Apples 2017

I wasn’t as good about logging stuff this year, the deer got me down. I had some really great apples which I didn’t bother to label when I picked them so I don’t know what they were… ah well, there is always next year! I am already making plans for better deer control.

Early Joe - A nice early aromatic apple, small but good.
State Fair - An early fruity apple, also good
American Summer Pearmain - Has that unusual “creamy” apple flavor like e.g. Rambour d’Automne etc. Is not setting well though. Also not sure its that interesting flavor-wise. Remove.
Cherryville Black - A nice nutty-flavored early apple with few problems. Small.
Golden Nugget - My new tree is finally producing. This is a fantastic early russet, it has few problems other than perhaps a little water core. Tastes very similar to later russets but fruits look a lot better!
Zestar - These need to hang a long time and they are super-fruit-candy flavored. Not my favorite flavor profile but awesome to some people. Prone to rots.
Jefferis - Had set a lot last year so only got a couple this year. It is a good early apple but too prone to mealiness.
Adams Pearmain - A very tasty nutty apple. Too many rot problems but its unique so I am keeping for now.
Steeles Red - a milder version of Wagener, probably take it out.
Wagener - fruity like Zestar but more depth and creaminess in the flavor — keeper. Lots of problems with skin though.
Fall Pippin - Green when ripe apple. Decent eating and supposedly excellent cooking. Apples are flawless, no rots or anything on them. I don’t hear of many people growing this old classic, not sure why.
De l’Estre - sort of like Blenheim in taste but not as flavorful, less sweet, and going mealy. All-yellow and huge. Remove.
Reinette du Mans - I need to remove this one finally, its again rotting in a ridiculous way.
Blenheim Orange - Gosh this is a good apple! More!! It has a rich unique flavor. One thing good about it is you can pick it over a month or so and they are all good, the flavor just evolves. Few disease problems as well. I expect the unusual skin is the only reason its not more popular, it has a teeny weeny bit of russet and is not shiny at all. Non-shiny non-russet is very unpopular now; Cherryville Black has the same problem.
Reine des Reinettes - A fantastic aromatic apple and my new graft is more vigorous and making bigger and better fruits. A must-have! For eating either store or pick late. Not so many rot problems.
Gilpin - I had a too-early one that was bland. Seems like it could be a good sweet, it had few sours in it.
Pomme Gris - Only a few this year as its getting biennial. It was OK.
Reinette Gris Santoinge - A nice solid russet apple, not dry this year, tastes like Roxbury etc. Main plus is uniformly large sized fruits.
Swayzie - Finally getting fruit again on this great variety. It is showing the greatness I remember, a notch up from Pomme Gris.
Smokehouse - This apples main claim to fame for me is it produces a great load of nearly blemish-free apples every year. As an apple its a very nice apple as well. No anise or cinnamon or apricot or grape any of those “fancy” flavors, just a lot of apple in there.
Lamb Abbey Pearmain - A fine apple, something like Smokehouse but smaller. Nothing super great in the larger scheme of things.
Lady Sweet - Rich flavor in an apple with no sours at all. Definitely not for everyone though.
Clochard - Yet again lots of rots, yet again extraordinary flavor. This one I will just put up with the rots on, its uniquely rich.
Calville Blanc d’Hiver - got my first one of these, it rots really badly so probably should remove. I have plenty of other great cooking apples. It gets a year or two more though.
Bonne Hotture - I let this tree overset. Still producing nice apples, more sweet than anything else though. Deer took most of them.
Summer Queen - I harvested too late and it was boring. Not sure worth keeping.
Hooples - Deer got most but a few truly excellent ones.
Shizuka - This is just a big Golden Delicious, not too exciting. But super productive and reliable.
Swiss Orange - Excellent taste similar to Rubinette but far too much rotting. Very hard flesh. Probably get rid of it.
Spigold - Rotting too much but besides that it is excellent. Has that signature Northern Spy taste (grape-like to me) which is fantastic, not the strongest flavor but unique, very fruity and well-balanced. I am going to keep this tree in spite of the rot problems.
Oliver - This apple shows real potential, I only got a couple but they were showing great promise. Seems like it could be a great keeper and also good for cider - it has tannins and is more in the sub-acid range of acidity. Needs cellaring.
Magnum Bonum - Deer got nearly all but the few I had were very good. Its a rich savory apple, nice and crispy; skin a little too thick.
Wickson’s Son (my name for an unknown crab I got mislabeled) - Like Wickson but smaller and not cracking or rotting, also a lot more tannin. This is probably the best tannic apple I can grow, need to propagate more of it. Too sour to add a lot to cider mix but has enough tannins to make it worth adding.
Suncrisp - Wow, awesome again. GD on steroids.
Apricot - Finally got a few fully ripened ones with the apricot flavor, very nice and unique. Hardness and texture is very similar to GoldRush. Tree is too weak, it needs a better spot. This apple needs some aging. One of my more promising apples this year.
GoldRush - my tree is a nearly completely alternate bearing pattern and it only had a dozen or so this year. Some were really good but some others were not so exciting, not sure why. Maybe I picked them a bit too early, I did a lot of that this year due to the deer.
Mutsu - having to pick these too early to get some from deer. They are not as flavorful as usual because of that.
Weisser Wintertaffetapfel - Nicely balanced but mild flavor. Had some watercore. Sort of like Wickson but without all the apricot etc flavors, and less acidic. Seems worth keeping a bit more due to its original taste not like others.
White Winter Pearmain - These are similar to Mutsu (and, they are related). This year the WWP were better, tasting more like a good Mutsu than Mutsu did.
Yates - I had to pick a bit early due to a hard frost coming but this looks to be an excellent cider apple - good tannins and not too sour, plus nice rich flavor. I am cellaring most of these for a few months.


Happy to read your positive review of Golden Nugget, my two year old grafts have made a few flower buds which will hopefully lead to some fruit to sample next year. Can you comment on the size?

How big of an area do you have?
I used a deer netting from Hoover’s Fence. Believe mine is 2" squares.
Comes in rolls and varying hieghts. I used 300’ ft rolls one was 6’ height the othe 4’
for the poles I used whats called top rail got it fron a local fence supply comes in 20’ lenghts but they will cut
it for you $9 each. Can also nail it directly onto border trees

Thank you for the review. My Suncrisp grafted on B9 got bitten off by something. I hope the graft still has a bud or two left.

Based on what I tried at Cornell store, Shizuka tasted like a low quality Golden Delicious. Mutzu was very good. So I bought the latter and skipped the former.

Glad to see you like Bonne Hotture. I grafted it this year.

When I think I’ve grafted enough varieties, your post makes me want some more (again) :smile:

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@scottfsmith: Scott- Fall Pippin was one of my worst blight magnets year after year at my old farm. It was a mess and I eventually gave up on it. You’re doing something right to avoid blight.

I agree about Suncrisp it’s great. I got about eight or ten this Year on a three year old tree. It’s a fast grower and can’t wait for a full fruited tree.

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Really a great report as always. Thank you for taking your time to organize so many varietal evaluations.

I think a clearer description of Suncrisp would be possible. I believe it has flavor notes entirely different than GD- even if you put it on steroids. I hate to use the cliche that Suncrisp has a subtle anise flavor in the mix, especially because I’ve complained about the overwhelming anise dominance in a tree ripe Sweet 16, but however you describe it, Suncrisp has a unique flavor. Also certainly more acidic than GD.

Here it is not as reliably annual as GD.

No mention of Goldrush? I know you said it was somewhat disappointing this year- I also found it to be a step below the usual wow, but still my staple apple. I am giving away bushels to any customers that had a disappointing crop or only a beginning orchard.

Its about like Roxbury … bigger than Golden Russet for me.

Thats what I meant to say, it tasted like a watered-down version.

Oops I left it off. I probably left off some others as well, in fact I just noticed Smokehouse is missing. Some of the GoldRush were really good and some were low on flavor. I just added them in.

I made a long description of Suncrisp some other year, if I already waxed at length about some variety it may have a terse description above.

Scott- did you eat any Hunge this year? Steve

Yes, I did get a couple (another I left off). The deer were all over them so any lower one was picked early. They are not as good early. But I did get a few later higher ones which were excellent. All were nearly blemish-free, a true southern apple.

I am curious what other people think of this apple, it is very unusual in texture and flavor. I like it a lot but it might not be for everyone.

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I was just eating another that I left off … Rambour d’Hiver. This is another one of my late favorites: super tasty reliable and productive. I think Red Delicious is related to this apple, it has a similar shape color and taste. Brix was 19. I got more rots in storage than usual due to more moths than usual in them. The d’Hiver means its a winter apple; they are much better after storage. This year they got some watercore, something they never had before. In general the hot fall changed how a lot of apples came out.

My Adam’s Pearmain show’s very weak growth, especially on G41. How does your’s grow?

It’s strange how the deer go after you apples while in my orchard they go after foliage, leave the fruit alone and only browse low- for the last few years, anyway.

I have Hunge to be delivered soon…I’m in Texas so looking forward to a Southern apple! Glad to hear someone else that has it and says its good.


The tree has been growing fine. It has not been very productive however. It is finally starting to set six years in.

Scott, I thought you got rid of your Smokehouse apple back in 2012?
I was looking at trying this one out but since you said you took it out I held off getting one. No one else I know of has one to ask about how well they tasted or how well they held off diseases.

For me, Smokehouse produces fruit that fall in the middle of the pack in terms of pest resistance, but does seem pretty disease resistant(scab). Some what precocious, semi tip-bearing, grows inot a nicely shaped tree Good fresh eating, multi purpose fruit-keeper.


White Oak Farm has a “newer” version of Smokehouse with less disease issues. I may look into that one as well. See what the differences are if I plant both.

It sounds like one I should try. Scab seems to be the big issue where I am with most apples. I am trying to figure out what apples do well without a lot of scab problems. I think I will have the same bug issue with any apple I try and grow.
When does yours ripen? I see you are in zone 5. I am in zone 5B or 6, depends on what map you look at. I get some really cold weather here so I tend to make it the zone 5 in anything I buy.

Smokehouse may be a good apple further south, but it is only average here and quickly turns to mush on the tree if not picked promptly, so I doubt it stays crisp in storage. It is an ugly grower, with very little apical dominance so probably is easier to maintain as a open center tree. Really gets a lot of sooty blotch build-up as well, even for a late apple.