Who grows keepsake?

There’s been some discussion at the NAFEX site about the Keepsake apple being exceptionally good. Does anyone here grow it?

Rumor is it’s a delicious apple; very vigorous and cold hardy; but a notoriously shy bearer.

It is the child of Frostbite and Northern Spy. Resistent to fireblight and rust. And it is the only known parent of Honeycrisp! So it must be good.

But I don’t have room to trial an apple that others are reporting as unproductive.

I need to revise my comments. I went back to GardenWeb/Houzz and cannot find the original sources claiming Keepsake a shy bearer. In fact, I just found the opposite. A few sources report Keepsake to be regularly productive.

I have a couple trees in the orchard I grafted last year. It will be a couple more years before I see any fruit.

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I am looking for some wood and hope to find someone with a vigorous, established tree.


The USDA Geneva station has Keepsake budwood available through GRIN.

Its a small apple though it sounds like its big on flavor How to identify the Keepsake apple variety

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I have a 3rd leaf tree, no fruit yet to confirm ID…I wonder if the Northern Spy parentage might make this one slow to bear.

I read up Keepsake and Goldrush on Orangepippin site.

Though they have different parents, they share some similarities. Late apples, very good sweet/sharp taste, good keeper and has tendency to be biennial.

Keepsake is smaller with “unattractive. irregularly shaped”.

I have grafted it in twice, from different sources onto different trees…both times placed at the top of leader. For me it has shown extremely low vigor, and has yet to flower or fruit…4years later.

I feel like I see a lot of mixed reports on this one.

If you have trouble finding budwood, Cummins currently has some Keepsake trees for sale.

Fluffy greetings Alan.

Keepsake’s productivity varies according to climate. It is a shy bearer in warmer climates, though surprisingly the quality does not suffer and may even be better in warmer climates (though it will not keep quite as well). The vanilla taste is slightly more pronounced in warmer climates. It has a more cherry taste in cooler climates (to my taste buds).

Shy is relative anyways. On a M27 rootstock trained as an espalier you would not notice a difference because the tree can only support so many fruits, so the difference between KeepSake and Liberty in terms of bearing would not even be noticed.

The fluffy one


I have a keepsake tree on std root stock. 4th leaf was this past summer. It has not flowered yet, although several other apples on the same root stock put in at the same time have. Probably average to below in growth and vigor. But also no signs yet of winter die back or disease problems (although I don’t get many up here).

Can’t wait to tell you what they taste like, maybe next year…

I found some at my local food coop… bought 5 of them. I’ve read they are relative of Honeycrisp. All i can tell is that they do have the crunch/juiciness of a HC…but flavor isn’t so much hc…maybe a touch…)> smaller apples. I might add this one.

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I realize this thread is a year old, but I just wanted to add my thoughts on Keepsake. I have a 5th leaf Keepsake here on b118 that bore it’s first handful of fruit this year. My wife and I shared one last night and we were both totally impressed. Very crisp, nicely sweet but not overpoweringly so, juicy, complex in flavor…pretty much what we both look for in an apple.

I’ll be grafting another one or two next spring.


Good question,
This is long after your post, but the U of Minn says Keepsake is precocious. I gather it is at least among the norm for debut bloom, not notoriously tardy as you know N. Spy to be.

I hope to top-work Keepsake over a young tree this April. Anecdotes saying it has unusual flavor - unlike the common apple taste - and its parentage to Honeycrisp urge me to give it a try.

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Mine actually made a fruit last year, it was 4th leaf on B118 and had been set back by deer damage, so I was happily surprised it made even one apple.
Flavor was good, but I will withhold judgment for another few years. I look forward to keeping these over the winter someday!


I looked over the little orchard today and found loads of bloom spurs on the tree I want to top-work to Keepsake. Wunderschön!
That ramps up my hope Keepsake may bloom on it in as little as two years, since the understock has reached bearing age.
(…and people think it takes patience to brew, bottle and await maturity for a proper glass of beer! It’s almost immediate gratification when compared to making an apple tree. Thank God Keepsake is reasonably precocious.)

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The graft of Keepsake I made last year ceased growing in the height of summer. We had an 80 day dearth - way beyond a new record! - and it resumed growing about mid-August. Since then, I decided to move it to an orchard where it will have more room to perform and less expectations to meet.

Thanks, Fluffy one, for your assessment on its flavor and performance. Out West many apples develop flavors that go unnoticed elsewhere. Vanilla - like Macoun out here - sounds like a winner, even if the crops are lighter. Since Keepsake is reputed to need thinning in Minnesota, that will be a bonus, maybe even an attribute, in eastern Washington.

Any updates on folks’ Keepsakes? Flavor off the tree, in storage, how does it store, etc? And when does it mature. Thanks, Sue