Nice Fruit from VVA

I stopped by Vintage Virginia Apples/Albermarle Cider Works yesterday to pick up some cider for Christmas gifts. They keep 5 or 6 varieties of apples out for sale. In the pic Blacktwig, Stayman and Winesap. All very tasty.


Looks like a painting. What’s the difference taste wise between the Stayman and Winesap? And how does the Blacktwig compare to those? I’ve had WS and Stayman, but prefer Winesap. It actually might be a top 5 apple for me.


Stayman is the sweetest of the three. Blacktwig would be the mildest flavor of the three. So mild it would not be as good for cooking if you expect a distinctive flavor to come through. I use Winesap for pies and blending in applesauce.

Stayman is my favorite as it is so versatile and no need for any storage to mellow out. My wife doesn’t like Winesap but thinks Stayman is good.

I am not a fan of Arkansas Black’s taste as it lingers too long on the sour side for me. I cut down the tree I had. But I think most Winesap lovers also like AB.

First year tasting Blacktwig from my refrigerator and from growers storage this week. Good enough to plant one this spring. I can’t comment on the various stages of mellowing as only bought a few to sample that were fresh off the tree in October.


Is it Blacktwig, Stayman, and Winesap ( L to R ) in the photo?

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I’ve tried AB in various stages after picking, but even a couple months afterwards where it was supposed to shine, it never developed into anything special. Winesap doesn’t need that, for me, even after it’s first picked, has a nice complexity of sweet and tart. Goldrush is my favorite, but off the tree, it’s teeth tingling tart, so it needs a month to balance out. Golden Russet is similar.

I had all three of these trees, but the Winesap and Goldrush bit the dust, and the G Russet never got beyond runt stage. I grafted a new Goldrush a few years ago and planted it out last year, so maybe I’ll get lucky in a few years.




The Blacktwigs were very large. The biggest at 400 grams. Note in group shot the tendency to be green on the bottom. Six Blacktwigs on left, four Winesaps on right.


They have a really nice orchard. I went a few years back for a pruning workshop and was impressed with the place. They also offer grafting classes.


My scrawney little Blacktwig on B-9 had just a handfull of blossoms but no fruit set.
But, if I am successful using it as a pollen donor on some of my red fleshed trees, it’s still
going to be worth something to me.

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Beware, it might be a triploid… every apple that seemed super sized to me ended up being a triploid.

Re Blacktwig taste, I took mine out a long time ago due to lack of flavor. But that was before I knew that red fleshed apples are far too easy to pick too early. The VVA ones may have needed more hang time or more storage.


Thanks for the heads up that there’s a possibility it’s triploid. (I note says it is pollen sterile.)

But, on the other hand, have to scratch head…I didn’t realize Blacktwig had any red flesh? (Unless it be a little fading right under the peel.)

I have Odysso, Redfield, Niedzwetzkyana and Geneva crab paired to a half dozen antique or unusual apples in very close proximity…so there’ll be pollination, but any hand crossing with pollen from Blacktwig might fail if there isn’t viability of pollen.

No red flesh on Blacktwig or bleed through from thick chewy skin.