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Apples

Cameo

Cameo

(mid/late October)

Cameo is a very new apple variety. The shape is very reminscent of Red Delicious but Cameo does not have the intense red coloration of Red Delicious. The colour does seem to vary quite considerably, from a basically dark red flushed apple to a pale green apple with orange flushes.


Unlike most modern apples Cameo is not the result of a long breeding programme. It originated the old-fashioned way as a chance seedling. Interestingly, it was found in a Red Delicious orchard, so it seems likely, given the shape and colour, that Red Delicious was one of the parents.


The flavour is fairly bland, with a hint of pear - similar to Red Delicious but with less intensity. It is a bit crisper than Red Delicious too, but still fairly soft.

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Empire

Empire

(mid September)

The color is an intense maroon-red, overlying a light green background, and for children in particular it shouts out "eat me".


Empire was developed at Cornell University in New York state, USA in the 1940s, and its parents are classic old North American varieties - Delicious and McIntosh. These are both shiny red apples. It is an ideal lunch-box apple, not least because it does not bruise easily. Empire is a sweet apple with a crisp texture and bright white flesh. Although Empire can be stored for a short period, it is best when eaten straight from the tree. It has the characteristic and unusual McIntosh flavor, often described in apple textbooks as "vinous". Perhaps the best way to describe it is like a hint of melon or pineapple or elderflower.

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Fuji

Fuji

(Late September)

Developed in Japan, but an all-American cross of Red Delicious and Ralls Janet. A very attractive modern apple, crisp, Fuji is surely one of the more attractive modern apple varieties. Its main characteristic is the lovely pink speckled flush over a yellow-green background. It is also crisp and juicy, with dull white flesh which snaps cleanly. The flavor is predominantly sweet, very refreshing (especially if slightly chilled), but not particularly outstanding.


As you might expect, Fuji comes from Japan, where it was developed in the 1940s and released in 1962. However its parentage is all-american. Fuji is a cross between the widely grown Red Delicious, and Ralls Janet, which is much less well known but is probably the reason for Fuji's attractive pink flush. sweet-flavored, and keeps well.

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Gala

Gala

(mid September)

One of the most widely grown apple varieties in the world, and a mainstay of the supermarket apple selection - not least because it is available year round from northern and southern hemisphere suppliers. One of the unique features of Gala is that it can be grown with good quality results in both temperate and warm apple-growing regions, and it is generally regarded as a low-chill variety (i.e. it can be grown in regions which experience less than 800 hours of cool winter temperatures a year).


Gala is a cross between Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious - a highly promising start. Bearing in mind that Kidd's Orange Red is the offspring of Cox's Orange Pippin and (Red) Delicious, Gala is effectively a union of three of the world's most important and distinctive apple varieties. Perhaps the flavor does not quite live up to that promise, but this is still a very high quality apple.

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Golden Delicious

Golden Delicious

(early October)

Undoubtedly Golden Delicious is a very popular as a supermarket apple variety, and now undergoing something of a rehabilitation amongst apple enthusiasts who are re-discovering its potential. Undoubtedly one of the most important apple varieties of the 20th century. Fruit picked for supermarkets is often picked when still green, and then stored for months before sale. In contrast when allowed to ripen to a golden-green color on the tree the true flavour is revealed - exceptionally sweet and rich, almost like eating raw sugar cane. Golden Delicious is also a versatile apple, and can be used both for dessert and cooking purposes, and it has an attractive appearance - which can indeed be golden if left to mature on the tree.

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Honeycrisp

Honeycrisp

(mid September)

Sometimes marketed as Honey Crisp, this is a crisp, and predomoninantly sweet, modern variety from the USA. It was developed by the University of Minnesota specifically for growers in cold climates, and is one of the most cold-hardy of apple varieties.


Honeycrisp is a medium-to-large sized apple, with a light green/yellow background largely covered with red-orange flush with strong hint of pink if grown in good sunlight. The skin may be flecked with occasional russet dots. The flesh is white, perhaps not quite as bright as a McIntosh style apple, but similarly crisp and not too dense. The colour however can be quite variable.


The flavor is sweet with very little trace of acidity and little depth or complexity. There can also be a trace of pear-drop flavor. In a good example this is a juicy and instantly refreshing apple, in a less good example it will be simply sweet and bland (but still very nice). As its name suggests this is genuinely a crisp / crunchy apple. However since the flesh is quite light, the crunch is surprisingly soft, nothing like the hard crisp crunch of a good Golden Delicious.


Surprisingly for a modern commercial apple variety, Honeycrisp tends to bruise easily, and therefore is usually sold in packs rather than loose.

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Jonagold

Jonagold

(early October)

Jonagold is high quality American apple, developed in the 1940s. As its name suggests, this is a cross between a Jonathan and a Golden Delicious. Jonagold is a large apple, and makes a substantial snack. If you are struggling to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, this can help! The large size is a good clue that this is a tetraploid apple variety, with 3 sets of genes. As a result it is a poor pollinator of other apple varieties, and needs two different nearby compatible pollinating apple varieties. Golden Delicious is well-known as a good pollinator of other apple varieties, but cannot pollinate Jonagold.

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Macintosh

Macintosh

(late September)

McIntosh is without doubt one of the great North American apple varieties. Like its 19th century contemporaries Golden Delicious and Red Delicious, it has become a highly influential apple variety with numerous offspring. However unlike those varieties its popularity has not spread outside North America, and indeed most "Mac" production, remains centred in New England and across the border in Quebec and Ontario. The McIntosh style is typified by attractive dark red or (more often) crimson colours, and a crunchy bite, often with bright white flesh. The flavor is simple and direct, generally sweet but with refreshing acidity, and usually a hint of wine - often referred to as "vinous".

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Northern Spy

Northern Spy

(Late October)

Northern Spy is a very old-fashioned American variety which retains its popularity. It is a typical winter apple variety, picked in late October or early November, and then used through the winter months. It keeps in a cold store well into spring.


Northern Spy is well known for its winter-hardiness. It is a naturally vigorous variety which will produce a relatively large tree, however whilst it grows strongly it can take longer than most apple varieties to come into bearing, and it also has a tendency to lapse into biennial bearing.

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Sweet Sixteen

Sweet Sixteen

(early September)

Sweet Sixteen is a popular apple for very cold northern regions. It ripens in early fall, just ahead of Honeycrisp™. It is crisp and juicy with an exotic yellow flesh and a very sweet, unusual sugar cane or spicy cherry candy flavor. The fruit stores for 5 to 8 weeks. It is a good all purpose apple.

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Heirloom Apples

Arkansas Black

Arkansas Black

(October or November)

Arkansas Black originated in Arkansas about 1870, and is speculated to be a seedling of Winesap. Medium in size, the color is a lively red, deepening on the exposed side to a purplish red or nearly black. Flesh is yellowish, very hard and crisp, with a distinctive aromatic flavor. It is a long keeper that improves in storage. Ripens in October or November. Good for cider and cooking.

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Ashmead's Kernel

Ashmead's Kernel

(late September or early October)

Originated in the Gloucester, England, from seed planted by a Dr. Ashmead around 1700. Stores three to four months at 32 degrees. Flavor is outstanding, rich and strong, with a balance of sugars and acids. Ripens in late September or early October. Good for eating fresh, cider and sauce. Crisp yellowish flesh is tinged green and sugary, juicy, and aromatic with an acidic sweet flavor. Because of the high acid content, storage for weeks or months mellows the fruit for dessert use. This is a good cider apple and good for winter storage.

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Baldwin

Baldwin

(late September or early October)

Baldwin was the preeminent commercial apple of the country, mostly in New England, until a harsh winter in 1933-34 killed most of the trees. It has been replaced by McIntosh. The skin is thick, on the tough side. Flesh is yellow, crisp, coarse and juicy, with a spicy character that is good in cider and pies. Keeps well and ripens in late September or October. Originated as a seedling in northeastern Massachusetts sometime before 1750.

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Calville Blanc d'Hiver

Calville Blanc d'Hiver

(mid October)

Calville Blanc d'Hiver is the classic dessert apple of France, and is of either French or German origin. It was mentioned by LeLecire, procureur for Louis XIII, at Orleans in 1627, and it likely dates to the late 16th century. This is a large, flattish, round apple, with uneven ribs extending the entire length of the fruit. It should be stored a month or longer to develop its maximum flavor. It has distinctiveness described by some as effervescence. In vitamin C, it ranks very high. The tree does not produce fruit of the highest quality until it has cropped for a number of years. Other than its very high dessert quality, it makes exceptional cider and cider vinegar. Ripens in October. Good culinary apple as well.

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Golden Russet

Golden Russet

(Mid September)

Golden Russet may be a seedling of English Russet. There are a number of strains and cultivars. It was known in the 18th century, and was described by Downing in Fruits and Fruit Trees of America, 1859. Under favorable conditions, the skin is smooth and the shape uniform. The fine-grained, yellowish flesh is crisp with an exceptionally sugary juice. Properly stored, it will keep until April. Still considered to be one of the best cider apples of all time, but is also a tasty dessert apple.

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Harrison

Harrison

(Mid September)

Harrison is a famous 19th century American cider apple, believed to have been extinct. Known in the early 19th century, Downing in 1846 reports it to have come originally from Essex County, New Jersey. New Jersey is the most celebrated cider making district in America, and this apple...has long enjoyed the highest reputation as a cider fruit. Makes a high colored cider of great body. The Harrison apple was long though to be extinct, but was rediscovered by Paul Gidez in New Jersey in 1976. Nurseryman and fruit historian Tom Burford verified its identity.

 

The Harrison apple remains very little known outside a small group of American apple enthusiasts and cider connoisseurs. Current recovery efforts have been focused in Virginia but trees have recently been distributed, mainly to home orchardists and small commercial cider producers, throughout the United States. Alone, Harrison apple juice makes an extremely dark, rich cider with exceptional mouth-feel. It was a leading variety for cider production from the early 1800s until the early 1900s and documentation indicates that it was a variety of high merit for cider taste and profitability.

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Kingston Black

Kingston Black

(late September)

Kingston Black is one of the classic cider apples, and is speculated to have originated in Somersetshire, England, about 1820. It is thought to be named after the village of Kingston St. Mary, near Taunton, and is probably related to other Somerset bittersharp varieties, such as Lambroook Pippin, and others. It is one of a very few single varieties used for high-quality cider making. Classed a bittersharp apple it is moderately sweet, with a strong astringent aftertaste. It ripens in late September.

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Ribston Pippin

Ribston Pippin

(Mid September)

Also called Essex Pippin, Glory of York, Ribstone, among other names, was grown from three apple pips (seeds) sent from Normandy to Sir Henry Goodricke of Ribston Hall at Knaresborough, in Yorkshire, in 1709. Only one seed germinated and matured. The original tree was blown down in 1810, but was propped up and lived until 1928. Skin is a yellow, flushed orange, streaked red with russet at the base and apex. The yellow flesh is firm, fine-grained, and sweet. Some tasters detect a pear-drop flavor, others detect fermenting cider. Has one of the highest vitamin C contents: 30.30mg/100mg. Does not store well and ripens in September.

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Roxbury Russet

Roxbury Russet

(late September and early October)

Roxbury Russet originated early in the 17th century in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and is probably the oldest named variety of apple in America. Propagation wood was taken to Connecticut soon after 1649. Medium to large in size, and elliptical in shape, the green skin is tinged a bronze, and overspread with a brownish-yellow russet. Sometimes, there is a reddish blush on the sun-exposed side and a hint of ribbing. An all-purpose apple, Roxbury Russet stores well and ripens in late September and early October.

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Spitzenburg (Esopus)

Spitzenburg (Esopus)

(late September and early October)

Originated in Esopus, Ulster County, New York, in the latter part of the 18th century. It was one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite apples. He ordered 12 trees from William Prince's Flushing, Long Island, Nursery in 1790 to plant at Monticello. A likely parent of the Jonathan and is classified in the Baldwin group. A large apple, oblong in shape, smooth-skinned and colored a brilliant red, approaching scarlet, and covered with small yellow specks. The yellow flesh is rich, juicy, and sprightly, and ranks high in taste tests. Ripens late September and early October.

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