I really want to talk about these! Who has experience with them? I know them as just Bellflower, but I think they’re most often Yellow Bellflower, sometimes Golden Bellflower, and sometimes spelled Bellefleur or similar. I think at least one cidery in CA picks it early and calls it “Winter Bellflower”, for all the sense that makes. It’s probably most famous as the mother of Red Delicious.
My experience starts with my friend, who will be 94 this year, who has a big Bellflower in his small orchard. The tree was planted by his father, probably in the 30s or 40s. When I met him and his orchard, the tree was 30+ feet tall, a big spreading tree with a towering spire on top, and the trunk was rotted out in the center but had 3 separate trunk remnants supporting it. Over the years we pruned it down and it’s a lot more domesticated now, but man they’re my favorite apples of all time.
They’re big and egg-shaped, pale green ripening to yellow, sometimes a little pink blush on the sunny side. They are just the sweetest, juiciest apples I’ve ever tasted. Flavor is almost honeyed, and I estimate it has about 20% more sugar than the Jonathan/Mac/Gravenstein in the orchard. They press really well and have very high juice yield. They make a very juicy, almost watery sauce that you can either mix with a drier apple or run some of the cider pomace into the processor with it to soak up the extra juice. I use it as a base for blending a lot of my ciders.
I guess Scott had one and it wasn’t too impressive, which makes me wonder if it needs our California weather to really shine. I was pleasantly surprised that a number of people requested scion- I always talk people into taking some at our local scion exchange. I just love this apple, everyone should plant one