Heritage Apple Trees
This will be an ever increasing list as we plant more trees.
As with other heritage breeds that we have on our farm, we also have included apples and other fruits that have historical or other intrinsic value. We try to consider ourselves amateur pomologists. So finding new fruiting trees has always been of great interest to us.
We are losing touch with our past and apples are just another item that is being lost. At one time there were over 5,000 varieties of apples in the United States, now we have less than half that number. Our commercial apples are, but a few types and most of them have very little flavor. We grow both culinary and cider apples.
If you have the space you should do our agricultural history a favor and plant a heritage apple tree.
Most of our trees started in our orchard, but now most are growing in our fence rows. We also have nursery beds in which we grow our new grafts and rootstock. If you have or need scion wood for your own grafts just get in touch with us and we will send you some scion wood.
The apple information below is from various sources; sorry for not properly citing.
An apple of English origin and one of the best high-quality dessert apples available. It originated about 1700 in the gardens of Thomas Ashmead of Gloucester, England. Though not considered an attractive apple, the tremendous flavor more than compensates for its appearance. The flavor has been variously described as “strong, sweet-sharp intense”, “sweet yet a little acid” and “mouth-puckering.” The apple’s flavor is indeed strong and intense when first picked, but sweetens and mellows greatly after several weeks in storage. The yellowish-green skin has an occasional light-orange blush, and is almost completely covered with a fine gray-brown russet coating. The yellowish-white flesh is crisp, firm and juicy. Ripens September to October.
originated in Maine, probably in the late 18th century. It is a late apple that was a favorite for years, and is enjoying renewed popularity today. Medium-sized, round fruit, deep purple with a blackish bloom. Excellent culinary, cider and dessert apple. Stores well.
Early Fall. Small golf-ball-sized fruit with truly excellent fresh eating qualities. Yellow and bronze-red skin with some russeting. Firm crisp juicy fine-grained very sweet yellowish flesh. Not a keeper, but can be stored for a month or so. Vigorous, somewhat weeping, medium-sized productive tree.
Cox’s Orange Pippin
One of the truly great fresh eating dessert apples. It originated in 1825 in England from seeds of Ribston Pippin. Superlatives abound when describing the flavor – spicy, honeyed, nutty, pear-like. A rich, full flavored apple with a pleasing aroma. Fruit is medium sized with yellowish skin flushed with an attractive reddish-orange blush. Cream colored flesh is fine-grained, firm and juicy. Ripens September to October and keeps until January.
An old English cider apple which arose in Martock, Somerset, England. It is a small, greenish-yellow apple believed to be a seedling of Chisel Jersey. It produces a sweet, astringent juice which makes a soft, full-bodied vintage cider. A very aromatic apple which can be picked in November.
(Spitzenburg, True Spitzenburg) – Originated Esopus, New York 1800’s. Fabled as all-time favorite of Thomas Jefferson. Apple is medium to large with bright red skin mixed with splashes of orange and having crisp, yellow, aromatic flesh. Ripens in September.
(Mountain Pippin,Green Mountain Pippin,Molly Whopper ) – An old apple originating in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania before 1842 which became widely popular throughout the South. In the South the tree grows well only at altitudes above 1,500 feet. Fruit large to very large with dull green skin shaded with red and bronze. Flesh is greenish white, tender, coarse and juicy. Ripens late October and is a good keeper.
(Bullet Pippin, Fox Apple, Long Tom) – The American Golden Russet is a famous, old Southern apple which originated in Burlington County, New Jersey in the 1700’s. A widely versatile fruit, Golden Russet is excellent for fresh eating and drying but is most noted for making hard cider. Its high sugar content can produce a cider with up to 7% alcohol content. A medium sized apple, round to oblong in shape, with pale yellow skin overlaid with a rough golden-russet coating. The yellow flesh is firm, dense, crisp and juicy. Ripens September to November.
( Banks Red Gravenstein, Early Congress) – A very old apple of European origin believed to have originated in the 1600’s with Duke Augustenberg of Castle Graefenstein ( Gravenstein) in Germany. It was introduced into the United States in the 1820’s by Russian settlers moving into California. An oblong or lopsided fruit having bright yellow skin with a pinkish-orange flush and light red striping. The creamy yellow flesh is tender, crisp, juicy, and aromatic. Ripens July to August in most areas and is not a good keeper.
(Grimes Golden Pippin, Bellflower) – Considered one of the finest American apples ever, Grimes Golden originated in 1790 in Brooks Co., West Virginia where today a granite monument still stands in recognition of this outstanding apple. Grimes Golden is one of the parents of the widely popular Golden Delicious. Fruit is medium to large, roundish to slightly oblong with tough yellow skin with occasional patches of russet. This aromatic apple is highly flavored with tender, crisp, juicy yellowish-orange flesh. Ripens September to October and is a good keeper.
Mid-Late Fall. Unknown parentage. Essex County, New Jersey, probably before 1800. Also called Long Stem. One of the most renowned American cider apples from the first great period of domestic cider making. (We’re hoping this will become the second.) Praised in all the classic 19th-century fruit books. Medium-small somewhat oval yellow-skinned fruit with many small black dots and a very long stem. Rich firm dry yellow flesh. According to Coxe, it makes a “high coloured, rich, and sweet cider of great strength, commanding a high price in New-York, frequently ten dollars and upwards per barrell…” Vigorous productive tree.
Hewe’s Virginia Crab
(Virginia Crab, Cider Crab, Hughe’s Crab) – Hewe’s Crab is absolutely one of the best cider crab apples available today. The exact date of origin is unclear, but trees of Hewe’s Crab were discovered in Virginia in 1817 which were already a hundred years old. It produces a clear, dry cider which is excellent by itself or used in a blend with other ciders. Fruit is very small (1 ½ inches diameter) with dark green skin mostly covered with dull, purplish red and numerous large white dots. Flesh is firm, crisp, astringent and quite acid in flavor. Ripens September to October and is a good keeper.
In 1893, a single tree was found growing along a fence row on the farm of Ben Frost in Durham, Arkansas. Thought to be a cross of Jonathan x Winesap or Jonathan x Arkansas Black, it was bought and trademarked by Stark Bro’s Nursery in 1902 and sold to commercial growers as a substitute for Jonathan. The fruit is good for fresh eating, cooking, and cider making. The tree is a late bloomer and quite disease resistant. Fruit is medium to large, rounded and often ribbed at the stem end. The skin is pale green overlaid with deep red and dark red stripes and is sometimes greasy to the touch. The firm yellow flesh is crisp, firm and juicy. Ripens October to December.
Fall. Bittersharp. Unknown parentage. Somerset, England, early 19th c. High in tannin and high in acidity. Produces full-bodied vintage cider with a nice blend of acid, tannins and sugar. Ferment it alone or in a blend. One of the few varieties which makes a high-quality single variety hard cider. Medium-sized conical beautiful rich red fruit, mottled with red russet and deeper shades of maroon (but not black!). Fairly decent fresh eating. The tree is a reliable bearer, but is gangly and needs careful pruning. Blooms midseason.
Described as the most trouble-free of all apples, Liberty is the result of years of work by fruit breeders to develop an apple that would free growers from the endless rounds of repetitive spraying. Released in 1978 by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Liberty has lived up to expectations. A cross of Macoun and an experimental apple variety, it is a deep red apple with great eating and baking qualities. The fruit is medium to large with rich yellow skin overlaid with dark red stripes and splashes. The pale yellow flesh is crisp, tender, juicy, and quite flavorful. Ripens in October and improves in flavor over a couple of months of storage.
A cross between the McIntosh and Jersey Black varieties. The Macoun (sometimes pronounced “McCowan”) was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, by R. Wellington. Named after Canadian fruit grower W.T. Macoun, it was first introduced in 1923, and has been regarded to be the finest eating apple in the World.
(Bonum, Maggie Bonum, Red Bonum) – A long-time Southern favorite and one of the finest early fall apples available. It originated in 1828 in Davidson County, North Carolina when John Kinny planted seeds of the Hall apple, another old time Southern favorite. It was once a very popular commercial variety in Virginia grown for its fine flavor and the hardy and productive nature of the tree. Fruit size is medium or smaller. The yellow skin is mostly covered in light red and darker red streaks with numerous white dots over the surface. The fine-grained, aromatic white flesh is often stained with red near the outer skin. Ripens September to October and keeps fairly well if properly stored.
(Albemarle Pippin, Green Winter Pippin, New York Pippin, Virginia Pippin) – A venerable old variety originating in New York in the early 1800’s. There are two recognized Newtown Pippins – Green Newtown Pippin and Yellow Newtown Pippin. One is the originator of the other, but as to which came first is unknown. Yellow Newtown Pippin is the most well known and a long-time southern favorite. It is a medium to large apple, greenish-yellow in color with hints of pink at the stem end. The yellowish flesh is firm, crisp, and very aromatic. A good storage apple ripening in October and keeping into February or later.
(Norfolk Beaufin, Catshead Beaufin) – Norfolk Beefing is an old English apple variety used primarily for cooking and drying. It was first described in this country in the 1840’s but was not listed in any southern nursery catalogs. A medium to large apple that hangs on the tree into January or later. It is greenish-yellow in color with a dull red coating and faintly striped. The greenish-white flesh is crisp and juicy and sweetens in storage. Considered a good keeper.
(Northern Spice, Spy) – A superb apple of Northern heritage which attains its greatest potential as a mountain grown apple. When grown in warmer areas it lacks the crispness and flavor of fruit grown in cooler regions. The apple originated about 1800 in East Bloomfield, New York and soon became popular throughout the United States. Fruit is a good keeper and an excellent cooker. Also great as a fresh picked fruit with a spicy, aromatic flavor. Large, roundish fruit with smooth, thin, dark red skin. The clean, white flesh is fine-grained, tender, crisp and juicy. An excellent keeper which ripens in October.
(Pitmaston Pine) – A small but wonderful old russet apple which arose in England around 1785. Long appreciated as a very fine dessert apple. It is somewhat conical-shaped with a rich yellow color overlaid with a fine tawny russet. The creamy-yellow flesh is tender and juicy with a rich, sugary flavor. Ripens in mid-September.
(Gray Apple, Pomme Grise, Grise) – Pomme Grise may have originated with the French people of the St. Lawrence valley in Canada, but it is also possible it came into Canada from Europe. Although not a particularly attractive fruit, it is an excellent dessert apple. Fruit size is medium to small with thick, tough greenish-yellow skin almost entirely covered with a brownish russet. The rich, juicy yellow flesh is firm, crisp, and aromatic. Ripens in September and is a fairly good keeper.
A highly unusual cross between Wolf River and Niedzwetzskayana Red Crab. The fruit is medium to large, waxy-pink to red. The deep-red flesh is slightly dry, making it a superb baking apple that also produces an exceptional jelly, blood red cider, or vinegar. It is high in pectin, but is not for fresh eating, and has a short storage life. Extremely hardy tree is disease and pest free. Heavy annual bearer. Highly ornamental with bronze leaves and red blossoms. Ripens in October. Developed at the New York Station, 1938.
(Limbertwig, Mountain Limbertwig, Common Limbertwig) – This is most likely the oldest of the many Limbertwigs and the best keeper of the group. The flavor improves greatly during storage. Fruit is medium in size with rough, greenish-yellow skin with a dull red blush on the sunny side. Numerous, large, brown dots visible on the skin. Ripens October to November or later.
Rhode Island Greening
(Burlington, Ganges, Green Winter Pippin) – This historic old American apple originated about 1650 at Green’s End, Newport, Rhode Island. At the end of the 19th century, it was one of New York’s most important commercial varieties, surpassed only by Baldwin. It is a vigorous and long-lived tree but does well in the South only at higher altitudes. It is an excellent winter keeper and one of the best cooking apples available. It is a very fine substitute for the more commonly known Granny Smith. The fruit is large, uniformly round in shape and flattened on the ends. The dark, waxy green skin turns a greenish-yellow when fully ripe. The fine-grained yellow flesh is tender, crisp, juicy and quite tart in flavor. Ripens September to October and keeps until February or longer.
(Boston Russet, Russet Golden, Leather Coat) – Roxbury Russet is perhaps the most popular russet apple grown in the south. It is the oldest American apple and was introduced in Roxbury, Massachusetts with the arrival of the Pilgrims. Fruit is medium to large with dull greenish-yellow skin covered with a rough brownish-yellow russet coat. The greenish-white flesh is coarse, firm and juicy with a pleasing, brisk flavor. Ripens September to October and is a very good keeper.
(Fameuse, Red American, Royal Snow) – A very old and very attractive red apple brought to America in the 1700’s by early French settlers. Beach describes Snow as one of the most desirable dessert apples of its season. It is indeed a very high quality dessert apple, but does not have the qualities of a fine cooking apple. Fruit is medium-sized with smooth greenish-yellow skin mostly covered with a deep red blush and lighter red striping. The juicy, aromatic flesh is very tender and very white. Ripens September to October and is a good keeper.
(Summer Rambo of Pennsylvania, Imperial Rambo) – This apple is of French origin and once quite popular in Maryland and Virginia. The fruit can be picked while still green for frying, pies and applesauce. The fruit can be large and is often ribbed with unequal sides. Skin is greenish yellow washed with pink and carmine on the sun exposed side. The greenish yellow flesh is coarse, tender and very juicy. Ripe August- September.
Early Fall. Fine-textured crisp flesh contains an astounding unusually complex combination of sweet nutty and spicy flavors with slight anise essence, sometimes described as cherry, vanilla or even bourbon. Truly excellent fresh eating, although it is too sweet for some palates. Round-conic bronze-red medium-sized fruit, striped and washed with rose-red. Annual bearer if thinned. Very hardy moderate-sized vigorous vase-shaped tree grows upright with willowy branches that get loaded with fruit but do not break. Grower-friendly. Reaches its best flavor and texture in northern districts. Some resistance to scab. Keeps till midwinter. Blooms mid to late season.
(Zach Red) – 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.
Originated in 1860 in Excelsior, Minnesota from the seeds of the Cherry Crab. Widely popular in the South due to its hardiness and early bearing abilities. When grown in colder areas it is a good keeper; otherwise considered a poor keeper. Skin is pale greenish-yellow with brilliant red striping. Ripens in August to September in most of the South but later in mountain areas.
Developed by Albert Etter, the California plant breeder, and named for his fellow pomologist and friend, E. J. Wickson. It is a cross of Newtown (Albemarle) Pippin and Esopus Spitzenburg, selected in 1944. Warren Manhart in his Apples for the 21st Century, argues that it is actually a cross of two offspring of these notable old apples.Whatever, it is a superb example of a class of apples that have superior taste and other characteristics, but have never ‘made it in the modern apple-growing universe. It is considered more a crab than an apple, but is very sweet, with sugar content up to 25%, which gives it the extraordinary sweet taste. The fruit will range in size from one to two inches in diameter and will bear heavily on first and second-year growth. The color is red and yellow and the fruit will hang in garlands on the tree. Wickson ripens in September. It is especially promising for cider.
Also named American Wine Sop, among many other names. Winesap was first described as a cider fruit by Dr. James Mease in Philadelphia in 1804, and in 1817, William Coxe illustrated and described it in A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees. It was known during the colonial period in Virginia, and Coxe wrote of it as popular for cider making in New Jersey. Small to medium in size and round to oblong in shape, the skin is a deep-red or maroon in color with the yellow background showing on the shaded side. Indistinct flushes and stripes of a darker red, and sometimes a netting of russet, overlay the lighter red. The yellow flesh is sweet, crisp, and aromatic, with a vinous flavor. Small, folded and oval in shape, the leaves are a medium to round and dull. The new growth bark is a dark-red with few lenticels. A dependable bearer, it produces heavy crops annually and is suitable for cooking, dessert and cider making. An exceptional keeper.
Additional apples that not heritage apples.
An apple clone developed by growers at the Tohoku Research Station in Fujisaki, Aomori, Japan, in the late 1930s, and brought to market in 1962. It originated as a cross between two American apple varieties, the Red Delicious and old Virginia Ralls Genet (sometimes cited as “Rawls Jennet”) apples.