Scott's apple variety experiences through 2018


Apples 2005-2018

Here is an update on my cumulative apple opinion, I posted one a few years ago here.

These are in rough ripening order, as I log apples in ripening order. But, in the beginning I logged alphabetically and so the ripening season on those is from memory only and may not be super accurate.

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.

Wiliams Pride - This is a very nice sweet large early red apple. Its the kind of apple kids will like, a simple 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 could 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 have not had many fruits on this one yet.

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

State Fair - Another early small apple, more fruity than Early Joe.

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.

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 will probably remove this variety at some point.

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. Its a little too rot-prone for me so its probably not a long-term keeper, 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, but would be called boring flavor compared to later apples. Minor skin issues. Keeps really well for an early apple, for that reason its one of the better early ones.

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; with my minimal spray program nearly all rotted every year. Removed 2014.

Orenco - Gee this is pretty much your average apple, not exciting in any way. Its going to be 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.

Cherryville Black - Very sweet and savory/nutty with decent sours. It is a very nice somewhat-early apple. May get mealy if left to over-ripen, but not one of the turns-to-mush early apples. Skin is resilient stuff so few rot problems. I expect the primary reason for this guy not being popular is its relatively small size, dull skin, and pronounced spots.

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 I am keeping.

Golden Nugget - An excellent early russet apple. Watercores heavily some years but still tastes very good with all the watercore. It rots little. This is one of my favorite earlier apples.

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.

Pitmaston Pineapple - This is a great tasting apple. The flesh is a bit on the dry side but not too bad. The flavor is fantastic, suuuper sweet/sour. It beats out Roxbury Russet, Orleans Reinette, and all the other yellow school apples. If it were bigger everyone would be growing it. I have also had productivity problems with it, but it was crammed into too small a spot for a long time.

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.

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

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

Pomme Raisin - A very average tart cooking type apple. 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 - A very good apple somewhat in the Newtown school. They should age well I expect. I have not had enough years of fruiting on this one.

Ribston Pippin - Yet another excellent-tasting English apple that is getting 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. The fruits always come out very nicely, very few rot problems. 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.

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.

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

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. Prone to rot. Removed ~2008; adding back eventually as its an excellent cider apple.

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). Similar to Pomme Gris but usually better; it often has a coconut-like crunch to it which is very pleasing to eat.

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). Its going to stay around due to its potential for cider.

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 - A very good McIntosh like apple.

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 excellent as an eating apple, with a rich, delicious flavor. 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 good very large apple, it tastes like a big 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. Somewhat but not horribly prone to rot/spot.

Adam’s Perrmain - This apple has a nice nutty/savory flavor. It has a very elegant bell shape to it; on the small side though. It is somewhat prone to rots; I’m not sure if I will keep it or not.

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. Slated for removal.

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 had a fair amount of skin spotting. Removed 2012, but am going to try it again.

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. 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 spot rotting since it has a very flat top. Removed ~2016.

Hooples Antique Gold- A very nice looking apple, no rotting or 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 best 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.

Rubinette - Huge quantities of sweets, sours, and 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.

Oliver - A very nice richly-flavored apple with few rot problems. It has not fruited much so far but I am looking forward to more fruits on it.

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. Margil is getting removed.

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 balanced fruity flavor. A very nice apple, with few rot problems.

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, looks to be well worth growing. Tastes a bit like Limbertwig with a unique twang (a hint of cheddar cheese?). 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 spotted skin.

Old Nonpareil - A very good sweet/sour crunchy apple. Tons of sour in particular. Early on they are very sharp, intense. Will probably age to a really great apple based on the starches at harvest time, but I have not gotten enough of them to age due to tree in a bad spot. The main downside is the small size.

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 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 has been 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.

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.

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.

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. Its unique enough that I am hanging on to it for several more years.

Grimes Golden - I have not had enough from my tree to get a strong opinion on this apple. So far it has come through pretty well in terms of rots. The taste is in the general Golden Delicious direction; so far I prefer Hooplas and other GD types to Grimes but will give it some more time to prove itself.

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. 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, and flavorful. It stores better than Rubinette which is a similar apple. It does pretty well in terms of rots as well. 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 - A nice sweet/savory balance in the taste; looking to be another very good bulletproof southern apple.

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 can be somewhat biennial.

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. A very flavorful yellow school apple. 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 ugly and small and the bugs love them. Fortunately the diseases don’t like them nearly as much as the bugs.

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

Ashmead’s Kernel - A smaller, more dry-fleshed, uglier, more flavorful version of Golden Russet. Its not nearly as rot-prone so I kept this one and removed GR.

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 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.

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 super heavy thinning the sugars can suffer. The flesh is non-breaking and chewy, not like modern apples. This apple looks/tastes similar to Hubbardston Nonesuch but more chewy. It needs a bit of cellaring for best flavor and sweetness - it stays starchy for some time. Its not a long keeper though. I am probably going to get rid of this one but keep Hubbardston.

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 a 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. Too 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.

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.

Katherine - Wow, a really great tasty crunchy apple. According to some it needs storage to be optimal. My graft was really small but I have grafted it to better spots now and am waiting more fruit.

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 - My tree has been slow to bear (partly due to a bad spot) but what fruits I have gotten have been excellent. I like the flavor a bit more than Myers Royal Limbertwig. Its an incredible storage apple and is highly rot-resistant – another great southern apple!

Rusty Coat - 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.

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.

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.


Flavor top

General top at this point plus or minus a few

  1. Hooples Antique Gold
  2. Mutsu
  3. Blenheim Orange
  4. Suncrisp
  5. Freyberg
  6. Reine des Reinettes
  7. Gold Rush
  8. Rubinette
  9. Pitmaston Pineapple
  10. Kidds Orange Red
  11. Wagener
  12. Reinette Clochard
  13. Swayzie (similar to but better than Pomme Gris)
  14. Ashmead’s Kernel
  15. Black Limbertwig
  16. Adam’s Pearmain
  17. Newtown Pippin
  18. Golden Nugget
  19. Hawaii

Overall top - tasty, reliable, productive, disease and bug resistant, years of proving it to me

  1. Hooples Antique Gold
  2. Mutsu
  3. Blenheim Orange
  4. Gold Rush (but prone to biennial and CAR)
  5. Rubinette (but somewhat prone to rots)
  6. Reine des Reinettes (somewhat rot prone)
  7. Kidds Orange Red (very reliable non-rotter except biennial)

Early apple overall top

  1. Ginger Gold
  2. Cherryville Black
  3. Primate

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 - My trees are still to young, the apples are showing potential for cider but have not matured well so far – not enough sugars. Still under test.

Campfield - Another classic American cider apple. So far I have not gotten a good taste of it.

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.

Son of a Wick - I’m not sure what this variety is, it was labeled Chestnut but is far too late to be Chestnut. 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 good cider apple - good tannins and not too sour, plus a nice rich flavor.

Recommendations for a first timer
Top grafting Gala and Grann Smiths

Thank you, Scott. Any information about ‘Cameo’?



I’ve had them at the local U-pick, they are similar to Red Delicious to me, not the type I like the most. So, I was never interested in trying it. It seems like an easy grower based on how well they were doing at the U-pick.


very good read Scott. thanks for the info


Great report as usual Scott. I have a question. After reading about Mutsu how does the flavor of anise get into the apple. Does it have anything to do with the taste of the seeds, which are usually bitter and not to be eaten?


My Cameo are easy to grow, vigorous, large healthy apples but not all that distinctive in eating quality.
The couple of limbs of it I have on my frankentree are likely targets for replacement when I score a couple of interesting local apples for trial. (I have my eye on a handful of abandoned trees in an old orchard, two trees from the early settlers south of here, and what may be a Whitney crab and another red crab. I may have to do a little sharecropping to find space enough!)


Glad to hear that Lamb Abbey Pearmain is pretty good. It is one of the benchgrafts that took for me this year. Has anyone been able to sample a Rosemary Russet? That is the other apple benchgraft that I was able to do this year. It is supposed to be similar to Ashmead’s, but smaller and easier to grow. I had one take on EMLA 7, and one on Antonovka.


This is so very helpful for those of us just starting. I haven’t finalized my want list for next year yet, but this definitely points me in the right direction.

Thanks Scott


Thanks for the detailed report @scottfsmith. On time for me since I am looking to add more apples.


Now if someone in the North would make a similar review. :slight_smile:


I’ve had Cameos several times in season that didn’t seem very special, but I once had a locally grown Cameo that had been refrigerated until February that was one of the best, most memorable apples I’ve eaten in my whole life.


Indeed! Comparing my experiences with northerners there is a big difference on many varieties. My orchard I feel is more like the Carolina plains in terms of heat and diseases due to its location, and rotting eliminates probably 2/3rds of all varieties for me.


I am no expert on how apples make various flavors, but there must be a cellular process that makes anise-like compounds. It should not be connected with the seeds because they are isolated in their own cavities. Or so is my vague impression.

One of the most fascinating things about apples is how they can take on so many different flavors, they are a chameleon amongst fruits.


I am finding a hint of pineapple in the ananas reinette. And a bit of raspberry in Scarlett surprise. The true test would have been my ‘black boy’ peach which is supposed to have strong overtones of raspberry. But no such luck. Will keep on trying and testing until my house sells!


Even more fascinating is how some varieties can take on a range of flavors. Sweet 16 is my particular “favorite” or perhaps one I know best. It can go from full on licorice/anise to something like fake cherry candy flavor mixed with apple.

My observation from n = 3 is that on the sandy soil my dad’s tree grows in seems to produce more licorice-flavor fruit than the ones I get from a u-pick and a commericial grower here. Those are more cherry flavored.


Thanks Scott. I look forward to your apple report every year! Did you get a chance to taste Sandow this season?


Sandow didn’t fruit. I grafted it the same time and same trunk as Enterprise and Enterprise did fruit so it should fruit soon.

Speaking of Enterprise, I left off that one plus Suncrisp and Grimes and probably a bunch more. I’ll get those edited in at some point. Enterprise was bulletproof but was a big flavor disappointment, too bad as I love bulletproof apples.


Thank you very much for your input. I took me a while to finish reading the whole report.

I am happy to hear you like Katharine. I grafted a tiny scion on WP in 2017. So glad it took. Not sure when it will be big enough to produce. I may need to move it as that WP is leaning so badly and is shaded, too.


Interesting that the local Cameo from storage was so good.

Cameo was suggested to me by the apple doctor at NCSU along with Goldrush. My Cameo trees are productive and the apples are large but so far they have been very prone to bitter rot. I hope we get a dry summer so I can see how well they do without a lot of rain. I have never eaten any after they were stored a good while but they are OK off the tree.

From what I understand Cameo was developed in Washington state as a replacement for Red Delicious, but more than half of Cameo acreage in Washington state has been removed and replace with something else.


Thank you Scott for doing a recent update on your apples. Great information.