Greatest variety hits

It is cold here and I am thinking longingly about all my favorite fruit varieties. Here is a list of a few “greatest hits” from my orchard that I am really glad I have growing. Feel free to follow up with your own orchard greatest hits.


I made a bunch of apple categories, part of the joy of apples is the variety in the flavors and I really appreciate having some of each type.

Apple, aromatic: Suncrisp, Hoople’s Antique Gold.
Apple, sweet/sour: Rubinette. GoldRush and Pitmaston Pineapple are also great sweet/sour apples.
Apple, sweet: Kidds Orange Red.
Apple, nutty: Swayzie or Pomme Gris.
Apple, grape-like: Wagener. You know a grape-like apple when you eat one. SpiGold and Northern Spy are other grape-tasting apples but they rot too much for me.
Apple, cooking: Blenheim Orange, Reine des Reinettes. These apples are also excellent eating.
Apple, early: Ginger Gold, Pristine.
Apple, cider: Harrison.
Pear, Asian: Kosui.
Pear, Euro: Fondante des Moulins-Lille.
Quince: None, too many fireblight problems. I am trying a few supposedly resistant ones now.
Medlar: See quince.


Peach, yellow/orange: Red Baron. I don’t have a strong winner here, there are many peaches which are very tasty. Some other really good ones include Rio Oso Gem, Kit Donnell, and Baby Crawford. These are all somewhat later, the earlier ones are often in more rainy weather so are not as consistent from year to year.
Peach, white: Nectar, Xin Dai Jiu Bao. If brown rot is not so bad for you, Silver Logan is like Nectar but bigger.
Peach, yellow: Yellow St. John. By yellow peach I mean honestly yellow, not the usual yellow-orange. There are not many yellow peaches and the flavor is different.
Peach, red: Sanguine Tardeva. This peach tastes similar to Indian Free but is earlier and less prone to rot.
Peach, honey: Athena. Or Pallas but it is more prone to rot.
Peach, early: Gold Dust. This peach is not super-early, just early. It tastes as good as a regular-season peach.
Nectarine: Sunglo. I have grown about a dozen nectarines, many rot and crack. There are still plenty of good ones but Sunglo has been a notch above. I have grown no white or red nectarines until recently so no greatest hits there.
Apricot: Ilona. There are many good apricots, Florilege, OrangeRed, Tomcot, etc.
Apricot, white: I don’t have a favorite here now, none are reliable enough (yet). Shalah may be the most tasty.
Plum, Asian: Satsuma, Laroda.
Plum, Euro: Golden Transparent Gage, French Petite.
Pluot: None so far, but I am trying Flavor King again. It is excellent tasting but prone to rot. Now that I am spraying a synthetic I may be able to grow it.
Cherry-Plum: None. Nadia was the best I tried but it does not ripen well. Too bad as it is fun to have a plum with a bit of cherry taste.
Cherry, sweet white: White Gold. It is not super productive but is otherwise excellent.
Cherry, sweet red: I don’t have a strong favorite here yet. I had a Black Gold which was great but I had to take it out and I later replaced it with a so-called Black Gold which was small-fruited and low flavor. So not sure what is going on there. Right now Regina is my favorite red sweet cherry, it is tasty, reliable, and productive.
Cherry, sour: Montmorency.
Cherry, bush: I am still waiting for my bushes to mature. It is not clear they will be worth growing in my climate but so far they are doing OK and I got a couple tasty fruits from them.

Other tree

Mulberry: Kokuso. Illinois Everbearing is a bit tastier but I need one ripening close together so I can get some before the birds show up.
Pawpaw: Maria’s Joy. And any of the Peterson pawpaws or Overleese is nearly as good.
Persimmon, PCNA: 20th Century. All these are relatively similar to me.
Persimmon, PCA: I don’t have a true “greatest hit” here yet. Hachiya was awesome but it is borderline hardy and I lost my tree a few years ago. There are many ones coming close but no replacement for it yet.
Persimmon, PVNA: Chocolate. This is also my favorite persimmon overall.
Fig: Celeste. I am getting out of the fig business, they are dying back too much and I don’t feel like growing potted figs.
Jujube: So far none. I am still trying to get them to reliably fruit. Honey Jar is my favorite for taste.
Pomegranate: None. I am probably going to be out of the pomegranate business soon. Too much dieback in my climate, only a couple fruits after ten years of growing.


Blueberry: Northern high bush types. The other types don’t get as sweet for me.
Raspberry: Josephine. This berry has a unique flavor and I absolutely love it.
Blackberry: Triple Crown, Osage, or Galaxy. All of these thornless ones are similar to me. They are not as tasty as the trailing berries but none of the trailing ones survive my heat.
Currant, red: Red Lake. This old variety has very small berries, but it has been much more reliable in my climate. I have 15-year old bushes still going strong while all my other reds died many years ago.
Currant, black: Minaj Smyriou. Like Red Lake this is the only one not dead in my heat, and it also is my favorite for taste.
Gooseberry: Poorman. It is not so productive, but like the currents this is the only one left standing. They are also the most tasty one for me.
Strawberry: Mara des Bois.


Grapes, vinifera hybrid: Swenson Red. I pulled my Swenson Red a few years ago since my family was not into seeded grapes, but it was quite a bit better in terms of production and taste compared to any of the seedless ones (so far). I am hoping some of the newer Arkansas seedless grapes end up producing well but so far they are not reliable for me.
Grapes, muscadine: Black Beauty and Supreme, and Ison for pollen.
Kiwi: Any chinensis (yellow fuzzy). The yellow fuzzy kiwis have the best flavor to me; they are not hardy in much colder climates and you need a long season for them.


Filbert/Hazelnut: Yamhill, Theta. These nuts are a little on the small side but they look to be blight-immune and they are not rotting. Santiam is a bad rotter.

BTW thanks @dimitri_7a for your list in Home Orchard Starter Pack?, I started with those categories. This is sort of like your list but not with any attempt at generality, it is just what I like growing in my own orchard.


Well my list is pretty “meager” compared to yours Scott :grin:but Myer’s Royal Limbertwig and King of Pippins were my best eating apples last fall. Red Royal Limbertwig, Hubbardson’s Nonesuch, Laxton’s Fortune and Pixie Crunch were also very good eaters.


In my greenhouse in dry west Texas with a climate similar to the central valleys of CA.

Nectarine, yellow: DWN Honey series including Fire, Lite, Blaze, Royale, and Diva are the best fruits I’ve grown or eaten both fresh and dried. They are best at 24-28 brix

Nectarine, white: DWN Arctic series nectarines. Not as good as the yellows but still very tasty above 20-24 brix

Peaches: Valley Sweet and Sweet Dream. Both fresh and dried these taste a lot like the Honey series nectarines provided the brix is high enough

Apricots/aprium: Tasty Rich, Tomcot, Robada, Orangered, and Summer Delight

Pluots: Flavor Supreme, Geo Pride, Flavor King, Honey Punch, Flavor Treat. These are all better than any plum I’ve tried except Emerald Beaut

Plum: Emerald Beaut reaches 24 brix and above

Grapes: Summer Royale for size and production with good quality, Summer Muscat for taste

Mulberry: Morus Nigra

Blueberry: Sweetcrisp by far for both firmness and sweetness up to 26 brix

Sweetcherries: Hard to beat Bing

Pears: Comice, Bosc, and Korean Giant

Figs: Black Madeira, Craven’s Craving. Preto, Black Tuscan, I-258, Socorro Black, Bourjasotte Grise, Calderona, Maltese Beauty, Battaglia Green, Paradiso, Galicia Negra, and many I’m forgetting or haven’t grown at least three yrs

Apple: Goldrush and Pink Lady


Steven, are you able to get your brix levels on these two peach varieties as high as you do on your yellow nectarines?

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No I can not. But they are good even at 16-18 brix. Better in the low 20s. I dried some this yr that were teens brix and the dried fruit is delicious.

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I have much to strive for with what I am reading in here :blush: I hope to have a few hits in the next few years myself :+1: Lots of great variety and ideas for me!


Wow I wish I could get near that! I haven’t gotten many Sweetcrisp but the few so far have been no sweeter than my highbush types. I do like how they are firm though.

Great list Scott. I am eager to try a red fleshed peach, but really late peaches have been a struggle so far. O’Henry (+36), Fat Lady (+40), and Big George (+50) have not done well. I can’t seem to get them to ripen before the cold sets in. My one year old Rio Oso Gem (+30) produced three peaches last year, and I got to sample one of them. It was really good - a definite keeper - so this is officially my latest sucessful variety.
I planted Indian Free the year before last and expect that I will get a few peaches off of it this year. However, I’m a little pessimistic that they will ripen properly given my experience with other varieties that ripen this late.
An earlier ripening alternative like Sanguine Tardeva is intriguing (sounds like +15 maybe?). Is there a source for a tree or scion of this variety?

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Several people here have it, put in a request in the exchange category. I can probably get it to you if nobody else is offering. +15 sounds in the right ballpark…


Awesome. Thanks for the advice!

Is there a reliable mail order source for Sweetcrisp?

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I really like Satsuma and Superior for plums…both do well here.

Flavor King is my favorite tasting of all the stonefruit i’ve grown/tried…

Peaches/nectarines are a fail in my climate but i continue to try.


Great lists. Nice information to look up to add for the upcoming season.

Is Maria’s Gold pawpaw the same as Maria’s Joy? I’m only seeing Joy listed for sale

Oops right… It’s Maria’s Joy and Rebeccas Gold.

Not that I know of. Probably best to stay away from Florida Hill Nursery. There are some listed on Amazon right now but that’s a crap shoot. This variety should be more widely available. It’s that good IME. But if Scott’s experience is correct maybe it doesn’t do that well in other climates.

@Bradybb is growing sweet crisp with success in the PNW. I got a few plants thanks to his recommendation.

Heres a few Sweetcrisp sources not eBay or Amazon, no idea if they are good or not though:

Bill Moore & Co. (bulk only?)

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Still too soon for me to pick favorites as most of my trees aren’t in full production mode, or even started yet. Most of my trees are coming up on their 5th leaf, a few on 4th, and my three pluots, 3rd leaf.

Of my apples that gave a smattering of fruit last year, my favorite was Suncrisp, followed by Grimes Golden and Alkmene.

No peaches or pluots, and only one pear tree produced anything. The pears were gritty and not real sweet, still don’t know what variety it is.

My berries have produced some already. Flavor wise, best strawberry is Earliglow, but not a long harvest, and berries are small.

Best flavored blackberry is Triple Crown, has almost a grape flavor, followed by Osage.

Hard to say with raspberries and gooseberries, as plants are still getting established. But best rasp is Fall Gold, and then maybe Caroline. Prelude is the most prolific, but a bit too tart.

No bush cherries yet, either. I have Juliet and Romeo.


Sweetcrisp is also available from Just Fruits and Exotics, but they are currently out of stock. I got my plant there and it was a nice size. Unfortunately it isn’t the most productive blueberry, but it is nice and crisp.

@fruitnut I believe you got some Indigo Crisp as well, back when they were briefly available to home growers. I have 2 plants and am still growing them, but am not impressed. My daughter described them as tasting a bit like watermelon, which is about right. They aren’t bad, but no Sweetcrisp. How have yours been?

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