Evaluating Winesap types

They were labeled as Stayman’s. I only had one apple and it appeared to be correct although I picked it early.

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Today we went to a local orchard and picked some apples. They had winesap, fuji, jonagold, and empire. The winesap was a spitter. Terrible out of hand. We mainly picked Fuji but the jonagold was good too. Empire was nothing special.


You are past Empires season and Winesap is better out of storage, but if you mostly like high sugar-low acid apples like Fuji then you would probably never like it.

Yeah I figured. Flavor was damn near caustic right off the tree. Skin was really tough too. As for Fuji. Its not a favorite of mine. I actually prefer an apple with a fair amount of acidity. Like Cripps Pink. Fuji just happened to be in season at this orchard. My wife and kids like Fuji a lot.


I picked another Winesap today and it was better flavored than last weeks so I’ll wait another week to see how they are.


Has anyone had an apple pie made of Staymans? My aunts were making a pie the other week and bemoaning the fact they couldn’t find Staymans at the store these days because they thought they made the best apple pie. I might plant one if they are as good as my aunts say.

Today, I had a fantastic Stayman apple- just perfect, juicy and flavorful.

Baugher’s Farm Market on West Main Street in Westminster has the BEST Staymans. NOW is the time to eat them; they are at their peak. Eat them chilled. This apple was HUGE- filled my hand like a softball. It took me half an hour to eat it, and I enjoyed every minute.



I ate my first really good Stayman today as well, from a graft on my own tree. Looked a lot like that one, so yours must be old-strain. The newer ones are solid red and don’t taste so good, IMO. I actually like the way the old ones look better too- so much more interesting than solid dark red. Very similar to Baldwin in looks, density and taste but a tad sweeter. Old-timey apple taste.

You should grow it, unlike Baldwin, it does very well down there.

I agree.

I am not crazy about the way my Winesap tasted. Solid red, not a large apple.


I meant to say I ate my first really good Stayman today- had a brain fart because they are often called Stayman Winesap. I will now correct the post.

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Stayman was one of my favorite apples to buy at Baughers. Many years ago we would drive out there every fall and load up. I think their Empires were also really good if memory serves.

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Stayman is one of my favorite apples and it grows pretty well here except for the tendency to crack when it rains a lot. I used NovaGib this year to control the splits and it worked very well.

I also grow Old Fashion Winesap and Virginia Winesaps as described by Lee Calhoon. The Va Winesaps ripen about the same time as Stayman but the apples are small. The OFW are later and ripen with Goldrush. These apples are large and the trees are productive. OFW seems to have some resistance to Bitter Rot and other summer rots and grows better than most apples here in central NC.

The winesap apple growers in Virginia I spoke with did not make the distinction between the two different Winesap types. It was just “Winesap”

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@blueberrythrill, is cracking a problem on old fashioned winesap too, or just stayman?

No problem with OFW. Just cracking problems with Stayman and Goldrush .

NovaGibb stops the cracking on Stayman with just a couple of sprays

I’ve grafted and planted lots of apple varieties, mostly heirlooms. I have 1 each of everything, except for Stayman, which I so far have 3 trees of. They’re not producing enough to satisfy our appetite (yet), so we typically buy multiple bushels of them per year. We’re lucky to have a few small produce stores who source them from commercial orchards where they’re consistent and excellent. I asked one of the owners and he indicated they got them from Orr’s in West Virginia.

In 2019 I got a grand total of 2 apples from one of the trees, both excellent, 1 was cracked. Last year I got a total of 30 apples across the 3 trees and again about half of them were cracked. Would make it hard to sell them but for personal consumption, it didn’t seem to hurt them. We did eat them first and didn’t try to store them long term though. I’m wondering if NovaGib is priced only for the professional or attainable by the home orchardist? (or otherwise restricted).

I sometimes see folks refer to “Winesap” and they really mean “Stayman” (or “Staymsn’s Winesap”). Not always of course, but at least some of the time. I’ve tried OFW and perhaps a few other varieties, none have really come close though. I may discover a new favorite in all the varieties I have growing, but for now Stayman is what I pull out of the fridge and eat primarily. Speaking of such, it’s late March right now and I still have 20 or 30 in a spare fridge in the basement. They’re pretty much as good as they were in October/November.

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I’m getting a few old strain winesap for the first time. This is a really good apple in my yard. Maybe not quite as good as goldrush, but very good. It has extremely clean and healthy looking foliage and I did not spray for disease. I only had about a dozen apples, but I usually see at least some bitter rot on other varieties, but none on OFW. Bitter rot is BAD here. I’ve read that it’s more of a cooking apple, but in my yard it’s definitely a fresh eater. Good sweet tart balance. I don’t have brix numbers to share. I grew them in zip lock bags with the bottoms cut off. The branches are thick and vigorous. I got the scion wood from Horne Creek Farm. It’s a late bloomer so I’m guessing it’s higher chill and maybe would be a problem in a warm winter. Last winter had around 900 chill hrs with no major problems. Late bloom could also be bad for fireblight but I sprayed strep this year. Harvest was second half of oct and would be a little later if not using bags.


If you do not spray the Winesaps around me they get horrible with bug stings and diseases. Not worth salvaging the fruit. My neighbior had three Winesap trees and he moved. They were not sprayed this year and the fruit was horrible.

Wonder if that could be Old Fashion Winesap?

Mentioned in Calhoon’s book as located in Alamance County, NC. I believe he provided a lot of the trees at Horne Creek Farm so perhaps it’s OFW.

We grow and love OFW here too. It is not well known even in central Virginia where Winesap used to be a very big commercial apple. OFW is much later and larger than a traditional Winesap. When I asked Tom Burford about OFW a long time ago he did not know much about it either.

Sometimes Stayman Winesap is sold as Winesap and is much larger than what is sold as Winesap by Adams County Nursery. If your OFW is a different apple than Stayman, I’m very interested in it- Stayman is good, but not a favorite to me. OFW may be a variety grown here in NY that I haven’t properly identified- I manage several orchards with apple trees over a century old. If you have any vigorous one year wood you could share with me, I’d be interested. I might have something you would like to try, like King David, which is the most flavorful Winesap type I grow, or even Whitcomb crab which is a tiny version of an apple I consider Winesap type in flavor. .

It’s definitely old fashioned winesap. That’s what Horne Creek called it and like you said, they picked up many of Calhoun’s varieties. I’d like a whole big tree of it asap. And the resistance to bitter rot is a huge plus around here. I think I remember you posting that you tried not spraying for summer rots and thought ofw could perform well without it. Is that working out, or is it not as resistant as it appears? If I don’t spray or bag I’d lose 95% to bitter rot except for maybe Yates and it seems possibly ofw (?). I don’t mind spraying once in a while but the more help I can get from the tree the better.