The Red Delicious is an apple atrocity. Why are we growing billions of pounds of them each year?

Not everyone prefers the same thing…even unattractive women usually obtain a mate.

I will say Fuji is the best cross or offspring of the Red Delicious I have come across. Ambrosia not
nearly as good.

(It may have been more than 50 years ago, but I have eaten the original Hawkeye delicious, and it was very juicy even if not very red.) Even so, I don’t want to grow it, for I can always go out and buy a RD if I want one.

I think there is much confusion surrounding this variety. The folks that have had 1 of the original variety orchard rippend have a much different view of this apple than those buying whats labeled as such at a grocery store.


i never liked either of the delicious varieties. i refer tart apples. overly sweet is unappealing to me, thats why i prefer the older cultivars. breeders are always trying to make apples sweeter. i. wish they would concentrate more on improving the quality of tart apples instead. I’m a y. transparent, granny smith cortland type of guy.only way id eat a delicious is if I’m starving.

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And the only way I’d eat those three would be with some sugar sprinkled on them! (Or, just before they begin to rot.)

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Most Granny Smith are usually picked all green, nothing close to ripe. I’ve had some at the end of the season where there is a decent amount of blush (maybe 30%) where they are still tart, but not bad to eat. They are also a decent keeper.

Cortland can also have a decent amount of sweet to it. At least it is better than Macs :slight_smile:

I haven’t had too many Yellow Transparent and the few I’ve had leave me unable to defend them…


Here’s a link to a pic of a granny smith with some blush that I was able to let ripen last year. Lowest temps for apples on the tree? - #38 by ztom
I originally grafted half of this tree over to other varieties because I thought granny smith would be too late to ripen. It was able to hang on until the first full week of November, however, and took several nights in the 20’s and tasted very good.

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A few large commercial growers I have spoken with in NC and Va have trouble selling their RD and are reducing their RD acreage.

Unfortunately when they remove and replace the RD with something else it takes a long time to break-even on the investment in new trees (8-10 years). Topworking is less expensive but still reduces the orchard’s revenue for some time.

I have also noticed that growers who used to sell 100% of their crop wholesale, now sell a portion through Pick Your Own or directly from the farm to the consumer.

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RD acreage has been steadily declining for years. I think it is now #5 or so in the US for retail sales.

I remember good RD from when I was a kid, but I haven’t had a good one in years now.

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Yep, the acreage on RD is way down, but not nearly as much as you would expect after a drop to the number 5 slot in US sales from number 1. Apparently quite a few regions of the world still prefer solid red apples so a lot of the RD are exported.

Very interesting report for 2017 acreage by variety in Washington. Check out page 10. RD acreage is number 2 but only slightly less than Gala acreage which is number 1


A deer hunting friend told me that the deer won’t even eat a red delicious apple


Fascinating trends in that table. 4,300 acres of Cameo in 2006, but only 10 years later most of those have been ripped out or grafted over, and it is down to only 509 acres in 2017.

Thanks for catching the info on the removal of Cameo trees. My Cameo trees have been a big disappointment too and I’m about ready to remove all of them.

I have always hated RD since I was a boy (as it was completely tasteless; no sugar/ no flavor). About 12 years ago, when I was living in IN, one day I ran into a real dark red (kind of red black) batch of RD in a supermarket, so I got curious and bought a few pounds. Those ones were completely different from any apple that I have eaten before (my favorites at that time were Gala and Cameo). They were pretty sweet, flavorful and a little soft. Anyhow, I never found similar looking/ tasting ones again until I moved to upstate NY and started visiting apple orchards. Most orchards offered better RD than supermarket ones, but on a scale 1-10 I would say 7-8. However, one orchard had really good ones which I give 10. A few years later, I moved to Delaware and started visiting every Orchard within an hour driving from my house, and from among six orchards that I visited in PA, NJ and MD only one offered exceptional quality RD like the ones I found in upstate NY. To me, no other apple comes close to these fantastic RD…

In short, I think the problem with RD is the commercial practice of way too early harvest that does not allow flavor or sugar to build up in the fruit. Which is the problem of 90% of peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums that you find in supermarkets.

P.S. If any of you would like to try those truly delicious Red Delicious apples, come fall and I’d be happy to ship him/her a couple of pounds. But obviously, if you prefer crisp and tart, RD is not for you.


Its not just the early harvest, there are a huge number of sports grown now selected for super early reddening (“red on the outside green on the inside” is the goal :grin: ) plus ability to withstand shipping etc.


Is anyone else seeing some RD back in the stores that are less solid red and more striped like the original Hawkeye strain?

I tend to see the stripey ones in the organic section. I don’t know if that is intentional or not.

The best Hawkeye Delicious have a very “floral” scented flavor/smell to them. Ones that have that are exceptional apples.

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True. I remember when i was a kid, the red delicious was delicious. Not the mealy, light-weight, tasteless apple in the stores today.


Something over 35 years ago I picked several weeks for a large roadside orchard that retailed all their apples or made cider with leftovers,culls, drops. Anyhow, bottom line, I ate a few apples while picking ofcourse.
And I preferred the red delicious.

But, I also preferred Manischewitz sweet wine…and now I prefer a dry red Zin or Shiraz. That’s maybe partly why us old timers don’t like red delicious as we might have…our tastes change over time.

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Red Delicious certainly has fallen out of favor in SE WI as far as the local orchards go. Some used to have them for U-pick but most have cut them down. Sadly golden delicious is going down in popularity too locally. I am dismayed as I really enjoy some of the locally grown golden delicious. A local U-Pick we go to for apples that I do not have in my orchard used to have hoards of people for golden delicious. The past few years not many picking that variety.

I still grow red delicious as I sort of inherited a large tree on the property. When picked properly and stored for 6-8 weeks in cold storage they are really decent to eat. Crispy yet sweet. Far better than the majority of red delicious I taste at the supermarkets.

My favorite strains of delicious are still Hawkeye and Red Prince. Too bad nobody seems to offer Red Prince anymore. It was more of an orange-red skin color but the flavor for a delicious variety was exquisite.


What I see in socal is a sport of red delicious that is dark red approaching black - similar to the Arkansas black coloration – with very thick skin. Which one is this? Theses apples seem just fine nothing special, superior to the prebagged lunch box sized variety which are usually mealy and flavorless.

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I find these too in farmers markets, they are good to very good, sweet but mild flavor. I start buying them when I run out of my orchard-picked fantastic RD.