My Apple tasting notes for this season

Hello Everyone,
I haven’t posted much in a while so I thought I would post some tasting notes. I have 18 varieties in my Orchard but I only had a good crop on maybe 9 of them. I also have a larger heirloom orchard (Alber Orchards) down the road from me that I visit almost once a week during the season.

  1. Hubbartson Nonesuch - This was probably the surprise of the season for me. I had never tasted this one before. I have lots of Cox crosses and even Karmijn so I was actually getting tired of the super intense apples. Nonesuch has a very subtle raspberry/strawberry aroma and flavor to me. I would probably grow this one my neighbor didn’t grow it. I love it
  2. Thome Empire - Another one with more subtle but complex flavor. Again, red berry aroma and flavor. Slightly spicy and balanced. I found it much better than Empire. This was from Alber orchard also.
  3. Black Twig - I picked these pretty much on the last day of the season before lots of frost. Maybe Nov. 7 or so. These were too tart and night ripe at the time. Flesh was green. Today is Jan 1 and flesh is still green. I don’t know If they were not ripe at picking or need more time in the fridge.
  4. Spitzenberg - I got these from Alber also. They had a good crop this year so I bought a lot. Not disimilar from all my Cox offspring so I probably wouldn’t grow it myself. Balanced acid and sugar, some complexity and spiciness, but not as much as others. Pretty good.
  5. Roxburry Russet - This one is fantastic. I love russetet skin. I think this is a Cox parent. My example has fuller flavor than Cox but probably not as complex. More tart for sure. Very good too me.

A kid can look and act a lot like a person they are not closely related to. Cox is from England where I think Rox would not have been a likely father back in 1830 when it was discovered. I don’t know if Rox has ever been grown in England, but if it was it was likely quite rare.

I agree with Alan- there probably weren’t many RR in England. But, RR came ~200 years before Cox so it is theoretically possible. I think Ribston Pippin is suspected to be one parent of Cox and the other isn’t known.

Thanks for the notes. Are these the top 5 apples of the year for you, or just those which stood out in some way?

I got a bunch of Black Twigs a few years ago at the end of the season. I remember thinking they had a mildly acid taste which was pleasant, but didn’t blow me away. But, my mother thought they were among the best ever, so it comes down to taste.


Bob, you have lots of apple varieties, are you going to give us a report on your harvest for last season? Or maybe you have but I haven’t seen it.

Btw, is a Black Twig a Limbertwig variety?

Ribs1, I tried to convince mike"s wife over at Albers to sell me some scions but she was not to enthusiastic.

I go there couple times a year, it is a very nice orchard.

I just thought I heard that about Roxbury.
These are not my top 5 by any means, just 5 that I had not tasted before and stood out to me this year (or do not remember tasting)
Out of these, the Hubbartsons and Thome Empire really stand out for me. I would probably put them in my current top 10 or so. (my top 10 changes all the time though)

Not much to review. I lost a lot due to the hard frost (~19F) on April 8th. Then, I did a poor job of insect control and lost a lot of what did set. Finally, I had a very high level of animal pressure, which I started to get a handle on only after most of the trees were stripped. I think the Golden Russets (which I bagged a lot of) and Asian pears were their favorites, based on how fast the trees were stripped.

I ended up with about a dozen Sundance apples, which were pretty good. I think that was the only variety that I got more than 1 or 2 from. And the 1-2 were often too early/late/damaged to form a proper opinion.

I actually got much more production out of a single jujube tree(a 5 year old So), than I got out of all my apples (40-50 trees, though quite a few are young or mini-dwarf). It flowers much later (June) and hasn’t been discovered by the insects or animals.

Its good to hear some positive comments on Hubbardston Nonesuch. It is a different kind of apple taste that I enjoy a lot, but I don’t find too many people growing it. They don’t age very well but are very easy to grow, I get big near-perfect apples with my minimal spray program.

There are several apples of this type, in my orchard Steele’s Red, Abbondanza, and not-Doctor-Mathews (a Botner mis-id) are all very similar to Hubbardston.

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Black Twig is the same as Mammoth Black Twig, but it is not considered a limbertwig.

I pulled this off a site close to you. Looks like a nice old southern apple. Have you grown it?

I had heard mixed reviews on it, so it did not rise to the top of my initial trial list. I’ve not had an opportunity to taste it yet.

It is considered a southern apple. Lee Calhoun’s favorite, which must mean something. It’s probably great if grown in the right conditions. It may be among the best apples that can be grown in the hot humid south.

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I had a tree of it which I should have given a longer trial on. The apples were bulletproof but when harvested in late October had very little flavor. They were not overly starchy so its not like they were under-ripe. But I never aged them. I’d like to taste a well-aged Blacktwig some day…

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I still have some black twigs in the refrigerator. The are still not very good now. I will try them again in another month. I think this tree might get the axe though.

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Yes, I would assume that any benefit of storage would already be realized.

I just planted two Black Twig trees on M111 this fall. I only ordered one, but there was a mix-up in fulfilling my order. Of course, it’ll probably be five years before I get to eat any fruit. Even so, I’m looking forward to it.

I might just try my hand at grafting on that second Black Twig, converting at least one tier to a Limbertwig variety or Captain Davis (old Mississippi variety) or Hall. Sorry for the digression–was just thinking out loud.

I think you might have a better chance in zone 7. Here in Michigan I just don’t think black twig gets ripe.

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