I would appreciate any input about the best varieties of crabapples to eat and where to purchase them. I particularly like the old tart kind but would like some that are big enough to be juicy. Any that you like and where you got them?
Many folks, including me, would start by recommending Wickson. It’s widely available; one source is Trees of Antiquity.
Its breeder, Albert Etter, had a particular interest in crab crosses (in addition to his well-known interest in red-fleshed apples). Another of his excellent introductions, less well-known, is Crimson Gold. A handful of unreleased edible crab varieties survived Etter and were collected by Ram Fishman of Greenmantle Nursery. They’re sold as benchgrafts. Of these, I can particularly recommend Atalanta’s Gold.
I’m grafting a new one this year which sounds promising: Pipsqueak.
Totally agree with Wickson. It’s like no other apple I’ve tasted. High sugar, high acid, and a really interesting spicy flavor. Crimson Gold is also tasty but reminds me much more of a standard apple than a crab. These two are quite popular and have even made it to grocery stores near me.
This year I ordered a benchgraft of the Muscat de Venus off the site that @jerry posted. Etter seems to know his crabs so I’m quite eager to try them!
If you really like Wickson, I highly recommend trying Atalanta’s Gold as well. There’s still a little time before Ram stops taking orders for the season.
Muscat de Venus is interesting and tasty, but much less tart than the other two.
Please. The PC term around here is “lunchbox apple”.
Chestnut crab is a great nutty tasting crab!
I like Whitney crabs. Good for fresh eating as well as for spiced/pickled crabs
Wickson and chesnut are so good !
Speaking from my experience, Wickson is a PITA apple. It splits like crazy and rots on the tree. A lot of work has gone into the two Wickson trees I have and a 1/2" split, rotten apple isn’t worth the time and space. One became a King David and the other is now a frankentree.
Chestnuts are excellent!
Muscat de Venus has fruited 2 years, a nice, pleasant apple. One year, dry, the apple tasted like grapes, strongly. Unique.
I have some of the lunchbox apples grafted but no fruit yet.
Thanks for all the recommendations! I am ordering some trees today and trying to order some scionwood and try to give that a try too.
This sort of thing likely depends on the environment. I don’t see it at all here in coastal Northern California. It may be that it doesn’t perform well in hot, humid areas.
Heat is also not a problem for Wickson here inland. Humidity probably a different story.
I think my Red Vein crabs are delicious. Sweet, nice texture. They’re not super juicy, but they’re pretty tasty for fresh eating. They’re big enough that you can eat them just like an apple. On top of that, the tree is beautiful.
I’m grafting some Wickson this year.
I have both Wickson and Hewes, and both are spicey, sweet and reasonably juicy. Hewes (aka Virginia Crab) came from Twisted Tree Farm in NY and Wickson from Greenmantle. Be aware, from both suppliers, the trees will be healthy but quite small, and it may take a number of years for them to really develop. If time is of the essence, I’ve been pleased with Cummins Nursery in Ithaca NY. Both of these seem happy on B118 in my thin, basic, sand and clay mix.
Hopefully this is a good place to add this crabapple scion offer. I have Craven crabapple and I haven’t seen it metioned before (other than me) and I think it would be great to see another one or two people add it. Hate to see it perish. I set aside enough scions for one or two people if wanted. I’m not looking for an exchange and I will cover the shipping. If you want to send me a few scions that is ok with me but not required. The fruit is typical size with a pleasant mild tart/light sweet taste. It does tend to get a little CAR. If interested please let me know. Thanks, Bill
One order requested and one remaining.
Both orders requested and none are remaining. I plan to mail the scions today.
I just joined this forum to answer your question about the Craven crabapple. It was cultivated by my uncle Allen Craven who is now 90 years old and lives in Monticello GA. He is a very accomplished grafter, and also has a Craven family heritage corn he named - Craven Old Fashioned Field Corn, which is 99.3% genetically pure. It is registered with the USDA. The Tifton GA branch is working with it for shorter stalks and increased yield. In its non GMO form it grows as high as 20’ tall and the cobbs are 12”long.
Here is photo of him and his Craven Crabapple.
Very interesting. I’m adding ‘Craven’ this year… thanks to @Lucky_P.