Albemarle Pippin - Also known as Newtown Pippin or Yellow Newtown.
Thomas Jefferson wrote of this apple from France, “They have no apple
to compare with our Newtown Pippin.” And
the same can still be said today. Not
an attractive apple: medium-size;
squatty; dull, greenish-yellow skin. But
its yellow flesh is rich, crisp, and fine-flavored.
Ripens October through November and keeps well into the winter. Full sugar is said to develop in January.
Good for pies, cooking, or eating out of hand.
Susceptible to scab, but resistant to collar rot. Originated in New York
in the early 1700’s.
Arkansas Black - Originated in Benton County, Arkansas around 1870.
Probably a seedling of Stayman Winesap.
Arkansas Black is a medium to large apple.
Waxy skin is dark red, nearly black.
Flesh is yellow with distinctive flavor.
Hard when first picked, but mellows in storage.
Noted for disease resistance. A
superior, late, no-spray, keeping apple. Pulled
from the storage pit on a cold winter day, and dipped in caramel, a slice of
Arkansas Black, is a treat you won’t soon forget.
Baldwin - This old Massachusetts apple, dating to 1740, was the most widely
planted variety in the U.S. until the 1920’s.
Its decline is attributed to a tendency to biennial bearing.
It is also a triploid cultivar—hardy but sterile—thus requiring a
pollinator. Large fruit, bright red
skin with white dots. Baldwin trees are still found at old home sites; the
high-flavored apples are well worth a special trip to gather.
Ben Davis - The most widely planted apple variety in the South after the Civil
War. Think of it as the
nineteenth century’s Red Delicious. A
large, dull-red apple; hardy, vigorous, dependable, productive.
Keeps like a cobblestone. Often
described as having only passing flavor. Ms.
Genevieve Gray, an octogenarian from South Elgin, Illinois sent us a story
several years ago that well illustrates the point:
“There was a joke going around when I was a girl about a fellow who
claimed to be such an expert in recognizing apples by taste that he could
identify any kind blindfolded. He
was challenged, of course, and given apple after apple to taste--identifying
each correctly. Finally, in
desperation to fool him, one of the challengers grabbed a large piece of cork,
carved it into the shape of an apple, and offered it to him.
He bit out a chunk, hesitated, bit out another, then reluctantly admitted
that he wasn’t real sure. “I
think it’s a Ben Davis,” he said. And
then he quickly added, “But if it is, it’s the best one I’ve ever
eaten.” We would add only that
any tree that can stand up to 125 years of ribbing has earned its place in the
An old Kentucky apple sometimes known as the “Brown Apple.”
Yellow-brown skin. Juicy and good tasting.
Ripens late summer. Does not
keep well, but the deficiency is easily overlooked. Popular in southwest Virginia and eastern Kentucky.
Best-O-Reds - An old strain of Red Delicious that we offer here for the first time.
Our stock tree comes from the orchard of Amos Fisher in Strasburg,
Pennsylvania. A dull-red striped apple, we suspect that it is identical to
the original Red Delicious. But the
connection has been lost over time. Writes
Mr. Fisher, “[When] you taste it you will discover why they named it
Black Ben Davis - Seedling of Ben Davis dating to 1880.
Medium to large fruit, slightly conical, deep red all over.
Pushed for a number of years by Stark Brothers Nursery as the rightful
successor to father Ben, but eventually displaced by other patented sorts.
Said to make the best apple butter you ever tasted.
Black Limbertwig - A spicy and aromatic variety, prized for fresh eating, cider and apple
butter. Weeping type.
Ripens October. Described at a 1914 Georgia Horticultural Society meeting as
very disease resistant. We highly
recommend this rugged and full-flavored type.
Bramley’s Seedling - Said to be for many years the most popular cooking apple in England.
Fruit is large, somewhat flat, greenish-yellow with broad, broken brown
and red stripes. Sharply acid
flavor makes a fine cider. High in
vitamin C. Does well in frost pockets because of its late bloom.
A vigorous grower, though susceptible to fire blight.
Triploid, requiring a pollinator. Shows
some tendency to biennial bearing and ripens early October to November.
Keeps well, becoming quite greasy in storage.
Originated in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England around 1809 from two
pips or seeds planted in a cottage garden belonging to a couple of “maiden
ladies” by the name of Brailsford. The
original tree is reportedly still standing.
The apple gets its name from the subsequent owner of the cottage, a
butcher named Matthew Bramley.
Brushy Mountain Limbertwig - An excellent commercial variety still grown in the
Brushy Mountains of Alexander County, North Carolina. Round to slightly conical, dull red and lemon yellow in
color. Very juicy with a most
unusual, aromatic flavor. Ripens
October, will keep until June. A
Buckingham - A hundred years ago Buckingham or “Equinetely” was one of the
most popular apples available. Fruit
is large, yellow-green with mottled red stripes.
Thick skin. Crisp, juicy,
subacid flesh. Ripens September to
October. Mentioned in pomological
literature as early as 1817. Buckingham
may have originated with the Cherokee Indians in Georgia.
A must for collectors of Southern apples.
Calville Blanc d’Hiver - This classic French dessert apple dates to 1627.
Large, ribbed, and full-flavored. Very
high in vitamin C. Ripens to a
bright yellow in October. According
to apple expert, Tom Burford, of Lynchburg, Virginia, Calville Blanc “does not
produce fruit of the highest quality until it has cropped for a number of
Carolina Red June
- An old variety still widely popular in the South.
One of the best early cooking apples.
Small fruit, red over yellow. White
flesh is sometimes stained red near the skin like a Rome.
Good for pies and eating out of hand.
Ripens over a long period and does not keep well.
Chenango Strawberry - One of the most inviting apples by name. This conical, medium-sized fruit is extremely aromatic,
filling an entire room with its aroma. Skin
is blushed pink over pale white. Flesh
is juicy, tender, and mildly tart. Chenango
must be picked when fully ripe or the flesh is corky and tasteless.
Said to have originated in Chenango County, New York, 1854.
Very susceptible to fire blight.
Cox’s Orange Pippin - Perhaps the most popular English apple ever grown.
Noted for its exquisite flavor and aroma.
Taylor writes in The Apples of
England that Cox’s Orange has “all the characters so admirably blended
and balanced as to please the palate and nose as no other apple can do.”
An attractive, orange-red fruit with large patches of brown russet;
medium size; ripens September to October and keeps into January.
Does well in frost pockets. A
parent of Gala and Kidd’s Orange Red.
Duchess of Oldenburg
- An old Russian apple brought to this country from
England in 1835 when the London Horticultural Society sent scions to the
Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston.
Noted for its rugged hardiness, wide adaptability, and early bearing.
Fruit is medium-sized, flatly rectangular in shape.
Thick, pale-yellow skin is nearly covered with striking crimson stripes
and splashes. Tolerable for fresh
eating but best used as an early cooking apple.
In England, used for making tarts.
Early Harvest - Noted nineteenth century pomologist, A.J. Downing describes Early
Harvest as “the finest early apple,” and says that “the smallest
collection of apples should comprise this and the Red Astrakan.” Early Harvest ripens over a period of about a month, and in
the South may begin ripening as early as June 1st.
The yellow fruit sometimes cracks and drops prematurely.
Best for pies and sauces. Has
a rich, sprightly flavor.
Early Red Bird - Trademarked and sold by Stark Bro’s Nursery from 1915 to the
1930’s, Early Red Bird is one of the earliest of all apples, but now extremely
rare. Fruit medium, oblate, striped red. Flesh
white, juicy, rather soft, subacid to acid.
Notes one of our pomologist friends, “Early Red Bird is…a good apple
to fry with bacon or sausage for breakfast.”
Fallawater - Originated in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. A very large apple, sometimes six inches across, skin green.
Good for cooking, applesauce, drying and eating out of hand.
Popular in the 19th century and still known in West Virginia,
Virginia, and North Carolina. A
vigorous grower, producing enormous crops of apples.
Fall Pippin - Much confusion attends the name Fall
Pippin. Synonyms include
Philadelphia Pippin, Pound Royal, York Pippin, and Golden Pippin.
The variety was known before 1800, but the place of its apparently
American origin is unknown. Fruit large and round, skin thin, sometimes faintly blushed.
If you’re looking for that big “Pound Pippin” that grew on
Granddaddy’s farm, this might be it!
- Also called Snow Apple because of its white flesh. Thought to be a parent of McIntosh. Fruit is small to medium, dark red over cream, with a
distinctive, spicy flavor. Good for
dessert and cider. Dates to the
late 1600’s from French seed planted in Canada.
Tends to biennial bearing. Ripens
late summer to early autumn.
Freedom - Developed by the Cornell Research Foundation, released 1983.
Tree is vigorous with leathery leaves; fruit red over faint yellow.
A sprightly, full-flavored apple. Good
pollinator for Liberty. Ripens
October, stores until January. A
superior, all-purpose type. Freedom
is noted for its excellent disease resistance, the result of a crabapple cross
in its lineage.
- The original Gala was developed in New Zealand and introduced in
1965. This earlier-ripening
selection is medium-sized, oval to round, with reddish-orange skin.
Extremely firm flesh, very juicy, sweet and mildly aromatic.
A vigorous grower, Gala is one of the new varieties that is likely to
endure. It is the offspring of
Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin.
- We were fortunate to obtain scions of this old Virginia cider apple from Roger
Berns of Soldiers Grove, WI. Our
interest in getting a start of the Gilpin goes back to our nursery forebear,
great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, who had some good things to say about the
Gilpin in the 1887 Silver Leaf Nurseries
catalog: “Of Va. Origin; medium
or below, roundish oblong; skin smooth and handsome, richly streaked with deep
red and yellow; flesh firm, rich, juicy and good; a late keeper.”
Gilpin is also reportedly a good frost-pocket variety. We are look
forward to fruiting it in our orchard.
Golden Delicious - One of the most popular apples ever grown. Medium to large fruit, conical, golden-yellow with a fine,
sweet flavor. Golden Delicious is
self-fruitful and an excellent pollinator tree. Susceptible to cedar apple rust, but the problem is mostly
cosmetic. In 1914, Stark Bro’s
Nursery paid a much-publicized $5,000 for the parent tree. Paul Stark, who then headed up Stark Bro’s, traveled 1000
miles by rail, and another 25 miles on horseback, to Odessa, West Virginia,
after samples of the Golden Delicious were mailed to the Stark Bro’s home
office in Missouri. We defer to Mr.
Stark for the rest of the tale: “There,
looming forth in the midst of small leafless barren trees, was one tree with
rich green foliage, as if it had been transplanted from the Garden of Eden.
That tree’s boughs were bending to the ground beneath a tremendous crop
of great, glorious, glowing golden apples.
As I started for it on the run, a fear bother me.
Suppose it’s just a Grimes Golden apple after all?
I came closer and saw the apples were fifty percent larger than Grimes
Golden. I picked one and bit into
its crisp, tender, juice-laden flesh. Eureka!
I had found it!” So, for Stark Bro’s at least, there truly was “gold in
them thar hills.”
Golden Russet - An old American variety famous as a dessert and keeping apple.
One of the best varieties to blend in cider.
Fruit is medium-sized, brownish russet.
Flesh fine-grained, light yellow and crisp.
Long storage life. Vigorous
habit with a strong tendency to biennial bearing.
Fruit ripens late October and will hang on the tree into winter.
Keeps until spring.
Golden Sweet - A celebrated Connecticut fruit. Medium
to large size, pale yellow skin. Flesh
tender, sweet, and excellent—tops for making sauce.
A vigorous, long-lived tree. Ripens
July to August.
Granny Smith - Popular light green apple noted for its late (November) ripening.
Superior keeper, sprightly flavor. Good
for cooking and eating out of hand. Originated
in Australia as a chance seedling, 1868. One
of a handful of antique apples still holding its own in the commercial market.
Grimes Golden - Medium to large golden yellow apple with a rich spicy-sweet flavor.
Popular for home use. Good
for juice, cider, and eating out of hand. Ripens
October, keeps until January. Like
Golden Delicious, it is an excellent pollinator.
Dates to 1804, Brook County, West Virginia.
Hardy Cumberland - A cross of Detroit Red and Lyons made at VPI in 1961.
A good apple for the southern Appalachian highlands, showing resistance
to native diseases. Medium-sized fruit is lightly ribbed, round oblate.
Washed and striped carmine over a pale, greenish-yellow base, with
lentical dots and striking stem-end russet patterns.
Excellent eating quality: sweet
juicy, and crisp. Ripens
mid-season. Hardy to -25F.
Hawkeye Red Delicious - This is the original Red Delicious discovered by
C.M. Stark of Strark Bro’s Nursery on the farm of Jesse Hiatt in Madison
County, Iowa. According the 1922 Stark
Bro’s Centennial Fruit Book, “[Mr. Stark] secured perpetual rights to
that tree because he knew that in it he had the apple that would astound the
pomological world and bring happiness and fortune to orchardists throughout the
land.” Of course, Stark Bro’s
propagation rights to the Red Delicious eventually ran out—likewise the
enthusiastic rhetoric. Still, it is
fair to say that the original Delicious is a fine-tasting, striped red apple. The many sports of Delicious grown today, all selected for
color and productivity, have come to symbolize modern agribusiness at its worst.
Henry Clay - Another Stark Bro’s
introduction around 1910, this apple was advertised as better and earlier than
Yellow Transparent. Why it never
caught on in a mystery. Fruit
medium, of variable shape, often lopsided and ribbed.
Skin green or pale yellow, sometimes with a pinkish orange blush.
Ripens June to July.
Hewes Crab - Also know as Hughes’ Virginia Crab, Virginia Crab and Hugh’s
Virginia. Lee Calhoun notes in Old
Southern Apples, “This is the most celebrated cider apple ever grown in
the South, making a dry cider unsurpassed in flavor and keeping ability.”
Fruit small, round, green. Ripens
fall or winter in most of the south, mid-August in the Deep South. Notes an 1879 North Carolina nursery catalog, “The cider we
use comes principally from the North. It
is not equal to crab cider. Cider
should be made at home. All that is
desired for this purpose is found in the Hewe’s Crab.
This is the best winter cider crab in existence.
It is hardy, productive and makes the finest cider.
The cider keeps perfectly sweet all winter and is clear and sparkling.”
Hog Sweet - An old mountain apple of North Georgia, once thought to be extinct.
Hog Sweet is perhaps the same apple as Hog Island Sweet (originating in
New York) of which an old nursery catalog notes, “A very fine apple for the
table and for fattening stock.” Fruit
medium, round, yellow with brown specks. Worth
growing for the name alone.
Horse Apple - Origin uncertain, probably North Carolina. Medium to large apple, yellow with a pink blush and carmine
stripes. Flesh is white, coarse,
sometimes stained pink. Unusual,
tart flavor. Good for fresh eating,
cooking, vinegar, and cider. Excellent
for drying apple. Popular up until
about 1930. A vigorous and
long-lived tree; old specimens can still be found at abandoned homesteads today.
One of the best summer apples for the South.
Hyslop Crab - First noted in America in 1869, this apple was grown by our
great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, and is still being grown today by our
grandfather, Paul Davis, of Rose Hill, Virginia. A small, dull red apple, Hyslop does not inspire enthusiasm
until it is converted into a delicious light-pink jelly. Ripens August or September and will hang on the tree until
Thanksgiving. Best if picked early
in the season.
Jonagold - A cross of Jonathan and Golden Delicious developed at the Geneva, New
York breeding station, 1968. This
hardy tree produces large apples, yellow with light scarlet stripes.
Very productive. Flesh has a distinctive “breaking” quality and is noted
for its full, sweet-tart flavor. Jonagold
was once the most widely planted variety in Europe. Requires a cross pollinator.
We heartily recommend this apple for eating out of hand.
- Despite a susceptibility to fire blight, this seedling of Esopus
Spitzenburg continues to be one of the more popular apple varieties we list.
A 1903 lithograph in our possession describes Jonathan as “a very
beautiful dessert apple… its great beauty, good flavor, and productiveness in
all soils, unite to recommend it to orchard planters.”
One of the finest early varieties for eating out of hand.
King David - Found growing wild in a fence row in Washington County, Arkansas, 1893.
Thought to be a cross of Arkansas Black and Jonathan, this variety
retains the good qualities of both parents.
Tree is vigorous, disease resistant, early bearing.
Fruit is medium size, dark red over pale green, growing brighter red as
it hangs on the tree into winter. Ripens
November. A very flavorful apple.
- Writes Roger Yespen in Apples,
“An irregular hunk of an apple, with large uneven lobes and a
weight over one pound, King Luscious looks like a bland-tasting oaf but is a
pleasant surprise.” Similar to Wolf River, but bigger and arguably more
flavorful, King Luscious is one novelty apple that definitely lives up to its
name. Again borrowing from Yespen, “Although very few nurseries carry the
tree, it is worth tracking down.” We
Ladyfinger - This unusual apple name is surprisingly common in pomological
literature. Ragan’s 1905 Nomenclature
lists four apples named Lady Finger or Ladyfinger, and gives three additional
apples for which it is a synonym. Coxe
(1817) describes the variety as follows: “The
form is oblong and pointed towards the blossom end, more remarkably long than
any apple I have seen—the skin is greenish yellow; the flesh pleasant, but
much inferior to the Newton pippin; it is an early winter fruit: does not keep
well, but is an abundant bearer: the tree is of very delicate growth, with small
limbs.” Apple expert, Lee
Calhoun, thinks that Ladyfinger is a synonym for Buncombe or Crow Egg. Which Ladyfinger we actually have is uncertain at this point.
At any rate, we have a handful of Ladyfinger whips available for fall
Lewis Green - This apple comes to us from the collection of Mr. Tom Ray of Marshall,
NC. Lewis Green dates to at least
1877 when it was mentioned at the annual meeting of the American Pomological
Society. It was also described in
1904 and was said to have originated in Watauga County, North Carolina.
We have not fruited the Lewis Green ourselves.
Writes Lee Calhoun in Old Southern
Apples, “Fruit almost large, greenish yellow sometimes with a blush; dots
numerous, dark and russet…Flesh greenish white, tender, juicy, subacid. Ripe August—September or later.”
Liberty - One of the best of the new, disease resistant types.
Medium-size fruit, red all over. Firm,
juicy, flavorful flesh. Tree vigorous, heavily spurred, productive.
Highly recommended. Pairs
nicely with Freedom.
- In 1996 Mr. Leon Moyers of Harrisonburg, Virginia wrote us to see if
we offered this tree. Mr. Moyers
noted that he still had an old Lincoln in his orchard, but wanted to plant more.
When we checked through our reference material, we discovered that Mr.
Moyers’ Lincoln was thought to be extinct.
Of course, we eagerly sent for scions and now offer this unusual summer
sort to the home grower. Originating
in Texas, Lincoln is a good grower, medium size; skin green, flesh subacid and
good flavored. Ripens mid-summer
when most other varieties are still biding their time.
Liveland Raspberry - An old Russian apple, once popular in the South.
Also called Lowland Raspberry. Fruit
is round, medium to large, with red stripes over a cream background.
White flesh is often stained red, very tender, mild, subacid turning
sweet. Ripens early. Tends to biennial production.
Mature trees are not very large. Shows
some susceptibility to fire blight and is cold hardy to -50 degrees F.
- Also called the Improved Yellow Transparent, Lodi is a 1911 cross of Yellow
Transparent and Montgomery. Larger,
firmer, and a better keeper that its popular relative—but most folks still
prefer the distinctive flavor of Yellow Trans.
Lodi is good for applesauce and pies.
A dependable, productive variety. Requires
a pollinator to set fruit well.
- Mr. Tom Sauls of Chilhowie, Virginia has supplied us with scions and samples
of this old Virginia apple. We have
found the Lowry to be a thrifty grower in the nursery.
The dark red apples are medium-size, ripening September, and similar to
Virginia Beauty in flavor. Mr.
Sauls thinks they might even be better. Either
way, you’ll come out on top if you decide to join the debate.
Lyman’s Large Summer
- First exhibited at the 1847 meeting of the Michigan Horticultural
Society. Thought to have been lost
entirely at one time, but accidentally rediscovered in 1941 when a tree thought
to be Cole’s Quince was recognized to be the Lyman’s Large.
Fruit is large, smooth, green sometimes yellow.
Excellent crisp, juicy flesh. Fine
subacid flavor. Very aromatic. Ripens early to mid-August.
A great variety for fresh eating in the dead heat of summer.
Magnum Bonum - According to pple historian, Lee Calhoun, few southern apples have
received more praise in the past than Magnum Bonum. Lee describes it as “an excellent apple—tender, crisp,
juicy, aromatic, subacid.” Fruit
is medium-size, red over yellow. Grows
extremely well in the South. Ripens
September to October.
Maiden’s Blush - One of the oldest American apples.
Coxe wrote in 1817 that Maiden’s Blush was popular in the Philadelphia
markets of his day. Fruit is
medium-size, yellow, with an attractive blush on its cheek.
Flesh is light, crisp, tender, mildly subacid.
Good for cooking, fresh eating, cider, and dying.
Ripens over several weeks in September.
Origin New Jersey.
Mammoth Black Twig - Seedling of Winesap, dating to 1833. Also called “Arkansaw.”
Large, round red fruit. Tart
yellow flesh. Excellent for all
purposes. One of the very finest
apples of its size. Disease
resistant. A premier southern
McIntosh - The old standard among Northern apples. Medium size, mostly red, with green coloring where leaves
shade the fruit. The tough skin of
McIntosh makes it a good shipper. Best
suited to the higher elevations of the South.
A good general purpose apple. First
described in an 1846 issue of the Magazine
of Horticulture: “Probably a
native of Virginia or Kentucky where it is extensively cultivated and prized.”
Milam is a small to medium apple, greenish yellow to crimson.
Ripens September to October. Best
flavor around Christmas, keeps until April.
Bears heavy crops every year. Tolerant
of late frosts.
Mollies Delicious - Large fruit, slightly conical, full red color—but not a Red Delicious
type. Described by one writer as
having a “snappy, high-quality flesh.”
Tree is vigorous and productive and will “re-bloom” if hit by a
frost. A very heat tolerant variety, producing apples as far south as Louisiana.
Introduced in 1844, Mother is one of the better-known American dessert apples.
Bright, solid-red fruit. Tends
to be small. Yellow flesh is crisp and juicy, a mix of sweet and subacid
flavor. Downing said of this apple:
“This admirable fruit is to our taste unsurpassed in flavor of any of
its season.” Blooms late. Ripens
Sept. to Oct. Best in the orchard,
according to our friend, Clyde Poore, of Bristol, Tennessee.
Myers Royal Limbertwig
- The largest of the Limbertwig apples, Myers Royal
ranges from dull red to crimson on yellow.
Rich flavor. Excellent
quality. Juicy, firm and very
aromatic. Said to make a wonderful
cider. Has a semi-weeping form,
with wide crotch angles that make for easy pruning.
A dependable cropper, and one of our better selling trees.
Nickajack - Our great-great-grandfather, C.C. Davis, propagated this apple at the
Silver Leaf Nurseries in the 1880’s, so we are proud to offer it as part of
our family heritage. Also known as
Carolina Spice, Cheatam Pippin, Winter Rose, Winter Horse, Missouri Pippin, and
World’s Wonder, Nickajack is a medium to large apple with greenish-yellow skin
shaded red. Flesh firm, juicy,
briskly subacid. Ripens September
to November depending on location. Keeps
until April. Not a high-flavored
apple, but like Red Delicious, it is a dependable bearer and a good keeper.
Northern Spy - A seedling apple originating in New York in the early 1800’s.
One parent may have been Wagener. Large
fruit, red stripes over dull yellow. Skin
is thin and tender—must be handled carefully.
Flesh juicy, tender, richly tart, aromatic.
Stays fresh even after long storage.
Tree is large, upright, and vigorous.
Slow to come into bearing--on standard roots, up to 14 years! Tends also to biennial production. Recommended by Fred Lape, author of Apples and Man, as perhaps the best northern dessert variety ever
- Good for fresh eating, pies, cider, and keeping.
Has an unusual, lemony flavor. Medium
size fruit, somewhat rough-skinned, greenish yellow with a red blush. Weeping type. Another
of our better-selling trees.
Ozark Pippin - We obtained starts of this tree from our good friend Richard Moyer of
King College in Bristol, Tennessee. A
biology professor and fruit explorer, Richard tracked this rare Tennessee
cultivar to a farm belonging to one of his colleagues.
Ozark Pippin is a very large apple, roundish-conical, but flattened on
its end. Pale yellow skin is
sometimes blushed pink, with a tan basin and large, reddish areolar spots.
Flesh fine-grained, juicy, and rich.
Originated about 1850 on a farm belonging to Benjamin Ford of Washington
County, Tennessee. Also called
Paradise Winter Sweet - An old fruit lithograph in our collection
describes the Paradise as follows: “Productive,
excellent and of a fine appearance. Tree
hardy and vigorous. Fruit large and
regularly formed. November to
March.” Samples of this variety
were sent to pomologist A.J. Downing around 1842 by a Mr. Garber of Columbia,
Pennsylvania. The apple probably
originated near Paradise, Pennsylvania. Fruit
is dull green or light yellow, with a faint blush.
The fine-grained and aromatic flesh is sometimes described as having a
- Selected from a group of thirty other pink-fleshed varieties by
California fruit breeder, Albert Etter in 1944. Medium size, skin cream and pale green, sometimes blushed
red. Has a rich, sweet, aromatic
flesh. Highly esteemed as a cooking
and dessert apple. Makes a colorful
Polly Eades - Advertised in the 1934, American
Fruit Grower as a “Golden Jubilee Variety,” Polly Eades was discovered
in 1844 by nurseryman W.A. Sandefur, Sr. on a farm belonging to Ms. Polly Eades,
two miles east of Robards, Kentucky. The
tree was thought to be a seedling of Horse apple.
Fruit above medium, roundish conical, skin golden yellow with a bronzy
red blush. Flesh tender, juicy,
aromatic, subacid to tart. Blooms
late, bears early and heavily, resistant to fire blight.
Good for cooking, drying or eating out of hand.
Stores and ships well for a summer apple.
Pound Sweet - People who know this old variety are eager to keep it going.
We have offered it at different times in limited supply.
Fruit large to very large, golden yellow.
Excellent for baking. Ripens
mid to late-September. A
1960’s first-grade reader in our library tells of a child who cannot wait to
pick the first Pound Sweets ripening in the family orchard.
Would that such readers were being written today.
Ralls Genet - This apple is named after two men:
Edmund Charles Genet, ambassador to the United States from France in the
early 1800’s, and Caleb Ralls, a nurseryman from Amherst County, Virginia.
According to the 1870 Report of the American Pomological Society, it was none other than
Thomas Jefferson who encouraged the propagation of the Ralls.
As the story goes, Jefferson obtained cuttings from his friend,
“Citizen Genet,” and passed them along to Ralls (who lived near
Jefferson’s summer home) to graft. The
Ralls variety then went on to become very popular in the Ohio Valley, and in
1939 it was crossed with Red Delicious by the Japanese.
The resulting apple has claimed a significant share of the commercial
market as the now popular Fuji. Medium-size,
roundish oblate. Greenish-yellow
skin is mottled, flushed, and streaked with hues of pink, red and crimson. Flesh
is crisp and juicy. Hangs on the
tree until Christmas. Good for
keeping through the winter. Recommended
as a frost pocket apple as it blooms two weeks later than most other varieties,
thus the nickname, Neverfail. Has a
twiggy growth habit and a tendency to overbear, requiring careful annual
Reasor Green - First disseminated by our forebears at the Silver Leaf Nurseries of
Lee County, Virginia in 1887. This
tree was thought to be extinct for a number of years, but our good friend Harold
Jerrell of the Lee County, Virginia extension office helped us obtain scions the
Spring of 2001 from “Hop” Slemp of Dryden, Virginia.
Fruit roundish ovate, green with a faint to prominent scarlet blush.
Has the peculiar habit of drying when wounded, instead of rotting.
Flavor mild, juicy and excellent. (For more information on this apple,
see the article, “Apples of Your Eye,” in the Nov. 2002 issue of Smithsonian
magazine at smithsonianmag.si.edu.)
- This variety was sent to us by a lady from Oak Ridge, Tennesse—whose
name, regrettably, did not make it into our Scion Source file.
We have offered the Red Horse in limited quantity for a number of years,
and are listing it now as a “first choice” variety because it makes one of
the best dried apples we have ever tasted.
Medium size, dull red skin, a very thrifty grower, ripening mid-summer.
Red Limbertwig - This old Virginia apple has also been called Limbertwig, James River,
Green Limbertwig, Mountain Limbertwig, Common Limbertwig, American Limbertwig,
and Red Jewel. Apple historian, Lee
Calhoun thinks that it may be the parent of the many Limbertwig cultivars.
Red Limbertwig is described in one of our turn-of-the-century nursery
plates as “an Old Southern variety that ought to be in every orchard south of
the Potomac River; dull red color; sub-acid flavor; fine grower, bearer and
keeper.” Wrote the late Henry Morton of Gatlinburg, Tennessee,
“Well-known here in the Smoky Mountains as a commercial apple…good for fresh
eating, cider, apple butter, jelly. Keeps
all winter.” One of our
favorite fall apples.
Red Royal Limbetwig - We quote Henry Morton again for a wonderful, if rustic, description of
the Red Royal Limbertwig: “An
excellent variety…This is not a type of Red Limbertwig, but a type of Royal
Limbertwig. This apple is large,
round and some will be a bit conical, red with greenish yellow with stripe, and
white dots, but if tree has sufficient sunshine and proper care the color will
be red all over with white pips or dots. Very
aromatic, firm and crisp, very rich unusual pleasing taste.
One of the best for fresh eating, apple butter, cider—all purpose.
Keeps all winter. When one
eats a Red Royal Limbertwig although they are large, one apple is usually not
enough. The rich spicy aromatic
flavor usually causes one to want another of these fine apples. Apple butter made from this variety and many other
Limbertwigs will be aromatic when taken from the container at the table…We
recommend this variety to the home and commercial grower.
Tree is strong, sturdy and a vigorous grower and easy to manage…Ripens
late September early October.” Need
we say more?
Roxbury Russet - One of the oldest American apples.
Originated in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 1600’s.
Large fruit keeps very well into April or May.
Green skin covered with brown russeting.
Good for eating out of hand, exceedingly sweet, excellent for cider.
Vigorous tree, tends to biennial bearing, pollinator required.
Ripens October. Beech said, “The Roxbury is the most popular russet apple
cultivated in New York.” Hogg
said, “As a late winter dessert apple it is not to be surpassed.”
Royal Limbertwig - A very large apple. Ranges
from dull red to crimson on yellow. High
flavor, excellent quality. Juicy,
firm and very aromatic. Semi-weeping.
A dependable cropper. Ripens
October to February, but does not keep as well as Red Limbertwig.
Notes Lee Calhoun, “Royal Limbetwig seems to be better adapted to
warmer areas of the South.” Recommended
by the University of Illinois Agricultural Experimentation Station in 1896 as
high quality sort.
Rusty Coat - Similar to Roxbury Russet or Golden Russet, only darker.
Rusty Coat is by far the most popular russet apple in our region.
Dries and keeps well. Sweet
to subacid, with an unusual, nutty flavor, similar to an Asian pear. Ripens fall. Very
resistant to scab.
Originated about 1853 in Ottowa, Illinois.
Salome’s small size and poor color doomed it for commercial production,
but it is a fine variety for keeping and fresh eating.
Fruit pale yellow, mottled with pinkish red.
A good producer, resistant to scab.
- A high-quality Northern dessert apple—and the name says it all.
Writes Beach (1903) “[Seek-No-Further] is not remarkably attractive in
appearance, but at its best it has a peculiarly pleasant, rich, mild, subacid
flavor which has made it popular.” Originated
in Westfield, MA before 1796. Fruit
medium, roundish conical, dull yellow or pale green.
Ripens September to October.
- Also known as Crow Egg or Black Gilliflower, Sheepnose is especially
good for drying. Extremely conical;
skin dull red over yellow; flesh fine-grained, almost sweet.
A favorite winter apple in the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina.
As with most varieties, it ripens earlier in the Piedmont.
- An old Pennsylvania apple known for its fine flavor and ability to
produce a good crop on poor soils and in the worst exposures.
So named because it grew as a seedling by the smokehouse of a Lancaster
County farmer. Red stripes over
yellow. Very juicy, faint yellow
flesh, chewy. Ripens September and
keeps well into the winter. Noted
for its cider-like flavor.
Smokey Mt. Limbertwig
- From the collection of Henry Morton.
We do not have a fruiting tree of this Limbertwig in our orchard and have
not been able to turn up a description. We
offer this tree, nevertheless, on the strength of Mr. Morton’s reputation as a
rescuer of some of the best old mountain apples ever grown.
Spartan - A (McIntosh x Newtown Pippin) cross, noted for its high flavor and
good keeping. Spartan is dark red
with white flesh. Tree is very
productive and bears early. Fruit
ripens October, keeps until January. A
great lunchbox apple. We have a few
small whips available.
Spice of Old Virginia - Scions of this tree come to us from Ron Joyner of
Lansing, North Carolina. Perhaps
the same apple as Virginia Spice, sold in 1859 by Hopewell Nurseries of
Fredericksburg, Virginia, this tree is new to us; but with a name like Spice of
Old Virginia, we think that it is much more than a pig in a poke.
- A Northern Spy x Golden Delicious cross.
Orchardist Ed Fackler says, “This is perhaps the finest apple I’ve
ever eaten.” Fruit is red striped
over green; flesh juicy, sweet, distinctively flavored.
Ripens late, a good keeper. Tree
vigorous, requiring early training. Biennial
bearer. Requires cross pollination.
Spitzenburg - Also known as Esopus Spitzenburg, this renowned dessert apple was
known to Americans even before the Revolutionary War and is said to be Thomas
Jefferson’s favorite. Spitzenburg
has been described as the “finest apple in the world when perfectly ripe.”
Its large oblong fruit is a lively, brilliant red covered with yellow
specks and gray dots. Flesh is
crisp, aromatic, fine-grained and juicy, with a rich, spicy flavor.
Has a distinctive, weeping appearance and tends to biennial bearing.
Fruit ripens unevenly late September to early October; flavor is enhanced
in storage, peaking late December. Will
keep until May. Pollinator
required. Problems with scab,
canker and collar rot are not uncommon. Still,
Spitzenburg is a must for connoisseurs of American dessert apples.
St. Edmunds Pippin - Originated and Bury, St. Edmunds, 1870. Perhaps the most beautiful of all russet apples. Described by
one pomological writer as a “uniformly flat-round fruit. Entirely covered with a flawless, smooth, pure golden or fawn
colored russet. Very juicy, crisp,
yellowish flesh [with a] rich pear-like flavor.” Great for cider or fresh eating, with a distinctive tangy
sweetness. Has a compact growth
habit and is a heavy but irregular cropper.
Ripens early September before most other russets.
A tip and spur bearer, this tree requires careful pruning and thinning.
Fruit bruises easily and does not store well.
Recognized as one of the six best apples of England.
Stayman Winesap - Seedling of the original Winesap, introduced by Dr. Stayman of
Kansas, 1866. Fruit dull red over
yellow. Spicy-tart flavor.
Ripens October. Must have a pollinator to set fruit. One of the best apples for baking and cider.
Now popular, Stayman is described in one of our great-grandfather, Elmer
Davis’s, turn-of-the-century nursery plates as “the coming apple.”
- A French apple that reportedly originated in the village of Rambure,
near Abbeville, France before 1535. Popular
in the U.S. since colonial times, Rambo is medium to large with bright red
stripes over a green base. Tree
vigorous with a spreading habit, very productive.
Flesh rich, mild, subacid. Makes
an apple butter that is hard to beat. (See
illustration pg. 18, Rambour D’ Ete’.)
Sweet Sixteen - Developed at the University of Minnesota, 1978, as a cross of Malinda
and Northern Spy. Apple is medium
to large, noted for its crisp, sweet flesh, and unique banana-nut flavor.
An excellent dessert apple, good for pies and sauces.
Tree is annually productive and very cold hardy, late blooming and
precocious. Also resistant to fire blight and scab. Available on full-size or semi-dwarf roots.
Twenty Ounce Pippin - Originated in upstate New York, 1840. As the name implies, Twenty Ounce is a very large apple.
Attractive fruit, red stripes over a greenish background.
Semi-firm, white flesh. Tree
extremely vigorous, bears young, medium size at maturity.
Ripens unevenly September to October.
One of the premier cooking apples of the nineteenth century. Noted for disease resistance, but we have seen fire blight
strikes on some of our trees. Apparently,
Twenty Ounce is vigorous enough to outgrow any damage.
- An apple of striking beauty with its purple color and white dots.
Very juicy with a rich sweet flavor, excellent quality.
Rated tops for fresh eating. Keeps
all winter. Weeping type.
Virginia Beauty - An 1826 chance seedling from Carrol (then Grayson) County, Virginia.
Dark, dull-red skin, with a greenish yellow cap near the stem.
Flavor is unique, sweet and mellow with hints of cherry and almond.
Good for eating out of hand. Also
a good keeper. Very popular in
Southwest Virginia, and one of our best-selling trees.
We heartily recommend this apple to every home orchardist.
Virginia Gold - A cross of Albemarle Pippin and Golden Delicious, made at the
Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station some 40 years ago.
Seems now to be catching on with commercial growers.
Medium fruit, yellow skin. Not
as sprightly as Albemarle Pippin or as sweet as Golden Delicious, but highly
praised for its fine flavor and excellent keeping.
Great for sauces and pies. Shows
some susceptibility to summer rots.
Walker Pippin - An old southern apple of some distinction. Likely the same as Walker’s Yellow. Fruit is medium to large, golden yellow, with a reportedly
firm and juicy flesh that is rather tart. Ripens
October-February. This tree has not
fruited for us in the orchard, but has performed well in our nursery beds,
growing easily 5’ in a single season. We think that this variety shows promise as a disease
White Limbertwig - Like most of our Limbertwig varieties, this one comes from the Henry
Morton collection. White
Limbertwig has not fruited for us, but we can affirm that, like Walker Pippin,
it is an extremely vigorous grower in the nursery.
Looking for a Limbertwig cultivar that grows like a weed?
This is certainly the one to try.
Winesap - We are now offering two strains of what we presume to be old-time
Winesaps—one from Lee County, Virginia, the other from Johnson City,
Tennessee. These trees are hardy and productive.
The apples are dark red, medium to large. Their rich, vinous flavor is
like an explosion in the mouth.
Winter Banana - Originated in Indiana, 1876—now widely known.
Large yellow fruit with a rosy cheek and characteristic “suture”
line. Flesh is crisp and a bit
coarse, juicy, tangy, aromatic. Flavor faintly reminiscent of banana. Good for fresh eating and cider, but turns mealy in storage.
Winter Banana is heavily spurred and an excellent pollinator tree.
If you plan on planting half a dozen varieties, consider making one of
them a Winter Banana.
Winter Jon - A hard-to-find southern variety, also known as Sour Jon.
Fruit is small, greenish yellow. Tree
hardy and vigorous. According to
James Lawson of Lawson’s Nursery in middle Georgia, Winter Jon is “real good
for pies, jelly, frying, or eating out of hand when full[y] ripe.”
Wismer’s Dessert - A northern variety, originating in Ontario, 1897.
Colored like a Spitzenburg, Wismer’s Dessert has a yellow flesh that is
fine-flavored and aromatic. Ripens
late. Writes Fred Sears in Productive
Orcharding, 1927, “Wismer’s Dessert may be a better apple [than
Baldwin], but so few people know it that the orchard man can sell a thousand
barrels of Baldwins to one of Wismer’s Dessert.”
Wolf River - Originated as a seedling of Alexander near Freemont, Wisconsin, 1875.
One of the better known “big” apples.
Dull red over yellow. Flesh
somewhat coarse, juicy, subacid. Ripens
October. Good for baking and pies.
Rates with Maiden’s Blush as a top drying apple.
Tree large, vigorous, long lived and productive, though susceptible to
fire blight. A great variety for
putting away lots of apple butter.
Another old Georgia apple, dating to 1813.
Small fruit, white skin mostly covered with shades and stripes of dark
red. Flesh tinged red, very juicy.
Superb spicy flavor. Ripens
late and keeps very well. A top
winter cider apple for the deep South.
Hardy Zones 6-8.
Yellow Transparent - An old Russian apple dating to 1870. Commonly known as June Apple.
Comes into bearing very early and yields immense crops.
Fruit is medium to large with greenish-yellow skin, nearly white when
fully ripe. Flesh is light, fine-grained, juicy, rich, subacid.
Cooks up in about five minutes, and makes a buttermilk biscuit taste like
breakfast for a king. Pollinator
required—a second Transparent
will do. This is one of our
York Imperial - Often known by it original name, Johnson’s Fine Winter—or its corruption, Jonathan Winter—this apple originated near York, Pennsylvania, 1830. York is easy to recognize because of its lopsided (or more properly stated: oblique) shape. Fruit is medium to large, with a orange-red blush. Yellow flesh is sprightly, subacid. Good for cooking or eating fresh through the winter. Charles Downing described York in the 1850’s as an “imperial keeper.”
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