Tart, Yet Tasty Apples - mini thread

I wonder if anyone could recommend a fairly ‘safe’ apple that falls into the ‘Tart But Tasty’ category - for planting in Southeastern VA? Apples do very well out in the western part of VA, but I’m not sure about here, where it is more humid in the summer. Any ideas would be very appreciated. I’d love to put a couple of trees in. We have the space . . . so I’d really love to plant a successful apple tree.
Hope this is the proper forum etiquette -
A similar topic was addressed before, about a year ago. I really didn’t think I should bring all of it back to the top of the list - so started this new one. :green_apple: Thanks for your advice!

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I’d like to find one like this as well. I have a Rhode Island Greening planted. It is supposed to be better tasting than the Granny Smith apple. The RIG was the Granny Smith apple for 200+ years before the Granny Smith came to the USA. I have a few family members that like tart but tasty apples so I am trying to find someone that has actually grown and tasted some tart and tasty apples. I’m in Ohio so we get a lot of hot and humid weather, read apple scab.


Other than tartness, you really didn’t give us much to go on. Why don’t you go to Old Virginia Apples or Century Farm Orchards or Big Horse Creek Farms websites…all are located within a couple hundred miles from the Bristol/Abingdon area. They have websites with good descriptions of apples that do well in their areas (and usually in any other zone 5-7 area in the land). From Carolina Early June apple to Winesap there are many fine apples in the region. You might try Jonathan. Or, for an organic orchard, Liberty, Enterprise or King David. applesearch.org would be another. bb


In his book, Virginian and apple expert Tom Burford touts “Green Pippin” as “tart, crisp, wonderful taste” and suitable for growing organically. I have grafted it a few places but no apples yet. I like seeing which of these old heirlooms both grow well and taste good. I think Vintage Virginia Apples sells it, not sure it’s in stock now. Tom says Green Pippin combined with a sweet apple makes the perfect pie.

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Does your Green Newtown have contorted growth? Mine does and hasn’t produced fruit yet, but it is still young. I’m curious if this is a standard trait.

Green Pippin is its own historic variety, not an alias for another variety; it has only one name and as far as I know is unrelated to Newton Pippin. A pretty rare variety.

Thanks for the clarification. The full name of my variety is Green Newtown Pippin. I’ve never seen an apple with contorted growth before.

Thanks for the source info. Has anyone tried ‘Trees of Antiquity’, as well? So many varieties. I should call them - or one of these u mentioned - and see if they have a specific variety to recommend.

In my experience it provides very high quality trees and has good customer service. Calling them is a good idea.


I am growing Reinette Simirenko. It is long-time popular commercial variety grown in the south of Russia and Ukraine. The apples are green and look very similar to Granny Smith, the taste is balanced sweet-tart, less tart then granny smith, they have special spicy aftertaste, that makes them unique. Trees are very vigorous and productive, drought and wind resistant. Apples keep well into the winter.


You might consider Crimson Topaz.
My tree produced its first apples last year and I really enjoyed them. They are tart with a crunchy texture, kinda like Honeycrisp, and form a beautiful red apple. Mine resisted disease and bug pressure very well, producing aesthetic bright red fruit clean of any imperfections.


I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Goldrush. Very tart and sweet off the tree, and gets sweeter in storage. Plus, it has decent disease resistance. It ripens late, in late October, but should be OK for your location.

Even though we have sampled only say 40-50 varieties of apples, it may be in our top five, if not top three. We’re planted one here two years ago, but it probably won’t produce any until next year.


I’m pretty sure Rambour Franc/Summer Rambo was grown in much of Virginia. It is triploid, so not a useful pollen source. My debut crop had very few viable seeds - that will improve as more saplings become flowering trees - and yet set 300 fruits. I thinned them to 85, and they remained small due to lack of viable seed within. (As more viable seeds are plump the fruit will get bigger - plant hormones.) Good stuff! Nice balance of sweet and tart, I suspect a small amount of tannin, and good fresh, baked and in sauce. Moderate sugar levels.

BTW, no disease incidence here, just need to cover 'em with footies early on to thwart codling moth larvae.

From reading, Maiden Blush seems a workable choice. I hope to graft it this spring and see if it can handle the dry heat prevailing in this pine forest. Might be a candidate for you, also.

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I would love to hear what your top five are since we both love goldrush :slight_smile:

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Well, with my very limited experience and palate, here are my 5 faves:

Golden Russet*

Other honorable mentions:

Pink Lady

Those with * are varieties we’re growing, but haven’t produced yet. Like I mentioned in another thread, there’s a Jonathan bare-root at Tractor Supply that’s calling my name…

So, I guess that most of those are pretty tart, but I like some sweet in there to balance it out. Suncrisp isn’t particularly tart, but has some unique flavors that I’ve yet to find in any other apple. Maybe that’s what some apple experts call “aromatics”, just my guess.

What are your 5 faves and 5 runners-up?

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Thanks for sharing :slight_smile: I’ve been trying to finalize my final apple varieties before spring and having a tough time deciding about Suncrisp. When I started my orchard and didn’t know what to plant, I largely trusted recommendations by this forum, but when I went to an heirloom apple orchard I didn’t like most of them! I guess most people prefer sweet fruit and as you will see from my top favorites I like extremely tart fruit, as I’ve only had these fresh off the tree:

Pink Pearl
Granny Smith
Twenty Ounce (childhood nostalgia with this one)
Pink Lady

Although I like the flavors of heirlooms I find the textures are usually too dense, but I’m not a connoseir by any means. I’ve heard great comments on Gravenstein, Reine Des Reinette, Blenheim Orange, Ashmead’s Kernal, Suncrisp and Hoople’s Antique Gold and am very tight on space but hesitant to add these due to my experience before of not necessarily responding to the same varieties of sweet tooth members. I really like cooking apples for fresh eating, like 20 oz, Bramley Seedling, Belle de Boskoop etc

What most people find inedible fresh, I adore. I’m sure most plum recommendations are all sweet as well, when the thing I like most about plums is their tart skin lol Hard to find good recommendations with this preference as most people are leaning in the other direction.

I guess I’m a black sheep on this forum :slight_smile:



I am right there, with ya. I always prefer the cooking apples - or ones with a similar taste - instead of sweet. That’s why I asked for tart recommendations. I also love that tart plum skin / sweet interior combo. And it seems that all the plum varieties are aimed at the ‘sugary’ people. LOL


I’ve had multiple positive transactions with them.

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That makes 3 of us.