Right, Hooples Antique Gold. I love it!
Heaven is a perfectly ripened: Karmijn de Sonnaville, Newtown Pippin, Esopus Spitzenberg, Ashmead’s Kernal.
Second tiers include: Black Twig, Discovery, Holstein, Smokehouse, I am looking forward to trying GoldRush, Erwin Bauer, Red Berlepsch. So many more to try…
agree with you two. Crabapples are flavorful, but also lack the overt aromas of many popular apples which i find cloying. Crabapples may be smaller, but could eat them in much larger amounts(in weight), and almost everyday, whereas i could only eat one or two honeycrisps and immediately done for the day.
or a week, even.
Since I like so many of your favorites, I now want to try Smokehouse, and Discovery. One description I have found for this type of very flavorful apple is an apple that is used for cider AND fresh eating. Warren Marnhart called them “Highly flavored apples” in his Apples for the 21st Century.
My absolute favorite apple to eat out of hand is Wickson, usually considered a crab. It is like all the flavor, sugar, and acid of a full sized good apple got packed into a little package, plus a mysterious extra fruity taste that is hard to pin down. Great addition for cider too. I’ve not picked them myself but my cider making partner Ben goes and gets them at Poverty Lane orchard in NH every year. He doesn’t always succeed in bringing them home, so I take it the trees tend toward biennial bearing or get nipped by late frost or something. Ben also reports their small size makes them a pain in the ass to pick as far as volume/time goes. But dang, they will knock your socks off in the flavor department.
Being a “crab” one would expect Wickson to be somewhat less trouble to grow. It is reported to have relatively high vigor. Can’t comment on other issues, but of my 7 varieties on my city lot, Wickson got hit worst last year by CAR. This year is a lot better; may be due to a dryer spring or because I’m spraying Michael Philips’ organic brew on them. Still, there is a section of new growth where I can see the CAR spots developing. Not clear at this point if the amount of CAR I’m seeing would really impact tree growth or fruit production (this is only it’s second season). Here is my baby Wickson this spring, with tulips and muscari in front of it.
I also love Ashmead’s Kernel, Golden Russet, Spitzenburg, Cox Orange Pippin, Roxbury Russet. Cox is weakly growing and not great for disease, Golden Russet is supposedly tip bearing so I didn’t plant it for espalier. Honeycrisp is of course a great apple and I like it a lot, but I think there are better apples. Of varieties you can buy at the grocery store, I think Cripps Pink/Pink Lady is good.
I second HollyGates recommendation of Wickson. People think the tiny apple I give them is a joke until they bite into it. It will grow absolutely anywhere, this is an “off” season in this photo (the tree is usually dripping with them).
Wickson makes fantastic cider, both sweet and hard.
There is a local orchard here growing blocks of Golden Russet. Each year, the trees are loaded all over with gorgeous apples, not just on the tips. They taste great sliced for the table in October. Sweet antique flavor akin to Roxbury Russet but with an added touch of zippy effervescense.
Matt, I would really like to grow Golden Russet but keep reading the variety is a fire blight magnet and thus my reluctance. That orchard must have learned to control the fb.
Hey Matt I think I know the place … I have picked apples there before.
I have been growing Wickson for about ten years now. I agree its really unique, to me a good one has a touch of apricot essence in it. The flesh is clear-ish which is unusual. I have problems with it cracking some years, and I have to put a hornet trap up or the hornets will eat all of the fruit. Literally - its amazing how destructive a pack of hornets can be. Its highly prone to CAR and will rot if rainy around harvest time. It also gets very heavy sooty blotch. Overall its not the easiest grower for me but its still well worth having for the unique flavor.
Distillery Lane in Jefferson (near Burkittsville). What a great place to visit. The owner is super friendly too.
Yes, I’ve heard the same thing. Distillery Lane grows a lot of their apples on dwarf Geneva stocks from Cummins, which might be helping them curb fireblight.
Early - GingerGold
Midseason - Kidds Orange Red
Late - Golden Russet
As a well known (and self described) Honeycrisp lover, I couldn’t agree with you more. My only significant complaint (and I’d be in a admittedly huge minority here) is their size. To me, their largest fault is that they are too big. I’m a fan of smaller apples too for the reasons you mentioned and more. I’m trying for the second time to limit the size of my HC, but just today I had to remove (actually my wife did) another 100 apples because when left with a lot they don’t want to size up at all, when left with a few less they want to be softball size.
I too like the idea of a smaller (ish) snack type apple. A nice lunchbox size.
I think Goldrush is about just right, but even those would be just fine if a bit smaller.
BTW…I’ve seen smaller HC and for the life of me I don’t know how they accomplish it in a commercial setting.
Gingergold can be super-duper, and really has a unique flavor that I really like. I’ve had some that were blah too, but of course you could have that with almost any apple.
So Alan, do you recommend September Fuji? How would you rate it compared to other suitable home orchard apples of the same season?
I’ve never had these (wasn’t even aware of them really), but the regular store bought Fuji I’ve had have mostly been those of washed out flavor (most always acceptable texture though), but I have had some very good ones. IMO a sweet very uncomplicated apple. My wife likes them better than me.
Applenut, that photo and your endorsement along with other’s is more than enough to warrant placing Wickson on my short list of varieties to include on my frankentree. Can you describe the flavor? I’m guessing tart with perhaps some astringency? Any notable sugar at all?
I’d like to see one with something whose size is well known for comparison…a coin or something similar
Raintree sells an apple called Beni Shogun that they advertise as an early ripening fuji. They say it ripens a month ahead of fuji. Would this be the same as your September fuji?
I saw this quote from Salt Spring Apple company and I couldn’t agree more. In a desert apple texture is as important to me as flavor.
The story of Beni Shogun:
While there’s plenty of difference of opinion between those who love sweet apples and those whose tastes run more to tart varieties, there’s less difference of opinion these days on the matter of texture. Our impression is that a large majority of apple fans choose crisp over soft ten times out of ten.
If you haven’t seen it already, check out Adam Apples blog (link here is to his review of Wickson):
He has detailed tasting notes on many many apples which I find I mostly agree with, though his ability to describe tastes far exceeds mine and he has tasted and reviewed many apples I’ve never encountered.
As far as sugar goes, Wickson has it in abundance; a few sources say it has 25% sugar.
The comments from Scott and my own short experience with CAR have me thinking hard about my dedication to wanting growing it, but it’s difficult to let it go in favor of something easier!
Appleseed70, here’s a typical Wickson size. The ones I taste here in Riverside, CA are a bit different than the ones I tasted in New England. In NH, they were very tart, but flavorful; here in Cali they are rich, sweet, very spicy, very “appely”. Lots of juice, nice texture, perhaps the west’s answer to Hewe’s Crab.
Its interesting how different those Wicksons look compared to mine. Mine never yellow up like that, and they have only streaks of red. I would not call them rich or spicy either. Still a great apple, but different.