
Bud. 9 A dwarfing,
precocious rootstock, Bud. 9 has replaced M9 as a preferred rootstock in
colder areas and areas where fireblight is a problem. However, a
warm climate already has a dwarfing effect on apple trees, and we just
couldn't nurse Bud. 9 along enough to keep it vigorous. It has red
leaves, red wood, and red fruit, which are decent pie apples.
Problem was the tree stayed small and we never got enough of them, and
we have many more pie apples from productive trees.
Carolina Red June
early 1800’s A long-time Southern favorite, Caroline Red
June has long
been highly valued for its early ripening qualities. The tree is
reliable and productive. Fruit is small to medium with smooth, dark red skin and is quite
oblong or conical in appearance. The tender, fine-grained flesh is white
and sometimes stained with red when eating. Ripens early July and only
a fair keeper. Needs a pollinator. Our first crop was a nice load
of pretty, tiny apples, but they were mushy while still unripe and were
pretty bland. Too bad, as this would have filled a gap between
Anna, Dorsett Golden, and Hawaii, the next decent apple to ripen.
1850 Excellent for both fresh eating and cooking. The fruit should
be picked when the skin begins to develop a milky appearance. Medium
sized fruit is quite elongated in appearance with smooth yellowish-white
skin nearly covered with stripes of red and crimson. Tender white flesh
is juicy, aromatic and highly flavored. Ripens late August through early
September. Needs a pollinator. This apple ripened way too early
and was mushy, so out it goes.
Minnesota, 1946 A large (2"), sweet crabapple that's unusually
good for fresh-eating and has a pleasing nutty flavor. It bursts
forth with a flurry of fragrant, long-lasting white blossoms and like
all crabapples will pollinate any apple variety. The harvest is
extended and the fruit hangs well and is beautiful on the tree. A
nice showpiece for the front yard that also produces tasty apples. It has not been very
vigorous or productive here, and our initial taste tests have been
disappointing. It may just be too early of a ripening apple here.
Illinois, 1972 An experimental apple from the PRI breeding
program grown at the University of Illinois. It has a Yellow
Delicious shape and a green, smooth skin with some pink blushing on the
sunny side. The crisp, white flesh was juicy but decidedly bland.
It held up very well in our heat and bore a good crop, but the lack of
taste relegates it to the "reject pile". On the other
hand, pretty exterior, heavy producer, bland taste; sounds like the
perfect supermarket apple!
A patented disease-resistant variety released for testing by the PRI
breeding program. The university description labels it as a
late-September variety, but ours ripened in late July and hung well on
the tree despite the high heat during ripening time. In our climate it
was a straw-yellow color with a faint red blush and inconspicuous white
dots. The flesh was a whitish-yellow that was firm, crisp, mildly
juicy, sweet, and full-flavored. We liked it so much that we registered
as a licensed nursery as it is an excellent apple for Southern
California. We’re looking for a catchy name to replace the number
(most names from the PRI breeding program have "PRI" somewhere in the
name, such as "Pristine"). We finally decided it's not
worth the room in our orchard, as there are many superior varieties
ripening the same time.
Cornish Gilliflower England, 1813 Found in a cottage garden near Truro, Cornwall around 1813. The tree is
tip bearing and produces very few spurs. The skin is a greenish-yellow
becoming a golden yellow when ripe. One half flushed with a orange-red.
Patched and netted with russeting. Rather dry but richly flavored.
Ripens mid October. 2009 update; so far this has been an
underperforming apple and is headed to the reject list.
Court Pendu Plat England prior to 1611 This apple may date
to Roman times, and was widely planted by Tudor ages. In translation,
the name means "suspended short flat," which describes the apple as very
flat with a stem that is hardly seen, causing it to lay tight against
the branch, like a peach grows. The skin is a bright-yellow or orange,
flushed with rose over a fawn-russet skin. The flesh was described as a creamy-yellow,
firm and fine-grained, with a rich, brisk, acid flavor. It has a very
high Vitamin C content and ripens in October. Ours set a heavy
crop and held on fine through the heat, but the finished product had
much to be desired as it was really dry, chewy, sweet, but bland.
We plan to pull it out.
Delicious (Hawkeye) Iowa, 1881 Not to be confused with
its unripe, watery, mealy and over-hybridized offshoot Red
Delicious, Delicious (also known as Standard
Delicious or Old-Fashioned Delicious) makes for
very good, if not excellent, for fresh eating. Off your tree it is
crisp, sweet, and flavorful. The skin will not develop the deep, hot-rod
red color as in the supermarket, but you will not miss it a bit once you
taste Delicious as it was meant to be. The tree is healthy and robust
and ripens in October. Keeps fairly well in refrigeration. Self-fertile
and is a good pollinator for other apples. Our variety is grafted from
trees planted in 1912. They do not do well in the heat, Mollies
Delicious is a much better substitute.
Devine Alabama, 1895 An heirloom of the
Devine family of Gadsden, Alabama for over 100 years, Devine is a tree
with an upright growth habit that comes into bearing fairly early.
The flesh starts out bright red on the immature apples, which changes to
greenish yellow and finally ripens to a red with light red stripes and
splashes. The greenish-white flesh is fine grained and slightly
tart. Ripens in late July. Brought to us by Joyce Neighbors.
Fruits like crazy for us, but the apples were dense, bland, and poor
The upright, spreading tree is covered in pure white, cup-shaped flowers
in mid- and late spring, followed by crisp, juicy, red dessert apples
with a good flavor with a hint of strawberry. Keeps well for several
weeks after they're harvested in mid August. We gave up on it as
it never was productive.
Disharoon Georgia prior to 1855 Previously considered
extinct, Jim Lawson obtained a scion from a grandson of the Disharoon
family near Jasper, Georgia and saved the variety from oblivion. Light
green skin, yellowish white flesh that’s juicy and tender, pleasantly
sweet-tart. Not particularly attractive, but of the highest dessert
quality. Ripens September to October. Bland and mushy in our climate.
South Africa, 1980 Bred by ARC-INFRUITEC as a cross
between Wemmershoek, Richared, and Granny Smith, Drakenstein is a summer
apple ripening between mid-July and August. The skin has a green
background color with a red blush, and is a bit tough. The white
flesh is very firm, crisp, juicy, and has a sweet fruity aroma.
The growth habit is vigorous and spreading. It does not keep long
and ripens over a few weeks, making it a good apple for rural areas.
It tolerates high heat and fills in the gap after Arkcharm and along
with Gala. In the end it wasn't good enough to mess with.
New York, 1800
red-striped fruit of Early Joe hangs on the tree fairly well until it is
quite ripe. Not commercially planted because of the small size, the
fruit is none the less of excellent quality. The skin is thin, tender,
smooth, pale greenish-yellow, striped and splashed with dark red. The
flesh is tinged with yellow, fine, crisp, very tender, very juicy, mild
subacid, and of the best flavor. Ripens in mid-August; wasn't very
impressive last year, this year was icky too.
Ein Shemer Israel, 1950's Commonly found in Home
Centers, Ein Shemer is another Abba Stein cross but fails miserably to
achieve the great status of Anna. It is low chill and produces
heavily, but the green apples go from bitter and tart to bland and mealy
in 30 minutes. Get Dorsett Golden instead, a much superior apple
that ripens the same time.
1990 (Formerly known as Co-op 30) A decent apple, but we
did not sell enough to justify the yearly patent fee we had to pay, so
we were forced to discontinue it. Another product of the
PRI breeding program, we found Enterprise by accident when some
scionwood was mislabeled. We were delighted however to find that
the apples are outstanding in our climate and color up beautifully.
The skin goes through several color changes, from green to orange to
lavender as they develop a heavy "bloom", a waxy coating that polishes
off. When polished the apple is a solid fire-engine red that
gleams like a hot rod. Fresh off the tree the apple is a brisk
sub-acid, which mellows after a month or two in storage to a wonderful
aroma and rich sweet-tart flavor. Very productive, but has a lot
of premature drops . It ripens here in September through October.
New York, late 1700’s Known as a
favorite apple of Thomas Jefferson. It is
a large apple, oblong in shape, smooth-skinned and colored a lively,
brilliant red, approaching scarlet. In hot and humid regions, the color
is not as pronounced. The yellow flesh is hard, rich, juicy, and sprightly,
and in taste tests, it usually ranks very high. It ripens over a few
weeks in late September and early October, and improves dramatically in
storage. It just wasn't productive, and so we sadly dropped it.
Etter 16-32 Crab
California, 1944 This crab has a translucent pink skin and pink,
fruity-flavored flesh. Has striking pink blossoms in the spring.
It has the odd property of producing large amounts of sap at pruning
wounds, leaning one to believe that it may be somewhat borer-resistant.
A very vigorous tree, early training pulling branches horizontal will
help it enter fruiting mode.
Bearing was too variable, we want something that fruits reliably with
less pruning trouble.
Freyberg New Zealand, 1934 A Kiwi apple from down
under. Like a fine wine, the complex flavor has hints of brandy,
cinnamon, peach, lemon, pear, banana, and cedar. A relative of
Gala, it is a cross between two great apples, Golden Delicious and Cox's
Orange Pippin. The flesh is creamy white and fine-grained, juicy
and aromatic. It is used for fresh-eating, cooking, and cider.
Ripens September through October. Needs a pollinator.
Unfortunately, the quality did not live up to its reputation and it was
quite bland here.
Gloria Mundi Maryland, 1780 -
The key word here is big; big blossoms, big leaves, big fruit. A
humongous apple, probably the largest apple ever grown in the United
States, according to Lee Calhoun. Some apples commonly reach a pound or a
pound-and-a-half. While not considered a good fresh-eating apple,
it is a fine cooking variety. The fruit is large to very large and
roundish in shape although the sides are often unequal. It has
greenish-yellow skin with a faint, bronze blush. The greenish-yellow
flesh is coarse, moderately crisp and quite acid, becoming mellower when
fully ripe. Ripens late October; we still haven't fruited it out yet. We
relegated it to the "reject" list because it's not that good
of quality, and we don't have room for curiosities.
Golden Delicious Missouri, 1920’s Long-time favorite for
its sweetness and flavor. Reliable producer, adapted to many climates.
Good pollinator, as it blooms a long time. You may be shocked at the
spiciness and crisp texture of a tree-ripened sample, as the apples off the tree are much,
better than those in the supermarket. Good for fresh-eating and pies. September, Self-fertile.
In hot climates it should be picked a little green, as it does not
attain the quality as in a cooler climate. Not very good in Southern
California, but if you're going to only plant one tree, choose something
else, maybe Fuji.
Popular variety for Southern California. Tree has an
excellent, robust, pyramid form with horizontal branches that requires
little training and would make a good espalier. Round, firm, crisp,
juicy, and aromatic. Red over green skin, good quality. For fresh use
and cooking. Self-fertile, ripens late, 400 hours. This is the second
year in a row they were mushy. Despite its reputation as a good
warm climate apple, we have many more ripening at the same time that are
far better and thus cannot afford the space for a mediocre apple.
Granny Neighbors Alabama, 1975 A seedling found on the
farm of Joyce Neighbor's father in Clay County, Alabama, who named it after his
mom. It was growing in a trash dump 50 feet from a Hackworth tree. It
has an upright growth habit and blooms late like Rome Beauty. Yellow
skin covered in red stripes and splashes with a yellow flesh. The apples
ripen over several weeks and are somewhat bland in the warmer weather
but steadily improve as the weather cools off. The skin is green with a
red blush and stripes and the flesh in cool weather is crisp, spicy, and
has a wonderful aroma. 2009 Update; Granny Neighbors has adapted to our
climate and now ripens way too early and was mushy for the second year
in a row; out it goes!
Greensleeves England, 1966 This golden yellow
apple has the sweet honeyed flavor of its Golden Delicious parent
balanced by the acidity of its other parent, James Grieve. It can be
hard and sharp early in the season but mellows later. It can be
picked in October but keeps on the tree for a month, giving it a long
harvest season. It ripened too early here and was very mealy and
Grimes Golden West Virginia, 1804
Believed to be one of the parents of Golden Delicious, Grimes Golden is
a greenish-yellow apple that turns clear yellow with a pink blush in
storage. It has an intense sweet flavor that keeps extremely well.
Does well in a warm climate and is self-fertile and a good pollinator.
Our scionwood source is a tree planted in 1910 and still bears heavy
crops. We were not impressed with the fruit quality down here in
the hot inland valley.
Hall North Carolina, Late 1700's
Once one of the most important commercial
apples grown in the south because of it's superb flavor and excellent
keeping abilities, Hall fell out of favor because of its small size, a
fatal flaw for a commercial apple. It may have passed on to
extinction if it wasn't for the efforts of that venerable heirloom apple
who found it in the mountains of North Carolina in 2002. Fruit is
described as small and roundish to slightly conical in shape. Skin is
smooth and thick, yellow covered with clear or dull red. The yellow
flesh is tender, juicy, fine-grained, aromatic with a terrific flavor
with hints of vanilla. Ripens late fall and is a good keeper.
Unfortunately, they were of very poor quality here
and I don't recommend it for cultivation, as they were mealy and
tasteless, even when picked quite green or later in the season.
Hollow Log North Carolina, 1920’s Originated from a
seedling found near a hollow log. Popular in the South because it blooms
late missing most frosts, and thus reliably produces most years. Large
deep yellow fruit with a tender, very juicy, crisp flesh with a most
delicious, aromatic, spicy flavor. Many sources describe it as having no
superior as an eating and cooking apple. Begins to ripen the last of
June and continues through July into August. The productivity
never justified the space it was taking up.
Honeycrisp University of Minnesota, 1962
Honeycrisp is not damaged by our heat, and will beat anything you get
from the store. It takes a few years to figure out where it's at
and start bearing, but when it does, it's very good. However, it
never will bear a ton of apples, so don't plan your retirement around
sales of it at Farmer's Markets. Self-fertile and
disease-resistant, it requires good training and horizontal branches to
fruit. I'm afraid it just was not productive enough to maintain in
Horse North Carolina, prior to 1800 One of the most
popular apples in the South grown for home use. Very tart until fully
ripe, and was used for cooking, drying, cider, and vinegar. It ripens in
the heat of summer, making it especially useful for drying. Bears
heavily. Medium to large, conical, ribbed, thick skin, green becoming
yellow when ripe with a reddish tinge on the sunny side, with a yellow
flesh that firm, rather juicy, and briskly sub-acid until fully ripe.
Ripens July-August. Ours was killed by borers and not worth the
trouble to replace it.
late 1800’s Named for a man who lived in the late 1800’s in the
Pore’s Knob community of Wilkes County,
, where Tom Brown found one surviving tree.
Fruit medium or slightly below, roundish and quite conical; skin
smooth, mostly covered in a bright red blush with a few obscure stripes;
dots submerged, pale greenish or white; stem long; calyx closed in a
corrugated basin; flesh whitish, fine-grained, almost acid.
Ripe August/September. We haven't had much productivity to
justify offering it this year.
Kidd's Orange Red New Zealand, 1924 Bred by the same man
who bred Gala, Kidd's Orange Red has a warm white, crisp, juicy flesh
that is sweetly aromatic. Many consider it superior to Gala, but
the apple's tendency to russet has limited its marketability. It
ripens in late September and stores well through January. It has
not been reliable here, and we
may will pull it out. Order Gala
Knobbed Russet England 1819 A bizarre apple with an
irregular, uneven surface that is overlaid with rough gray and black
russet and distinctive welts and knobs; soft and sweet creamy flesh is
fine-grained with a sweet flavor; looks more like a potato than an
apple. Described as an apple to be nibbled rather than wolfed. Ripens
September-October. It was mushy this year, and we may pull it out.
12/30/10 Ugly all right, but mushy too, so buh-bye.
Possibly Roman, first century AD. One of the first apples to be
brought to America, Lady was first recorded in 1628 but is thought by
many to be the Appian (Api) apple described by Pliny the Elder in the
Roman Empire. Also know as the “Christmas Apple” because it was
frequently used in Christmas decorations, as it still is at Colonial
Williamsburg in Virginia. The apple is tiny with a green skin blushed
red on the sunny side. The flesh is tender, white, crisp, and very
juicy with much of the flavor in the skin. It takes a few years to
start bearing. Needs a pollinator, ripens in October and is a good
keeper. Most of the crop has fallen off the tree prematurely for
the third year in a row, and what's left on the tree is sweet but
bland. Sorry, but we don't have room for mediocre apples, no
matter how historic they are..
Lamb Abbey Pearmain England, 1804 A
bucolic name for a small apple with unusual flavor that's intense and
exciting. Lots of sugar and acid with some hints of pineapple. Has a
cute name but not much else going for it, it was not productive at all.
Lord Lambourne England 1907 A crisp, very juicy apple
with creamy white flesh and strong sweet-tart flavor. Skin is an orange
flush over green. A favorite for home gardeners in England, it bears
heavily but we've had repeated problems with them cracking a lot, a habit it may
or may not outgrow. Ripens in September.
*Maiden Blush New Jersey, 1817 The thin skin is tough and
smooth and a pale waxen-yellow in color with a crimson blush. The white
flesh, with a slightly yellow tinge, is crisp and tender with a sharp,
acid flavor that mellows when fully ripe. Ripens over a period of about
a month in August, good for fresh eating and cooking. In the Blue Ridge
Mountains of Virginia, it was a favorite apple variety for drying
because the flesh remains white and bright. It held up through the
heat and fruited well here, but we waited too long to pick it and it was
tasteless and mealy. I'm afraid it doesn't "blush" much in our
climate, so start testing it the middle of September. We'll try
again next year, but for now it's on our replacement list. Fall
2009 update; once again this apple was terrible, so it is banished to
the reject list.
Morgenduft Ohio, 1918?
A seedling of Rome Beauty, Morgenduft keeps a lot of the good
qualities of its parent while doing much better in the heat. The
skin is green with a red blush and the flesh is white. Like Rome
Beauty it has a tough skin and firm flesh, is moderately juicy, and has
a pleasing sweet-tart flavor. It is often used as a processing
apple for baking and applesauce. After another harvest, we will
settle with our other pie apples and long for regular Rome Beauties from
Mutsu (Crispin) Japan 1948 A favorite of connoisseurs:
very large, crisp and flavorful. Listed as late September/October
harvest, it ripens in July here, not always a good thing. Pick when
green or wait until partly yellow. Large, vigorous tree. Pollen-sterile;
pollinated by Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, or Gala. We got a
decent crop of large, green apples here that had a tough skin and kind
of bland crisp flesh. I pulled it out as there are a lot of better
apples ripening at the same time.
Nittany Pennsylvania Introduced
by Penn State University, a cross between York Imperial and Golden
Delicious. This year we've been impressed by this
high-quality apple and added it to our "favorites" list Skin is a dull red color and may
become "greasy" as they mature. Flesh is yellow and firm with a
sweet-tart flavor. Ripens in October, and will store for up to six
months. Bears very heavily and was good some years, but it started
ripening earlier in the heat and was mushy as a result. We don't
have room for unreliable apples.
Northern Spy New York, 1800
We grew this just to prove that any apple will fruit in Southern
California. Not surprisingly, the quality was terrible as Northern
Spy needs a cold climate like the Northeast to achieve perfection.
But it fruited just fine with our low chilling hours, proving the
chilling hour theory wrong.
Japan, recent A Golden Delicious cross, it resembles it's
parent in that the yellow skin is blushed red-orange and
dotted with conspicuous white lenticels. It has sweet, very honeyed,
pale yellow flesh with not much acid. We've gotten a large crop
off our tree, but the quality is blandly sweet. There seems to be
an unwritten rule that the worse an apple is, the more it bears.
*Pitmaston Pineapple England 1785 Tall and conic in shape.
Small golden-yellow fruit covered with fine russet. Sweet, juicy,
sugary, and somewhat pineapple flavored. It’s small size and rough
covering keeps this gem from commercial markets, but the tree’s small
stature and wonderful fruit makes it excellent for the home garden.
Keeps well, ripens in early September. Quality is bad here, and we
pulled it out.
Pearl California, USA, 1945 Another Albert Etter variety,
Pink Pearl is an unusual apple with a yellowish skin but pink fleshed; a
highly aromatic fruit. The pink flesh is no gimmick; this is a fine
quality apple with a spicy taste. Medium size, tart to sweet-tart,
depending on time of picking. Early fall harvest. It is a good keeper
and an extremely vigorous tree. Makes colorful, tasty applesauce. It
blooms with early, profuse, pink blossoms in the spring.
Unfortunately, in a hot climate the flesh is not pink, nor is the apple
any good. I'm afraid it gets delegated to the dreaded "blue list".
Pixie England, 1947 (Not to be confused with Pixie
Crunch™, a patented PRI introduction) A little apple with a lot of clout!
Pixie was raised at England’s National Fruit Trials, and thought to have
either Cox's Orange Pippin or Sunset as one of its parents. The apples
are medium in size, round and squat in shape. The skin is green-yellow
flushed with orange-red, and painted with tiny broken stripes of red on
top. The flesh inside is creamy white, crisp and refreshingly juicy,
sweet and highly aromatic. Tends over crop loads of tiny fruit, but the
size can be increased by heavy thinning when the apples are dime-sized.
Ripens mid-October, improves some in storage. Has not fruited
after several years here. 12/30/10 Finally fruited, and blah. Not
worth the wait.
Pound Sweet Connecticut, 1834 Large in size, and rectangular to truncate-conic in
shape, with distinct ribs, the yellow skin is marbled with a
greenish-yellow, and usually has a brown flush. The yellow flesh is firm
and crisp with a sweet flavor. Suitable for
preserving or dessert.. It is
highly productive, but bears biennially which can be overcome by
thinning the dime-size fruit heavily. Ripens in September. Too
mushy in our heat.
Princess Nobel Australia Oblong apple with a
yellowish-green skin that's described as sappy and flavorful. A popular apple for growing in the tropics, with
millions planted in Indonesia. Very rare in the United States, self-fertile.
Our tests found it quite mealy and tasteless, even when picked
*Ribston Pippin England, 1707 Also known as the Glory of York,
this is the most famous Yorkshire variety. It's a strong-tasting
aromatic' traditional apple, almost certainly the parent of the world-
renowned Cox's Orange Pippin, and was very popular in Victorian times. A
beautiful classic English dessert apple. Bears too early here to be much
good, and so to the reject list it goes.
Rome Beauty Ohio, 1848 The
most popular apple in our local mountains because of it’s versatility
and reliable late blossoms that miss the killing frosts. Fruit medium to
very large with handsomely striped to almost solid red, thick skin. In
our climate the skin develops a beautiful sunburst coloring fading
from straw yellow on the sunny side to red to green. A favorite
baking and drying apple, a good keeper on and off the tree. When first
picked the apple is tough, juicy, aromatic, and well flavored.
The fresh-eating quality degrades in storage but they still make good
pies, dried apples, and cider. Ripens September, grows just
about anywhere, self-fertile, bears early and heavily. For
mountain and cold-climate growers only, it is quite bland in the heat.
*Royal Limbertwig Illinois, prior to 1896 A large
apple with a green skin and red to orange blush that is well adapted to
warmer areas. A high-quality apple that makes outstanding apple
butter. The flesh is greenish-white, crisp, tender (not mushy),
juicy, and has a nice classic "appley" taste with a bit of tartness.
If they ripen too early in summer they're a mushy glob, but those that
last until the first of October are really good. The tree has a weeping habit and ripens over a long period
in October. Bears early and heavily, train so the leaves shade the
apples. After several years we decided it was just not worthy of
the space it was taking up, as it ripens earlier every year and gets
Rubinette® Switzerland, 1964
"Yummy"! That was the consensus of our taste test this
year on this Cox/Golden Delicious offspring, and it is getting rave
reviews internationally for flavor, with some even saying it surpasses
it's parent Cox. It had a nice sweet/tart, effervescent quality
that I assume it gets from Cox's Orange Pippin. In our climate it
had a green skin with only a hint of the orange stripes and blush it
would get in a colder climate, and some russeting around the stem
end. The flavor of the crisp, tender flesh develops as you bite
into it, starting out sour but becoming sweeter as you chew, finally
resulting in a wonderful aftertaste that begs for another bite.
Because of it's scab susceptibility it is considered difficult to grow
in damp, cool climates, but It did well through our heat wave and leafed
and blossomed just fine. Intense sun did not bother the young
fruits. Timing is everything when picking, as it hangs on the tree
well past its prime and degrades in quality. Ripens in early
October. I'm happy to add it to our "tested good in Southern
California" list. This is a patented variety and we
received permission to distribute it; add $1 royalty fee per tree. Update 11/15/11 The quality the last
couple years has been poor, possibly because it is adapting to our
climate and ripening earlier. Further testing is recommended
before planting large-scale.
France, 1730 Also called Fameuse, Snow apple is delicious
for eating out-of-hand. During the American Revolution a contingent of
Hessian soldiers planted an orchard with Snow apples near Winchester,
Virginia where they were interned. One of the McIntosh’s parents.
Popular in the United States for more than 150 years. A very vigorous
tree that bears early and heavily. Deep crimson, very
tender, aromatic, juicy, sweet and tart with a distinct cider flavor,
hardy and long-lived. Snow white flesh. Ripens in late September, still
testing in Southern California as this year's crop was quite mushy.
Update 9/9/08 Forget it: this low-chill apple ripens way too early in
our heat and rots on the tree.
Saint Edmund's Pippin England,
1870 Also known as Saint Edmunds and Saint Edmund's Russet,
and in England, is known as Early Golden Russet. It was first
discovered in the orchard of a Mr. Harvey about 1870, at Bury, St.
Edmunds, England. Small in size, flattish, and conical in shape, with
a closed eye, and a long stem in a deep cavity, the skin is covered
entirely with a smooth pure golden or fawn-colored russet over an
orange coloration. The creamy-white flesh is crisp and fine-textured
with a sweet, subacid flavor. It is very juicy and aromatic. It is an
annual bearer that will sometimes overbear and produce small fruit
unless thinned. Often it is used for cider making. It will easily
bruise and does not store well. It ripens in September. We had
high hopes for this russet apple as it set a good crop, but was mushy
and bland in our September heat.
*Shockley Georgia, 1840 An apple famous for its reliable
productivity in most climates and good keeping qualities. The tough,
smooth skin is pale yellow and overspread with bright red. The flesh is
yellowish white and crisp, juicy, mildly subacid to almost sweet. It
ripens in December and will keep until April or later; quality is OK but
not great. 12/30/10 We don't have room for mediocre apples.
*Simirenko Reinette Ukraine, 1895 May be
the same as Wood's Greening. Was popularized by Soviet cosmonauts,
who took the apple into space for dessert. Medium in size, the
greenish-yellow waxy skin has a brownish-orange flush, and is russeted
in the cavity and dotted on the surface. The greenish-white flesh is
tender and crisp with a subacid flavor. It bears early and heavily and
will also hang long on the tree after ripening. The tree top develops
into a wide pyramidal crown and the variety is very drought resistant.
It stores well and ripens in October. 12/30/10 But still is bland and
mushy. Sorry cosmonauts.
Spigold New York, 1962 A cross of Northern Spy and
Golden Delicious. Described as being terrible to grow, taking 10
years to start bearing and growing 50' tall on dwarfing rootstock; I
found this description only slightly exaggerated. We had our first
apples in 2010, and the first drops in August suffering from Codling
Moth were not bad; crisp, sweet, juicy, tangy acid, but still a bit
green. I ended up topworking it with Shell of Alabama as I couldn't take
the punishment anymore.
original tree grew up near the smokehouse of Mr. Gibbons in Lancaster
County, and thus its name was derived. The apple has greenish-yellow
skin covered with shades and stripes of red. The flesh is yellowish,
crisp and firm with a pleasing spicy flavor. Good for fresh-eating,
cooking, and baking. Ripens in October. Update 9/9/08: Once
again borers got to my tree before any ripened, so I'll have to wait yet
another couple years before tasting one.
Prior to 1915 We found this tree growing by the pond at Stetson
Ranch, an old mountain apple ranch in the San Bernardino mountains.
We've had several old-timers guess as to what it is, and are pretty sure
that it's one of the Winesap strains. But until we know for sure,
we're calling it Stetson Winesap. It ripens late October and the
ones on the top of the tree turn deep red, almost purple. It has
the heart-shape of a Winesap. They improve in storage and emit a
wonderful aroma. The skin turns rather greasy, and the white flesh
yellows and mellows a bit to be an incredibly rich, spicy, aromatic
flavor that's been described as "appley". If it is indeed a Winesap offshoot
it is probably pollen-sterile, so a pollinator is required. 2009
Update; These ripened way too early this year and were mushy; we're
putting it on our "watch list" and if it does it again, out it
goes! 2010 Update; once again it ripened too early and had lots of
drops. Sorry, it moves to the reject list.
New York 1875 Originating in the town of Chili, New York, Stump
used to be quite popular as a high-quality early autumn apple.
skin is pale yellow with a pink wash overlaid with splashes and stripes
of dark red. The whitish flesh is fine-grained, tender and juicy.
Very tart until quite ripe, when the flavor is well-balanced and gives
the first taste of fall. Very popular in our taste-testing. Ripens early September.
Sadly, size issues, cracking, and irregular bearing moved it to our
Sweet 16 Minnesota, 1978 Introduced by the University of
Minnesota’s Horticulture Center to withstand brutal winters. A rosy red,
smooth finish, fine-textured, crisp, high sugar, moderate acid apple
with a unique pleasing flavor. The fruits are medium to large sized,
normally fully colored by both stripes and a solid wash of rosy red. The
flesh is fine-textured and crisp and sweet. Bears heavily in
September, never did fruit for us, one of the few apples that wouldn't.
York, 1770 ("Heavy") Large, dull yellow fruit with
russet dots of uncommon flavor and richness; spicy and aromatic. When
first picked the firm white flesh may have a dull or unpleasant taste.
In storage it will soften and mellow somewhat like a pear until slightly
soft, at which time it has sweet, aromatic, velvety, tender and
beautifully balanced flesh. 2010 update; the flavor was good this
year, sweet and spicy, but the texture was tough and rubbery, kind of a
weird combination. I'll try one more year. 12/30/10 Sorry, another
year didn't help.
America, 1817 A sweet, early-season apple.
Praised as a good fruit for fresh eating and cooking. This medium to
large apple has smooth, pale yellow to white skin, sometimes with a
faint red blush. The tender white flesh is crisp, juicy and very sweet.
Ripens June to July. Sorry, it was bland and mushy; too bad, it
was really productive and gave really big apples.
Georgia, late 1800’s Possibly named after a one
Humphrey Tarbutton, this little-known apple is rather flat, red-striped, and was once
popular in the Northern Georgia mountains for fresh eating, cooking, and
drying, also considered the best for jelly. It ripens in August.
Ours succumbed to borers and was not worth replacing.
Orange England, 1945
A cross between Cox’s Orange Pippin and Laxton’s Superb, Tydeman’s is
more productive and much easier to grow in a hot climate that Cox and
has better flavor and quality in hot summer climates. Reddish-orange
stripes over greenish-yellow skin with some russeting. The Yellowish
flesh is firm and juicy with a spicy Cox flavor. It is a good keeper
and a vigorous tree with long, weeping branches that bear on the tips.
Needs heavy and early thinning for the best size fruit. Needs a
pollinator, bears late September to early October. It didn't
do so well this year, most apples rotting before ripe. 12/30/10 Once
again, nothing- out you go!
Virginia, USA, 1810 Once a
very well known and desirable apple rivaling Red Delicious for
popularity, Virginia Beauty is now a rare apple. The apple originated
from a seed planted in 1810 in the backyard of Zach Safewright in the
Piper’s Gap community of Carroll Co., Virginia. The original tree
stood until 1914. Fruit medium to large, often lopsided, with smooth,
dark red or purplish skin. Flesh is greenish yellow, fine-grained,
tender and juicy. Ripens October-February and is a good keeper.
But alas, once again the apples were not very good here, so to
the shredder it went.
New York, 1849 A colorful, attractive
apple sold by Georgia nurseries from 1885 to 1902. The tree is vigorous
and is a heavy, dependable bearer. Fruit is large and roundish-conical
with waxy yellow skin mottled and striped with brownish-red and carmine.
The yellow flesh is slightly coarse, crisp, juicy and tender. An early
season variety ripening in late July in warmer areas, later in the
mountains. The fruit quality has been poor in Southern California,
and we plan to pull it out.
Massachusetts, 1700’s An ugly apple
that can be very russeted and coated with a bluish bloom. It has a
memorable astringent flavor with a unique aroma. The pale yellow flesh
is crisp and juicy and browns rapidly with a tough skin. People usually
either love it or hate it. Mostly used as a dessert apple, it also is a
good cooking apple. Ripens September through November, does not keep
well. It was not worth the trouble to grow it.
White Winter Pearmain
England, 1200s An English apple that dates back to Norman
times that is still in cultivation, and for good reason. The green
waxy, tough skin that resembles Granny Smith covers a crisp, tender,
fine-grained flesh. The flavor is rich and aromatic, good for
fresh eating and cider. In storage the skin will turn yellow and
shrivel a bit with a rubbery feel, but the flesh stays crisp and
flavorful for months, even unrefrigerated. We found this being
grown all over our local mountains, and it was once quite popular in the
Midwest. Despite its English heritage it fruits reliably
with little chill. Quality in the heat is mediocre however, not
nearly as good as in the mountains; for those in lower elevations, we
recommend Yellow Newtown Pippin instead.
Illinois, 1869 Unusual crabapple
in that it is considered good for fresh eating. Large (in crabapple
terms, that means about 2") beautiful fruit with yellow skin overlaid
with red blush and red striping. Flesh is crisp, juicy, subacid, almost
sweet, with crabapple overtones. Like all crabapples, is a good
pollinator for other apples, bears heavily, and is self-fertile. Flowers
and ripens over a long period. Mentioned by a nursery as their favorite
fresh eating apple, but I'm sad to say this is the second year in a row
that the apples have been mushy and disappointing. I've
bud-grafted Rubinette onto the trunk and intend to remove it this
Russia, 1870 One of many old Southern apples of
Russian origin brought into this country by the USDA. Resistant to cedar
apple rust and scab and can be grown in all areas of the South including
the warmer coastal plain. Fruit is medium sized with smooth transparent
yellow skin and white flesh. A marginal-quality apple in even the best
apple-growing areas, in our climate it varied from horrible to pretty
good (Anna and Dorsett Golden are much better). Ripens in late May in
cold climates, but any time from early
in June to September here. Needs heavy thinning and a pollinator.
Germany 1885 A German Russet with all the subtlety of a
Panzer tank. Intensely sweet-tart, the firm flesh has a nettle
taste to it right off the tree that mellows in storage. The ugly
apple resemble a potato, but those preferring classic russet taste will
enjoy this late-ripening and long-keeping gem. Bears heavy crops
early in it's lifetime. Prune the tree so the apples are shaded by
the leaves (they don't color worth a darn anyway). It would make
great cider and killer apfel strüdel. Triploid (sterile pollen),
needs a pollinator. Quality has fallen off as it adapted to our
climate and ripened much too early; plant Bramley instead.
Imported Varieties (sorry, still
being virus indexed, provisional release is scheduled 2014)
These are apple varieties that are extinct from
cultivation in the USA that we found growing at the Heritage Orchard at
Grove Research and Demonstration Station
in Tasmania, Australia. Importing apple scionwood to the USA is an
arduous 3-year process as it needs to be cleansed of any latent viruses.
This is done through the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
office in Beltsville, MD by Dr. Joseph A. Foster or the University of
Washington NRSP5 program. We're proud to be a part of bringing
these varieties "back from the brink" and making them available again.
Illinois, 1838 (Western Baldwin) Originated about 1838 from
seeds of Baldwin in Tazewell County, Illinois. Sold by several southern
nurseries around the turn of the century, often under the name
Western Baldwin. Reportedly a large and beautiful apple but too
acid to be anything but a cooker until after January when its acid
subsides. The tree was a shy bearer in Maryland in 1900.
Fruit large, roundish oblate, somewhat
irregular; skin yellow mostly mottled and striped with carmine; stem
short in a moderately shallow, rather broad cavity; calyx nearly closed;
basin rather deep, somewhat furrowed; flesh whitish or a little yellow,
fine-grained, rather crisp, sprightly subacid to acid. Ripe October to
April. Listed in catalogs in MD, VA, KY, TX 1897-1910.
Indiana, 1860 Supposedly of Indiana origin but sold by six
Tree moderately productive and bears
Fruit large, roundish conical, flattened
on the ends; skin greenish yellow covered with stripes and splashes of
dull red’ dots minute, scattered; stem medium length, stout, in a wide,
deep, acute, waxy, green cavity; calyx closed; basin narrow and abrupt;
flesh yellow, crisp, subacid. Ripens late and keeps until January or
later. Catalog listings; MD, VA, GA, TN, KY (1871-1913)
Ireland, 1800’s A markedly oblong dessert apple.
Tennessee, 1870 Apples were sent to Charles Downing before 1878
by the prominent Tennessee nurseryman J.W. Dodge.
Fruit large, roundish oblate, somewhat
conical; skin yellow striped and splashed with red. Flesh yellow,
slightly coarse, juicy, slightly aromatic. Ripe December-January. No
Tennessee, 1860 (Suwannee, Winter Green, Winter Queen) From an
1895 letter to the USDA written by B.A. Craddock, Curve, Lauderdale
County, Tennessee; “Originated in Sumner County, Tennessee, as an
accidental seedling found on the grounds of the poorhouse. It was first
propagated by Dr. Bains of Haywood County to which county he brought
five scions about 1860 and grafted a few trees for his own planting.
The fruit ripens in late autumn and keeps better than Ben Davis. Some
specimens weigh one and a half pounds. Baskets of the fruit often
average one pound to the apple. The tree is a heavy, annual bearer and
holds its fruit well.”
The poorhouse was grown mostly in
Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia as a high quality apple for both market
and home use. In 1920 it was sold by a Georgia nursery under the name
Fruit large, roundish to slightly
oblate; skin pale yellowish green to yellow with numerous russet dots’
stem short in a narrow, deep, russeted cavity’ basin medium size,
abrupt; flesh yellowish, compact, moderately juicy, mild subacid. Ripe
November-February but keep much longer in good storage. Catalog
listings: GA, TN, KY (1893-1920)
Georgia or Alabama, 1840 This fine, high flavored apple was sold
for forty years by Georgia nurseries and by several nurseries in other
southern states as well. Its origin is unknown but is believed to be
either Georgia or Alabama. The tree is an open, straggling grower which
requires careful pruning, and it bears heavy annual crops.
Fruit large, roundish to oblate, conical
skin greenish yellow striped and splashed with red especially on the
sunny side (some references day a red cheek, others say the fruit is
mostly red); dots large, light colored; stem long and slender in a deep,
acute, russeted cavity; calyx closed; basin usually shallow an slightly
corrugated; flesh whitish (also described as yellow) tender, juicy,
aromatic, acid when grown on rich clay soils but less acid and of higher
flavor on sandy loams. Ripe September and keeps until November.
Catalog listings: VA, GA, AL, MS, LA, KY, TX (1858-1898).
Apples in the Tropics?
Growing Apples in the City
Book- Growing Apples in the
Favorite Apple Varieties
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