Was thinking about Tom Burford today and reviewed his list of Twenty Top Dessert Apples. We have 16 of the 20.
American Beauty: a few more years before we can expect apples from it. The only apple tree from Tom’s list that we acquired because it was on Tom’s list.
Blue Pearmain: One of the first varieties we planted. Seven (or maybe even 9) years later, we discovered the tree had been mislabeled. Finally successfully grafted one in 2018 from friends’ scionwood. Really liked the fruit from their tree. Inviting aroma. Not overpowering taste, but a good mix of sweet and tart.
Cox’s Orange Pippin: Had our first fruit last year. Not yet remarkable flavor.
Esopus Spitzenburg: worthy of the esteem it has been given. Hard to wait before deciding they have mellowed in storage long enough to be ready to eat.
Grimes Golden: a favorite and consistently one of the winners in our taste tests.
Holstein: First fruits were disappointing last year. Figured that was because the tree was young. Had waited 6 years. No apples on it this year, so the wait continues.
Kidd’s Orange Red: a favorite among our sweeter apples. Having both Kidd’s and Karmijn convinced me I didn’t need a Rubinette.
Mother: another favorite, but it took me a couple years to figure out when best to pick it. Have also learned that it has much better flavor some years than others. Maybe it is something about my tastebuds, but I rate it much higher than most others do in the taste tests we hold at our annual cider pressing parties. Right now there are both small apples and blossoms on one of our Mother trees.
Newtown (Albemarle) Pippin: First tree died a year after bearing its first fruit (yes, singular), and it was a drop. Two successful grafts, so the waiting begins again.
Pitmaston Pineapple: a lot of punch in its small size. I’m not one who can taste any pineapple, but I like it.
Ralls: too far north (here in the Finger Lajes of NYS), so we are growing an Ingram instead. Ingram is supposed to be earlier, larger, but very similar flavor to its parent. I won’t know, having never seen or tasted a Ralls.
Ribston Pippin: heard it doesn’t do well in these parts, so I never bought or grafted one. Mistake?
Smokehouse: bought one for sentimental purposes. The original grew very near where my parents lived in their retirement years. Its apples have surprised us, though, by winning or finishing high consistently in our taste tests.
Spartan: figured if we had Macoun, we didn’t need a Spartan.
Summer Rambo: another tree that died, and replacement hasn’t fruited.
Virginia Beauty: because of its late flowering, thought it might have a chance here in the north. Still waiting on first bearing. Another variety we bought for a silly reason — we heard it was Doc Watson’s favorite apple. We are folk music fans, and I got to spend some time with Doc Watson when we helped put him on in concert. Not only a great musician, but a lovely, gentle man.
White Winter Pearmain: Not grown — ripens too late for us here.
Winesap (old): another favorite. Bold flavor, but not especially complex. Great keeper. Good for pies, but still prefer Northern Spy over it.
Yellow Bellflower: while young, it was nearly killed by a browsing deer that broke through fencing. That seemed to curb its development in size and productivity, but I don’t know how that could be. Years later, even on Antonovka rootstock, it remains little, and we only get very occasional apples from it. Not remarkable.
Zabergau Reinette: Read from Joan Morgan in the New Apple Book that it is probably same variety of Reinette Parmentier, and since we live on Parmenter Road, we invested in one. Still waiting for first apples, but they won’t come this year.