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2012-2013 Warm Climate Apple Variety List

We believe we have an excellent lineup of apple varieties for you.  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.

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 Burbank, 1914

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 stonefruit 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 soy 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.

Akane  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.  Thin heavily for the best fruit size.  We still have yet to harvest our first apple.

Anna Israel, 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.

Arkansas 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.  Those grown in the mountains are hard as a rock when first picked and need to mellow in storage a month before you can sink your teeth into it, and thus make great keepers, storing fine in the crisper bin for months.  They develop a very "greasy" skin in long storage.  They ripen here around Thanksgiving.  Impervious to heat, they are excellent to grow in Southern California, even the low deserts.

Arkcharm 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.

Aunt Rachel North Carolina, USA According to Masters (2005), this variety performs well in the Piedmont of South Carolina. Originated as local apple in Chatham County , North Carolina . 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.

Boskoop, Red 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.

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..

Bud. 9 Soviet Union, recent  Short for Budagovski 9, this is a dwarfing rootstock developed in the former Soviet Union.  It is very dwarfing and makes a tree approximately 8' tall.  We include it in our apple selection because of its striking beauty as a red tree; it has red bark, reddish-green leaves, pink blossoms, and red apples that are not half-bad.  They are a bit tart, but would do well for cooking.  The apples ripen early fall.  Since this is one of the premier commercial rootstocks, there is currently a nation wide shortage and our quantities are limited.

Cinnamon Spice  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.

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. A yellow apple with a sweet flavor and rubbery texture, bears heavily but not that good of quality.  People still order it anyway for some reason.

Crimson Gold 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.

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.  The patent expired in 2010, and so we will now be able to sell it.

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.  The patent expires November of 2013 and so we'll be shipping in spring of 2014.

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.

Discovery England, 1949  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.  Can be slow to come into bearing.

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.

Dorset 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 Golden.

Dula’s Beauty North Carolina, late 1800’s Originated from seeds of a Limbertwig planted by J. A. Dula of Lenoir , North Carolina . 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.

Drakenstein 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.  Pollinate with Granny Smith.

Empire New York, USA, 1945  Developed at Cornell University, Empire is a cross between Red Delicious and Macintosh.  Empire brings the famous Macintosh flavor to hotter climates, growing and coloring up well in heat and humidity.   The tree is strong and well-shaped, and bears reliably every year.  The apples have a nice spicy sweet-tart flavor, and although they do not bruise easily, should be eaten or processed right away as they do not keep long.

Esopus Spitzenburg 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.  Tested good in Southern California and also did well in central Mexico.

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.  Ripens late November.

Fuji 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.  Ripens in mid December, keeps extremely well, 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.

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.

Gravenstein 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.

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.

Hewe's Crab  Virginia, 1717  Also known as Virginia Crab, the small but vigorous tree produces small round red and yellow apples with a high astringency.  Thomas Jefferson likened crushing them to "wringing out a sponge".  It makes a high-quality cinnamon-flavored cider that slowly ferments and was one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite cider apples.  The tree has strong biannual tendencies and ripens in late September

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.

Honeycrisp  University of Minnesota, 1962  Yes, you're reading right; the same Honeycrisp you see in the supermarket.  Word is spreading like wildfire that it does very well in hot climates, and the ones we picked from our orchard this year were WONDERFUL!  It was a stinking hot September, well over 100 since Labor Day, but the apples we picked were sweet, juicy, very crisp, a bit denser than in the store, but very, very nice with not a mark on them.  Oddly enough it is famous for being hardy though the bitter winters of the upper Midwest, but it is not the first Northern apple to do well here (see Wealthy).  It ripens in late September to early October, and keeps very well in the refrigerator.  It has good pollen and is partly self-fertile, and will pollinate other trees.  We're proud to be one of the first nurseries to list it as tested good for Southern California.  (Sorry U of M, the patent ran out last year)

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.

Hunge North Carolina , USA 1700’s  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 Newton Grove , North Carolina . 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 September.

John Conner North Carolina, USA late 1800’s Named for a man who lived in the late 1800’s in the Pore’s Knob community of Wilkes County, North Carolina , 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.

Junaluska 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 juicy, 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.

Kerr Crab  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.

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.

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.

Mattamuskeet 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.  Holds up to the heat and does well in Southern California.

Mollie's Delicious New York, 1966  An excellent apple for mild winter climates, a cross between Golden Delicious and Red Gravenstein. Sweet, firm, crisp, 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 Southern California.

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.  We got a couple off the tree last year an are looking forward to a bigger harvest this year.

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'll give it another year to see if it improves.

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, tested excellent for Southern California.

Pink Lady™See Cripp's Pink

Pink 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.

Prairie Spy University of Minnesota, 1940  Unrelated to Northern Spy, Prairie Spy was once widely commercially grown but is now limited to backyard orchards. Here in our climate the skin is red-blushed and the flesh is sweet, crisp and creamy-white but was rather dry and lacked much character.  It withstood the heat quite well.  Ripens the end of October. Tested OK for Southern California.

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 Rebel Virginia, USA 1850  This beautiful apple originated about 1850 in Rappahannock , Virginia 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.

Rescue Crab Small greenish-yellow fruit with striped dull red over top with a cream-colored flesh.  A profusion of white long-lasting blossoms will pollinate any apple. Very sweet for eating fresh and good for preserves.  Ripens early to mid August.  A reliable annual bearer and tested good for Southern California.

Reverend Morgan 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. 

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.  Tested OK (but not great) in Southern California, we still carry it for mountain growers as it blows away the Red Rome in the supermarket.  We're also trying out a Rome Beauty seedling called Morgenduft; stay tuned for further evaluation.

Shell of Alabama Alabama ,  late 1800’s Originating in Alabama , this was developed by Mr. Green 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 sugar.

Stump  New York 1875 Originating in the town of Chili, New York, Stump used to be quite popular as a high-quality early autumn apple.  The 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.   Insanely productive in our climate; summer thunderstorms will split almost every apple, but they're still good a month later; it seemed to grow out of the cracking habit.  Tested very good for Southern California

Sundowner™ See Cripp's-Two

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, hasn't fruited for us yet; I'm giving it one more year before it gets the ax.

Terry Winter 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, sweet/tart and 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.

Tompkins County King  New York, 1804  This is one of our "sleeper" varieties, one that doesn't get much notice, but consistently bears a good crop of large, flavorful apples and is worthy of further planting.  Large apple that is ribbed at the eye and on the body. The yellow skin is flushed a pale-red with darker red stripes and white or russet dots. The stem cavity is also russeted. The yellow flesh is coarse, crisp, and tender, with a subacid, sweet and aromatic flavor. The skin has a greasy finish especially after storage. Vigorous and spreading, the tree grows naturally small, and the shiny leaves are highly folded with sharp, closely set serrations. The limbs grow nearly horizontal with many crossing branches. A pollen sterile triploid, it will not pollinate other trees but is partially self-fertile. it has a tendency to watercore, where the flesh becomes translucent and very sweet.  Ripens in November; hangs on the tree until it's past its prime, so keep an eye on it.  Very nice here, with a crisp zesty flavor.  Probably would do much better if the borers would leave it alone; tested good for Southern California.

Virginia Beauty 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.

Wealthy   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.

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 does quite well in warm climates and is considered a "low chill" apple that fruits reliably every year.  We're doing what we can to see that it's around another 800 years.  It fruited last year, but codling moth got it and only left me a half of an apple to sample; not bad but I'll wait to get a whole one before passing judgement.

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 New Years.

Williams' 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, we are exporting it to Africa this spring for tropic trials.

Yates  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.

INFORMATIONAL ONLY- The below are apples that we've tested and found either lacking in quality or unsuited to our climate.  We do not carry these varieties anymore.

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.

Brogden Alabama, 1945 A 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.

Buckingham  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.

Carolina Red June Tennessee, 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. 

Chenango Strawberry New York, 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. 

Chestnut Crab 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.

Co-op 35 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!

Co-op 41® Indiana, 1972  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.

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.

Early Joe New York, 1800  The small, 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. 

Enterprise® Indiana, 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. 

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, 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.

GoldRush® patented Illinois, 1972  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.  Developed by the PRI breeding program that also developed Williams' Pride, we heard so many good reports about this apple that we became licensed to propagate and distribute it.  Reports from a grower in Orange County also give it high marks.  We thought we were already growing it, but the scionwood from an amateur grower was mislabeled and it turned out to be Enterprise®, which we also really liked and did well here so it wasn't a total loss.  Upon picking GoldRush turns a deep yellow in storage, where it reaches perfection after 1-2 months and will keep up to 7 months.  The flesh is crisp, juicy, somewhat coarse, but has an intensely sweet-tart flavor that wakes you up.  It ripens very late and needs a long season.  Gold Rush has the added distinction of being immune to scab and resistant to fire blight and mildew.  

Gordon 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 tasteless.

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 Tom Brown 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.

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.

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 instead.

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.

*Lady 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.

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.

Orin  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.

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 baking, frying, 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 green.  

*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.

*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 mushy.

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.

*Snow 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.

Smokehouse  Pennsylvania, 1830  The 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. 

Stetson Winesap 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.

Sundowner™ Australia, 1973 No patent license, unable to ship Apples of the Cripp's Red cultivar that meets certain quality standards can be marketed under the trademarked name Sundowner.  The tree has a good upright growth with wide branch angles and forms good fruiting spurs.  The fruit is red with some russeting around the stem end and russet spots on the face, dooming it from the commercial market.  It is extremely reliable and productive.  The flesh is tender and crisp, not quite as sweet as Golden Delicious but coarser than Pink Lady.  As the name implies it ripens very late in the year, easily hanging on into January.  It's low chilling requirement and resistance to sunburn make it OK for growing in Southern California, but the flavor is kind of bland; I'd go with Lady Williams instead.

Swaar  New 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.

Sweet Bough 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.

Tarbutton 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.

Tydeman’s Late 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!

Washington Strawberry 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.

Westfield Seek-No-Further  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.

Whitney Crabapple 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 winter.

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. Ripens late October. A good keeper and a favorite apple of George Washington.  Still considered one of the best apples in the world.  It was never very productive here, and so we moved it to the reject list.

Yellow Transparent  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.

Zabergau Reinette 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 the 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.

Babbitt 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.

Clayton Indiana, 1860  Supposedly of Indiana origin but sold by six southern nurseries. 

Tree moderately productive and bears early.

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)

Cloud South Carolina, 1850 A South Carolina apple sold by a Georgia nursery in 1861.  Fruit oblate, red striped, subacid.  Ripe Winter.

Ladys Finger  Ireland, 1800’s  A markedly oblong dessert apple.

Magnolia 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 catalog listings.

Poorhouse  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 Suwannee.

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)

Taunton 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).

Wallace Howard 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.

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