Scott's Apple Experiences Through 2022

Apples 2005-2022

Some people requested an update on my apple experiences so here it is! The previous one is here.

I have tried many apples and am now whittling down to a few ones that are excellent on all counts. In my climate many rot badly and I have had to eliminate many otherwise excellent apples for that reason. I am in zone 7 but the orchard is on a south hill so it has the summer heat factor of further south than I am located. Also many trees are in the shade for too much of the day and so have worse disease problems. If you are in a less challenging climate many of the rotting ones should work for you as long as it is not an extreme rotter.

Note I tend to like more unusual and intensely-flavored apples so this list is pretty skewed for that. There are plenty of great apples I never grew so are not on here.

Summary lists

Here are my current overall favorites for fresh eating. The “GD” ones are related to Golden Delicious, I mention that because it can be easy to pick too many GD-like apples for your orchard if not careful.

  1. Reine des Reinettes / King Russet
  2. Suncrisp (GD)
  3. Rubinette (GD)
  4. Hooples Antique Gold (GD)
  5. Freyberg (GD)
  6. Abbondanza
  7. Ashmead’s Kernel
  8. Kidds Orange Red (GD)
  9. Hawaii (GD)
  10. Mutsu (GD)
  11. Reinette Clochard
  12. Gold Rush (GD)
  13. Swayzie
  14. Pristine (GD)
  15. Golden Nugget
  16. Wagener
  17. Newtown Pippin
  18. Katharine

Early/mid-August apples

  1. Pristine
  2. Pristine
  3. Pristine

Seriously, I don’t see any reason to bother with any of the others. If my climate was less hot I would add Williams Pride to this list.

Late August apples

  1. Chestnut
  2. Golden Nugget
  3. Ginger Gold
  4. Cherryville Black

Bulletproof hall of fame: these apples are all incredibly bug- and disease-resistant.

  1. Hunge
  2. Campfield
  3. GoldRush
  4. All Limbertwigs
  5. Hawaii
  6. Fuji
  7. Yates
  8. Pristine
  9. Golden Nugget
  10. Rambour d’Hiver
  11. Arkansas Black

The Apples

The following are in rough ripening order; I should at some point go through and try to straighten it out more.

Pristine - What an impressive apple! I have a very hard time with early apples because it is so hot here in August and rots take over. Pristine is highly rot-resistant, has excellent flavor, and is a surprisingly good keeper as well. The only downside is it is curc-prone, so I leave a lot for late thinning.

Williams Pride - This is an excellent sweet large early red apple. Its the kind of apple kids will like, a pleasant sweet flavor. It is highly prone to watercore in my climate, most of them are almost completely water cored. If you let them hang a really long time they can get a very rich flavor, amazingly good for an early apple. I removed this tree since they were not keeping well with all the watercore, but in a less hot climate it should be one of the best early apples.

Monark - This has the classic American sweet/sour apple taste. The texture is not soft like many early apples, it should be better in storage. I never got too many apples from this tree so no strong opinion on it.

Early Joe - A nice early aromatic apple, small but good. Prone to rots.

State Fair - Another very nice early apple, more fruity than Early Joe. It is prone to rots unfortunately so is not likely to stay much longer in my orchard.

Jefferis - This is a nice early apple. It is more sour than Williams Pride and with a nice fruity flavor. The harvest is spread out over a long period which is very useful in an early apple since they don’t keep as long. Like many early apples they are prone to mealiness, and they are also somewhat rot-prone. Removed ~2019.

Transparent Croncels - Very early, sour and not so sweet; can get too soft so pick early. A cooker. Removed ~2010.

Fall Pippin - This apple is bulletproof, they look flawless even in my climate. Its a sour green apple, if you like Granny Smith this could be a good southern apple equivalent. I’m not a big fan of this type myself and it was removed.

Worcester Pearmain - Has the McIntosh skin and shape but with less sours and more sweets, and less rubbery in the skin. Skin disease issues on some of them. It is too rot-prone for me so I removed it, but if you are in a cooler climate and want an earlier Mac-type this could be a good one.

Ginger Gold - Nice taste for an early apple, and extremely productive of huge apples. Prone to skin rots. Keeps really well for an early apple, for that reason its one of the better early ones. But Pristine is better in every way other than size.

Signe Tillisch - A pleasant sweet apple on the soft side. Seems more like a cooker for sauce, eating is not super great but should be great in baking. I often missed the picking timing on this since it has a narrow window; removed ~2012.

Akane - A wonderful aromatic better-than-mac apple. Unfortunately it is highly prone to skin rots; nearly all rotted every year. Removed 2014.

Orenco - Gee this is pretty much your average apple, not exciting in any way. Removed.

Young America - This is a very nice crabapple, it looks beautiful with red stripes and doesn’t get too mealy. Also no big rot problems.

Chestnut Crab - I finally got fruit on this apple after many setbacks on getting wrong variety, graft died, etc. It is a wonderful, unique-tasting apple with a touch of savory flavor I can’t quite pinpoint. It has few rots. If it was bigger everyone would be growing it. Keeper for sure for me!

Cherryville Black - Very sweet and savory/nutty with decent sours. May get mealy if left to over-ripen. Skin is resilient so few rot problems. It is not the easiest apple to pick as it has a long ripening window and I seem to miss the mark a good chunk of the time since some apples could be overripe where the apple right next to it is underripe. So prepare for some duds mixed in with the great ones, and work on timing on picking individual apples – too early and they are not flavorful, and too late and they start getting mushy. With experience it gets easier to see which individual apples are ripe. I’m not sure I am going to keep this variety but hope I get better at picking so will give it several more years.

American Summer Pearmain - This apple is somewhat similar to Blenheim in flavor but earlier; it has a “creamy” flavor. It was not consistent in flavor or production though so I removed it to make room for other varieties.

Laxton’s Fortune - perfumed with rose and something else, very nice. This is one of the few summer apples worth keeping.

Golden Nugget - An excellent early russet apple. Watercores heavily some years but still tastes very good with all the watercore. It rots very little, unusual for a russeted apple in my orchard. This is one of my favorite earlier apples. Note that I got this apple from Botner under this name and I am not sure he had the ID correct.

Transparent Croncels - This apple has a very nice pineapple/banana taste but is an early apple with a small picking window — they go from underripe to mealy in a very narrow range. It is primarily a cooking apple and does very well in that category. Removed ~2011.

Holstein - Finally fruiting after ten years! A more sour Cox with heavy watercore. Would be a nice apple without the watercore. Removed ~2016.

Gravenstein - This tree suffered from severe rosy apple aphids for several years. The apples were good and without any major skin etc problems, but did not taste quite as good as the Gravenstein I have eaten in California. Removed 2015.

Queen Cox - I got bland fruits off this tree but it had health problems (and it finally died). So, I did not give it a full evaluation. Died ~2010.

Dyer - crisp nice apple a bit on the small side. Downing and Beach say “high flavor” which I would not quite say but the flavor is very good. Removed ~2010.

Zestar! - When its well ripened its very good. Super crunchy and fruity. Really needs to hang or its not all that flavorful. Rot-prone, not a good southern apple unfortunately so removed it.

Reinette des Carmes - This is a perfectly OK sweet/aromatic apple. After cellaring its much improved, its an unusual smooth aromatic flavor.

Pomme Raisin - A very average tart cooking type apple; used for cider in some parts of Europe. A member of the McIntosh school. Removed 2014.

Sierra Beauty - A decent large red apple. Nice flavor but not very sweet and a bit of sliminess to the texture. Had watercore problems as well. My conclusion is this is more a California apple. Removed 2015.

My Jewel - A very average apple based on one year of fruiting. Seems to be another California apple not doing well for me. Removed 2015.

Tumanga - I have not had many apples on this but it is a fairly standard yellow apple not getting me too excited. I will be giving it a few more years before removing it.

Ribston Pippin - Yet another excellent-tasting English apple that has severe skin spotting and watercore/rot problems. Removed 2015.

Berner Rosen - A very average tasting apple that is prone to mealiness. Removed 2012.

Pigeonnet Rouge - A pleasant savory tasting apple with an unusual “pigeon’s head” shape. This apple unfortunately is highly prone to drop, even when heavily thinned most would fall before they were ripe. I could have had some help with the deer in getting the apples knocked off, but I doubt it was the only problem. Removed 2015.

Kidds Orange Red - A low acid sweet aromatic apple, similar to Gala but more aromatic. The tree sets far too many apples and I often do not get it thinned enough which then causes alternate bearing. It is average on rots. They ripen over a long period so it is a good tree for an orchard with only a few varieties.

Fall Russet - An early version of Golden Russet - not quite as sweet but still very good. It has been a bug magnet in my orchard unfortunately; removed.

Gala - Great tasting and very sweet; extremely productive. This apple grows great in any climate and comes through with little rot in a minimal spray program. Kidds Orange Red is a bit more flavorful but not by much.

Freyburg - Excellent when picked late enough, it has a rich flavor of the Golden Delicious school, mixed with anise and other overtones as well as a good crunch. Flavor can be a bit too much (cloying) when cooked. This apple is probably not for everyone but its one of my favorites. It doesn’t store well, best let hang a very long time and then eat soon after.

Pitmaston Pineapple - This is a great tasting small apple. The flesh is a bit on the dry side but not too bad. The flavor is very sweet/sour, more so than Roxbury Russet, Orleans Reinette, and other yellow school apples. But the bad news is it is highly prone to rots, like most of the other old-fashioned russet apples.

Calville Blanc d’Hiver - This apple has a fine taste and its an excellent cooker. But its highly prone to bugs and rots; removed ~2019.

Freiherr von Berlepsch - Has a pleasant savory taste but suffered greatly from bugs and fireblight. Removed ~2010.

Black Gilliflower - a small very savory tasting apple. Highly prone to rot. Removed ~2008.

Allington Pippin - Taste on the sour side, fine, but not particularly distinctive. Serious watercore/rot issues. Removed ~2009.

Swayzie- An excellent russet thats is a cross between a “nutty” (Egremont) and an “aromatic” (Freyburg). Very similar to Pomme Gris; it often has a coconut-like crunch to it which is very pleasing to eat. Reasonably good on the rots. Vastly oversets so massive thinning is needed.

Belle Fille - A very rich apple - low in acid and high in tannin. Flesh is soft and a bit dry. I believe this has some European cider apple genes, and unfortunately it sometimes rots very badly (as in they are all ruined). Removed.

Belle Fleur Rouge - An interesting large apple with dash of pink in the flesh. It has a pleasant acidic perfumed taste in the McIntosh school, as good as a McIntosh I would say but less meaty, more grape-like. It is a little too sour, it needs more sugars to balance the acid level. The tree has red leaves. Removed ~2012.

Doctor Mathews - An excellent tasting Northern Spy type apple. Unfortunately like all the Spy types it is a bad rotter for me; removed ~2021.

Egremont Russet - A very crispy flavorful russet. On the sour side. But like many other English apples it is highly prone to rot; removed ~2014.

Blenheim Orange - Very large fruits with a dull skin. This is my favorite cooking apple, it has a very rich flavor when cooked. But its also good as an eating apple, with a rich, delicious flavor (not crisp though). It should be getting past the greens and almost on to the yellows for the best picking, the timing is a bit hard as they can get over-ripe if you wait til full yellow color. Few rot problems, very unusual for an English apple – they are not all bad!

Shizuka - A fine but not standout large apple, it tastes like a big mild Golden Delicious. Can go mealy.

Smokehouse - Somewhere I read it tastes like fresh apple cider and that seems about right - a nice refreshing taste. It gets too many skin problems to be a top tier fruit. Has been very reliable for fruiting however.

Fennoulet Gris - no fennel; has the unusual creamy/slimy texture of e.g. Rambour d’Automne. Extensive damage on fruits. Not Fenouillet Gris for sure. This was from Geneva and I am pretty sure they have a mis-id in their collection.

Wagener - Very good mild fruity taste in the general Mac family but more fruity (grape). An excellent well-rounded flavor balance, becoming one of my favorite apples. Not a long keeper, soft flesh. Too prone to rot though; removed ~2020.

Adam’s Perrmain - This apple has a very nice nutty/savory flavor. It has a very elegant bell shape to it; on the small side though. It is prone to rots; removed ~2020.

Aromatic Russet - not exciting, is a bit unusual in the flavor but pretty boring overall. No russet for me, small chance it is the wrong variety. Mealy if it hangs too long. Removed.

Orleans Reinette - This is a high quality late hard keeping apple. It has a few staggered late blooms and was a huge fireblight problem for that reason. Also has a fair amount of skin spotting and rotting so I gave up on it.

Esopus Spitzenberg - This apple is very rich in flavor, one of the richest. It is not crunchy though which makes it less desirable to many people. Looks to be too prone to rots for me.

Waltana - Above average rot problems. I got several all the way to ripe and its a fine apple, very sweet. Texture is a bit spongy, not great. Overall fine but not extraordinary in my climate, slated for removal.

D’Arcy Spice - Bland mealy blech. It seems like my heat fried it. Removed ~2008.

Cox’s Orange Pippin - I did not keep this apple around long but it was highly prone to watercore/rot like its relative Allington Pippin. I did get a few very tasty apples from it.

Vandevere - A fine apple with a bit of unusual taste, called citrus by some. Its really a cooker I would say, not so much for fresh eating.

Court Pendu Plat- A richly flavored yellow-flesh apple. Very sweet. Best as a cooker, it has a lot of flavor after cooking. Problems with rotting since it has a very flat top that collects water. Removed ~2016.

Hooples Antique Gold - A very nice looking apple, not much rotting, no sooty blotch and beautiful shape. On top of that they have extraordinary flavor when well-ripened; similar to Freyburg in that the well ripened ones have some anise overtone. Very sweet and aromatic. Also very crunchy. Quite extraordinary overall. Some years they are better than others but even in a down year they are one of my favorite apples.

Razor Russet - Similar to Hooples but it gets odd circles on the spots on the skin in most years - they look ugly. They are also not quite as tasty. I would grow Hooples over this one.

Reine des Reinettes - It has a very rich flavor and is one of the best cooking/processing apples. It has that classic tart tatin flavor when cooked. Looks very similar to Gala but is more tart, with more hard flesh and a better flavor but not quite as sweet. Somewhat prone to rots but not horrible. Thin heavily, the clusters are close so you need to completely remove all apples on some clusters.

King Russet - This is a russet sport of Reine des Reinettes. It seems a notch more flavorful than Reine does Reinettes, but the skin problems seem a bit worse.

Rubinette - Huge quantities of sweets, sours, and also some aromatics. If you like intense apples this one is for you. It mellows in storage; while it can get a bit rubbery it keeps fairly well. It has been very reliable and productive. Curculio like it a lot but other than that it has few problems. It can take 4-5 years before its producing good apples, don’t go by how they taste the first year or two. They also vary from year to year how sour and aromatic they are, but they are always one of the highest sugars and most tasty apples I grow.

Grimes Golden - This apple is similar to Golden Delicious but has more of a grape-like flavor which is a bit different. They are very nice out of storage, not a long-term keeper though.

Oliver - A very nice richly-flavored apple with few rot problems.

Margil - I had bad luck with this variety; when it was good it was very good, with a rich nutty flavor. But some years it was just a blah taste. Pomme Gris is similar but more consistent, and Swayzie is strictly better.

Canada Reinette - An excellent cooker with a sweet/sour flavor that blends very well when cooked. Too sour for fresh eating by all but Sweet Tarts candy aficionados. I had truly horrible fireblight problems with this variety so it was removed. Removed ~2012.

Hawaii - Similar to Golden Delicious but with a more clean crisp fruity aromatic flavor. A very nice apple, with few rot problems. This apple should be much more popular, it is an apple everyone will love and is very easy to grow.

Yellow Bellflower - Its a classic baked apple and that seems about right based on flavor. Perfectly OK fresh eating but not great. Removed 2014.

Brownlees Russet - A poor cousin to Pomme Gris - less flavor but otherwise similar. Removed ~2014.

Hunge - A very flavorful apple, well worth growing. Tastes a bit like Limbertwig with a unique cheddar cheese twang. It fares much better than average in terms of bugs and diseases: one of the very best for that. The flesh is dense but dry, its very unusual. It occasionally watercores and is not the prettiest apple with dull often russet-streaked skin. You know when you picked and ripened them well when they have that cheddar cheese taste. They store pretty well by get more dry-fleshed as they age.

Sandow - This is a fine Mac-like apple. Unfortunately it also rots like the Mac types do so it is not a keeper for me.

Hunt Russet - This is a nice later russet but is quite prone to rot. They need to be picked late, they take a long time to ripen.

Old Nonpareil - These apples are more sharp than the other old russet apples. They are very small and are unfortunately prone to rot. This apple needs a great deal of ageing and I have not had much in the way of well-aged samples so I’m not clear how good it will be.

Kentucky Limbertwig - It has creamy mild taste, a bit like Fuji. Very bug- and disease-durable and good keeping seem to be the primary strengths of this apple.

Belle de Pontoise - A very nice large savory apple.

Newtown Spitzenburg- Got very little in the way of harvest from this variety before it died. Fine apple nothing unusual however. Died ~2010.

Rambour d’Automne - An excellent tangy apple; something like McIntosh school but more creamy/slimy and quite different aromatics. Bad watercore nearly every year however. Removed ~2012.

Pomme Gris - This is a nice russet, it has a coconut-like texture and delicate flavor. Better than Golden Russet for fresh eating. Skin holds up very well to rots and no bug damage. Not particularly sweet or sour but good flavor balance and texture. They don’t keep very well, they soften. Swayzie is closely related but better: more flavor, more coconut texture.

Claygate Pearmain - Wowza, lotsa zing plus rich flavor. unfortunately it is highly prone to summer diseases as well as mealiness and watercore. In other words, yet another English apple not doing so well in my climate. Removed ~2010.

Lamb Abbey Pearmain - This is a small Smokehouse, a nice mild fruity apple. The tree was in a bad spot so it was removed.

Lady Sweet - This is a sweet apple which means almost no acid. Its one of the more flavorful sweets, in good years it has a nice interesting flavor. Other years it can be boring.

Roxbury Russet - A nice sweet/tart apple of the yellow school — yellow-fleshed and with few aromatics.

Reinette Gris Parmentier - Solidly decent russet apple. Very large compared to other russets. More consistent size. Not quite as sweet as Golden Russet but still sweeter than your average apple and very good flavor and crunch. Good against rots etc.

Swiss Orange - Less sour/sweet version of Rubinette. Good crunch and good flavor when fully ripe, very well balanced. Unfortunately its a bad rotter, most years I get few. Up for removal.

Westfield Seek No Further - A solid apple, vague McIntosh school in taste, minimal rotting/spotting. Still I would seek further, not a standout in my climate.

Hubbardston Nonesuch - Very nice apple similar to Abbondanza and Worcester Pearmain - tender and lots of sweet/sour/aroma of the rose petals or similar type. It generally does well in terms of rots.

Reinette de Chenee - Sweet apple with touch of sour. Good texture. Not an aromatic or overly flavorful apple but I did not have too many of them. Had to remove to make room for other trees. Removed ~2010.

Enterprise - Only one year of fruit on this but they were really lacking in flavor. I let them hang a good long time. They are bulletproof though, no problems at all with bugs or rots. The skin is a bit of the rubbery/thick type.

Spigold - A very nice creamy-tart fruity rich-flavored apple. It has that fruity flavor like Wagener and few other apples, Wagener is supposedly a parent of Northern Spy so there appears to be ancestry for that flavor. Like its Northern Spy parent, the apples are huge. It takes a long time to fruit, but when it starts fruiting it fruits well (other than being somewhat biennial). The apples are somewhat prone to rotting unfortunately; if not for that it would be one of my favorites overall. Removed ~2015.

Apricot - This is a very unusual apple, with very hard flesh, harder than GoldRush, and a unique flavor. Its not always apricot-ty but I can sometimes taste that. Unfortunately it is very prone to rots and I may not keep it.

Reinette de Cuzy - Has a narrow picking window prone to mealiness if picked late, but has an excellent savory flavor when properly ripened. Ridiculously prone to rot though, removed 2017.

Maigold - A hard-fleshed later apple with standard nice apple taste plus an interesting unusual tart/citrus flavor in the background.

Hudsons Golden Gem - Fantastic taste but MASSIVE problems. Curcs and stinkbugs out the wazoo. Heavy watercore and strange pink spots inside. Enough of this tree! Removed 2015.

Wickson - Very sweet and grape-like in taste. Unusual clear-ish flesh and texture. It cracks badly every 3rd year or so. I need wasp traps just for it, the high sugars draws massive quantities of wasps. They are a bit too hard-fleshed for fresh eating in my stomach but are a great processing apple. Fruit are very prone to rots, I have given up on it in my climate but it may be great in other climates.

Bonne Hotture - They have an interesting, unusual, rich flavor. I wish I could describe it.

Reinette du Mans - Somewhat similar to Blenheim, likely a triploid large apple with that creamy taste. Goes mealy fast.

Suncrisp - This is one of the best Golden Delicious children, having some of the best attributes of GD and Cox. Its very large, crisp, aromatic, and flavorful. It stores much better than Rubinette which is a similar apple. It does well in terms of rots. One of my favorites.

Myers Royal Limbertwig - A good large apple. No rot problems, another southern apple shows its southern roots. The flavor is something like a yellow school apple but also has some grape-like fruitiness thrown in. Overall a very nice Limbertwig apple.

de Jaune - A standard yellow school apple. Removed it since it was not in a good spot. Removed ~2013.

Franc Roseau - A classic super sweet/tart acidic crunchy type apple. Prone to watercore and rot problems. Removed ~2011.

Mother - Need to be picked when there is no green on the bottoms - they are not so good when picked early. They have a rich unique taste when well-grown. They are not crunchy at all, making it not appealing to modern apple eaters.

Magnum Bonum - I’m not sure I had the right variety for this one. It was never a really great apple and I removed it.

Mutsu - When this apple is well-ripened its awesome, like Golden Delicious but with some licorice and other subtle overtones added. The fruits are very large and don’t rot too badly. It is highly prone to biennial bearing.

King David - A very good classic American red apple. I have had almost no harvest from my tree but it was crammed very tightly; it started getting fireblight badly as it got older, so I got rid of it.

Reinette Clochard - This apple in mid-late October is wonderful. They have a very rich flavor with hints of lemon and pineapple. It needs to hang until some start dropping, picked too early they don’t have the rich flavor. They are incredibly ugly and small and the bugs love them. Fortunately the diseases don’t like them nearly as much as the bugs. They are not crisp-fleshed at all so many people will not like them. If you want to grow an unusual apple with a wow taste that is fantastic for cooking this is the one.

Sturmer Pippin - A reasonable yellow-school apple, but highly prone to bug damage. Removed ~2010.

Ashmead’s Kernel - These squat-shaped apples are not pretty and are prone to surface cracking and scarring, but when ripened well have a wonderful rich sweet flavor. On top of this they are crisp for an old apple which is one reason why I think they have had a resurgance of popularity - most of the old apples are not crisp and most modern apple eaters get put off by non-crisp apples. They are also prone to rots like most of the other old-fasioned russets. I was picking too early and they were an annoyingly sour apple at that point. Later picking and they are the real deal.

Pomme Cloche - A late yellow-fleshed apple with a strong sweet/tart flavor. Similar to Roxbury Russet and other “yellow school” apples in taste.

Jonathan - A great classic sweet/sour apple.

Fuji - An excellent backyard apple for those with a longer season, like Gala it is easy to grow and tastes good. The home grown version is better than the store version which is picked too early. Let hang a long time and store and you will have a great honey-tasting apple.

Reinette Gris Santoinge - A good apple similar to Ashmeads Kernel; it is larger than Ashmeads and can have more dry flesh. Ashmeads is better overall, more sugar less dry.

De l’Estre - Like Blenheim in taste but not as flavorful, less sweet, and going mealy. All-yellow and huge. Removed 2017.

Abbondanza - It sets like crazy and I never thin it enough (I think we can guess where the name comes from). The taste is a delicate fruity with a hint of rose petals. Without very heavy thinning the sugars will suffer. This apple looks/tastes similar to Hubbardston Nonesuch or Steeles Red but a bit more chewy. Pick very late and or cellar for best flavor - it is another apple that is too easy to pick too early. When ripened properly it is a very impressive apple, one of my favorites. Its not a long keeper.

Steele’s Red - Similar to but not as good as Hubbardston. I removed it before it fruited a lot so this opinion is weak.

Winesap - This is very good late storage apple. I never stored any and had to remove the tree to make room at some point. Removed ~2010.

Rambour d 'Hiver - A good somewhat savory apple. The main advantage of this apple is it produces a huge load of nearly unblemished fruit every year. A very old apple primarily for cooking but still good eating. This is turning into one of my favorite apples due to its incredible reliability and productivity. It gets better with storage, like all old winter apples it is a cellaring variety.

Golden Russet - This apple needs lots of hang time and then some time in the cellar to get good flavor and texture. Highly prone to rot in my climate unfortunately – removed ~2015.

American Golden Russet aka Bullock - More a dull-skinned russet than GR, something like a Pomme Gris / Golden Russet hybrid. Too prone to rot so removed.

Arkansas Black - Super bug resistant and super good long-term storage. Taste is OK, some savory component. More sour younger and not so sour when aged.

Rambour Franc - lots of watercore. Decent taste but nothing particularly outstanding. This is the Geneva repository version of this apple, I don’t think it is the same as the one the French talk about as it is not an early apple.

Weisser Wintertaffetapfel - A nicely balanced but mild flavor. Prone to watercore. Sort of like Wickson but without all the apricot etc flavors, and less acidic.

GoldRush - Very hard flesh, strong sweet/sour flavor which mellows when stored. Hints of anise when ripened fully on the tree. Probably the best low-spray backyard apple if you have a long enough season to ripen it. Needs very heavy thinning, it can approach biennial if not thinned well. Let hang a long time or they will lack flavor - look at the bottoms and pick when you can’t see any signs of a light green color on the bottom at all – light yellows only. It needs to be picked over several weeks as they do not ripen at the same time. No problems with summer rots, CAR is the only weakness of this fantastic apple.

Katharine - Wow, a really great fruity-tasting apple. It is more “fruity” than about any other apple. According to some it needs storage to be optimal, either that or pick very late. I’m having a hard time getting ripe fruits as all the animals have figured out it is a great one.

Newtown Pippin - A classic American apple which needs a lot of aging to get the best flavor. Creamy tart pineapple-y taste. Rot-prone for me unfortunately.

Black Limbertwig - This is currently my favorite Limbertwig. It took a long time to get good fruiting on it but I am finally getting a good crop. It has the classic Limbertwig flavor which is “rich plus twang”. They redden early so it is very easy to pick these far too early and get some truly mediocre apples. Make sure there is no light green in the flesh at picking time. Even when picked right they may need storing for one or more months depending on the ripeness at picking time. Its an incredible storage apple and is highly rot-resistant – another great southern apple!

Rusty Coat (could be Keener Seedling) - A dry, tannic russet with an interesting aftertaste. Good bug and disease resistance. Hard to pick as it gets fully russeted well before it is ripe; wait for them to get dark bronze in color. Needs some cellaring to get the starched out, but does not keep that long. A beautiful bronze ball, on the small size. It may have potential as a cider apple, but probably not so interesting as an eater for most people due to the dry flesh and difficulty in getting perfect eating window. This apple I obtained from Botner, the exact ID is not clear as many apples were called Rusty Coat.

Black Twig - A very late apple that needs cellaring. I didn’t ever cellar any but the pre-cellared ones were very low in flavor. Removed ~2010 but probably did not give it a fair trial.

White Winter Pearmain - A very late apple that needs to be picked quite late and stored. Tastes like a Mutsu after storage. Main advantage of this variety is lack of any skin etc problem and great storage potential.

Pink Lady - Home grown ones in my climate are similar to store version — like a commercial orchard I need to pick early since my season is not quite long enough. Few skin problems since it is so late. Removed ~2010.

European Cider apples

None of these worked out; I didn’t take the best notes on why, but most of them that did not get fireblight rotted very badly. I grew about 25 different varieties and they all seem to have common genes leading to common problems of rot and fireblight. My conclusion is these are highly inappropriate for my climate unless an intensive spray program is followed, and I’m not even sure they would be worth growing with intensive spray as they tend to ripen too early and have all the tannins baked out of them by our heat.

Fuero Rous - Often had significant tannins at harvest but highly prone to rot - turned to mush some years.

Marie Menard - Often had tannin but prone to rot.

Dabinette - Very good taste but little tannins.

not Binet Blanc - This fruit was not true to name, it is something like Binet Rouge.

Frequin Rouge - These guys are very prone to rot, they are soft and ripen in the heat. Probably not worth keeping. Excellent rich taste however.

Cap o Liberty - nice small juicy apple few tannins however (yet another no-tannin English apple). This guy does have very good taste however.

Feulliard - Nothing special.

Launette - whitish mild tannins

Frequin Lacaille - marbled look mildly tannic

Frequin Tardive - Frequin like look but more mild tannins

Mettais - mild tannins

Domaines - don’t recall but mild

Saint Martin - more mild tannins

Binet Rouge - ditto; cotton-mouth texture.

Porters Perfection - little tannin and not much flavor either.

Noel des Champs- excellent flavor but little tannins; much later than all the others, its clear what the Noel is doing in the name.

American Cider apples

These apples are primarily known for cider, but they may also be good fresh eating. I am now mainly growing these for cider. I haven’t made cider with these yet but have tasted them from my orchard.

Hewes aka Virginia Crab - An extremely rich flavor with just enough tannin to give it a pleasant bite. But, this apple is quite a bit earlier than the historical Virginia Crab; according to Tom Burford the Hewes of today is a seedling of the original one. Because it is early it gets a lot of rots and is too early for main cider season for me. It would be a great cider apple for those further north. Removed ~2014.

Gilpin - This looks like it will be a very good cider apple. I have not yet had a great taste from it to be sure though.

Campfield - This is one of the best American cider apples. It is lower in acid so is a good one to have to balance acids out. The sugars and tannins are both excellent. The apple is very late though, it is a November ripener for me. Super bulletproof. This is a must-have for cider apples in warmer regions.

Harrison - This apple has more of the rich and deep flavors found in the European cider apples. It was considered the best American cider apple many years ago, and it may still be. The main downside for me is it has a fair amount of rot.

Gnarled Chapman - This is an actual American bittersweet, it has the bitterness levels of the European cider apples. Also it is sweet, 20 brix for me. It is somewhat prone to rots and is so far not very productive, but it could still be a great cider apple.

Wickson’s Son - I’m not sure what this variety is, it was labeled Chestnut but is not. It seems like a really good Wickson-like cider crab whatever it is - tannins plus flavor. Sugar isn’t as quite good as Wickson but its close. Not as sour as Wickson. On the plus side its much less prone to crack/rot than Wickson. It has the same clearish flesh like Wickson and a similar harvest season and may even be related.

Yates - This looks to be a great cider apple - good tannins and not too sour, plus a nice rich flavor. It is extremely late and barely ripens in my climate. I pick them right before the first hard frost, and even then they need to be stored for awhile to complete ripening. You can tell when you picked them too early, there will be some light green on the flesh around the core. Some years they have that for me even when picked in later November. The apples are very small. They are a fine fresh eating apples as well. Super bug- and disease-resistant.

41 Likes

Any chance of a stone fruit rot report?

I was singing the Pristine praises last year. No spray and most are harvested perfect. Massively over sets.

In addition, apples related to Golden Delicious (and others) tend to be susceptible to the Marssonina Leaf Blotch MLB fungus, so it’s good to know. Without repeated sprays (I used Immunox and Captan per Alan’s advice) the MLB can totally defoliate Goldrush, especially sensitive to the fungus. Thank you for recording all this.

7 Likes

@scottfsmith
Scott, this is outstanding. Thank you for the update.

Jealous i am. I’ve been looking for Gold rush and nugget for a while. But I havent heard of the chestnut crab before. Sounds nice!

Thanks for that information on Marssonina Leaf Blotch. My Goldrush completely defoliated this year, but I thought it was due to powdery mildew. I did not look closely at the leaves or spray the trees often because after a bumper (over) crop in 2021, most of my trees went biennial.

1 Like

Indeed, I just noticed today that something snuck in and stripped my Katharine tree bare. Nothing on the ground, no broken twigs, no browsing. Not sure what it was.

I’m bummed. Guess I’m going to have to start picking them earlier.

Whatever it was also stripped the adjacent GoldRush tree, for good measure. I’d hate to have to pick them earlier.

1 Like

Time for a critter camera.

Or just past time, for this season. The victims were in a corner of my property that’s least visible (to both me and my dogs). The only other nearby tree that still had apples hanging was Vixen, and I picked those off today to protect them. I have some others hanging closer to the house - Stayman, Crimson Gold, Granny Smith, Lady Williams, Hauer Pippin, Pink Parfait - but hopefully the critter won’t be bold enough to venture up here. I’ll probably pick everything but the LW within the next couple of weeks.

Fabulous report, thanks Scott!

Scott,
Thank you for such a detailed report.

Since Gold Rush does not really fully ripen for me, I am so happy to find its best substitute, Crunch A Bunch. If anyone could overlook the stupid name, they will find this “early Gold Rush” as good or better than Gold Rush.


It is a large, tasty (a balance of tartness and sweetness) with a lot of crunch and lighter texture (not as dense as Gold Rush) which I prefer.
It ripens in mid to late Oct. in my zone 6a. It is my most favorite apple variety among about 30 varieties that I grow.

10 Likes

I have a Crunch-a-Bunch in fact … I needed a rootstock and decided to get that one and add a variety to it. Glad to hear you like it, I will make sure to let the stock grow out well so I can try them out.

1 Like

Scott,
I think you will like it. Everyone I’ve given it to, likes it. @SMC_zone6 said he likes it so much that he bought a tree.

My regret is that mine is on M 27, super dwarf. I wish I could have a whole good size tree. I am going to graft it to my other trees.

1 Like

Amazing list @scottfsmith thank you! I second @mamuang recommendation for crunch a bunch. One of my favorite out of hand eating apples. Got a first crop of CaB this year of about 20 apples from the same m27 tree.

Funny you talk about the name. That is exactly why I wouldn’t grow it! I might call it something else! :joy:

How can you tell the ripe ones from the not yet ripe?

Every apple is different, it is hard to generalize. Any light green on the flesh usually means not ripe, and the coloring in general is subtly different on the more ripe ones. If they are really hard to pull off I have second thoughts. I will taste a few to see if I have it right.

2 Likes

“Croquer un Tas”? :laughing:

3 Likes

Has a nice ring to it! Tres bien!

1 Like

Of the 18 Golden Delicious children, I have 8. I would have 10 but I gave Reine des Reinette away as rumor has it that it is on a sour side.

With regrets, I removed Katharine due to it is very late ripening and won’t ripen here in time. I still wish I could grow this variety.

@mrsg47 - I suspect it’s Gurney that named Crunch A Bunch. Gurney has named some fruit varieties that turn me off. The one comes to mind is Wowza, sour cherry.

2 Likes