Good pie apples for mid Atlantic

OK, what are some good pie apples, and maybe good sauce applesauce for my location in Central Maryland?



I can’t hold a candle to those august names but Baldwin.

Goldrush holds up well in a pie, easy to grow for me here on Eastern Shore Maryland. Might not be the best choice if you have lots of nearby Red Cedar trees but some people risk it even in that situation.

If you want to try an old heirloom, my research notes contain raves from maybe Burford or Calhoun about Hunge for applesauce. Mine has not fruited yet. Liberty, Boskoop are two others.

The Golden Delicious school all make good pies, they don’t get too mushy and taste great. GoldRush, GD, Suncrisp, Hooples, Mutsu, etc. Also the Jonathan school are great, but I have less experience with those.

For sauce I don’t really keep track, I use any flavorful apple for sauce. I like a mix, it makes a mostly smooth sauce but with a few chunks from the more firm varieties.

1 Like

Liberty makes great applesauce with just apples, cinnamon, and maybe a touch of lemon and/or lemon peel- it cooks down plenty sweet enough with no added sugar.

I like Libs for pies, too.


I use Northern Spy for pies. In a previous life i was a professional baker at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI. We always tried to get as many spies while they were in season as we could. I currently have one Northern Spy tree in my orchard. Around here we say “Spies for pies til the Forth of July”

By far the best applesauce I have had is Williams Pride. I don’t add sugar, cinnamon or anything.


N. Spy is excellent here, not far from its origin, but does it do well in hot, humid climates?

1 Like

From what I understand, it does not.

I am only guessing but I would imagine Spy is not a great warm weather apple.
It looks like the OP is in zone 7a. I am not sure how warm that is. Wondering if anyone else in that zone does well with Spies or not.

I have read that Spy is not a good warm weather apple but I never tried it myself. I find Spigold has the similar taste profile and it does well for me - some rot but I can put up with it. Thats yet another Golden Delicious apple that I should have put on my list above.

Hey @ribs1 thats cool that you worked at Zingermans. You didn’t really visit Ann Arbor if you didn’t go there. My wife was in school at Michigan 35 years ago, maybe you were baking when we were there…

Hi Scott,
I was the Bakery manager from about 1995-2004.
Also, the Bakery didn’t open until 1992. (deli opened in 1982)
Go Blue

MonArk makes a good pie.
I know nothing about applesauce that didn’t come out of a jar.

1 Like

Baldwin has always been the apple of choice for pies in my family and I’ve personally never found any I liked better - although I’ll admit any apple pie is better than no apple pie. We always grew one at a family cabin in the NW corner of CT, just for the pies and cut around all the worms, etc. from not spraying. Since it is usually biannual, every local orchard had phased them out so it was the only choice.

I don’t think it would work here in Arlington VA, but it might be worth a try where you are if you are a bit colder.

1 Like

I have a Northern Spy apple tree. It has produced apples for the last two years. Not a lot of apples so far but the ones I got were very,very good. It is hot and humid in the summer time here in SW Ohio so it does well in this type of climate.They do not get really red until they are close to being ripe. They made it through 100+ temps and 90%+ humidity for about three weeks this year.

1 Like

Good info, but Dayton/Cincy hot isn’t quite the same as Baltimore/DC hot.

I thought it was similar growing up in Indianapolis, but when I moved to Baltimore I saw there was a new level of hot here!

I sort of wished I had at least tried Northern Spy at some point, all the comments about it not liking the heat scared me off from even experimenting. At this point I have a big Spigold which has satisfied my Spy cravings, and I have Spy parent Wagener for icing on the Spy cake.

1 Like

Scott, at least when it comes to fruit, I feel like we have to think of our region as basically a “high-chill Southern” climate, because we have all the heat and humidity of the deep South, but we still have plenty of chill hours in the winter.

1 Like

Maybe you need to move your thermometer to the shade…MikeC
What date in 2018 did it get to 100 degrees…I know the heat index did…but that’s a different apple.

I grew a standard Northern Spy at my old farm. Took forever and a day to fruit- well beyond ten years. Fruit was nothing special plus got bad fireblight so grafted it to something else. I’ve eaten NS grown in Michigan and mine did not compare.

1 Like

I cannot comment about that. I just know wanted to mention what I experienced. I would say your area is probably more liken to a true Southern apple area. Lee Caulhoun book would be a great help to pick some out.