Thursday, October 30, 2008

Have a bite

These Apples are, of course, only a personal labor of love published on that greatest of all vanity presses, the internet. I'm pleasing myself--and creating an opinionated catalog of apple varieties.

If I also please you, that pleases me too. I know I have readers by the web logs of this site (no personal data about you, have no fear).

If you've wandered here and are surprised or informed or amused, please leave a comment, here or in response to any post.

If you have a favorite orchard or apple, or you've sampled these apples and have your own tasting notes, memories, stories, or links, I hope you will share them.

Here's to Autumn in New England, to you, and to the pomaceous fruit!

Update: Here's a quick tour of the site.


  1. Adam! I love your take on the I-net as "the world's greatest vanity press", and this blog is a great example of how wonderful that is. Your reviews make me want to go out and buy a bag of assorted apples.

    I tend to find I like to eat apples that are slightly warm, as opposed to chilled. Chilled apples tend to make my teeth hurt.

  2. I imagine that cold apples must taste a little different too--the cold would likely cut sweetness and dim some other flavors.

    There is a complicating factor, though: refrigerated apples keep something like seven times longer.

    I should probably work up a post about that. But it poses some logistical issues for warm-apple connoisseur, no?

    Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Adam,

    What is the sweetest apple you have found? What is your favorite?


  4. Andrew, the sweetest apple I've tasted is certainly the Honeycrisp. It's not my favorite, but is very popular and commands a premium at farmers market up this way.

    I guess my favorite is still Macoun, especially in season. I don't think they are grown much outside of the Northeast, but if you ever get the chance you should try one.

    I should probably write a post about my personal picks. That would help fill the months until apple harvest rolls around again.

    What's your favorite?

  5. I absolutely love Fuji apples. I'm trying to obtain one of the origin apples of Fuji - Ralls Janet, since I'm curious to see how it tastes - and I'd love to hand pollinate it with a yellow tart apple like Goldrush or Pristine to see what the offspring tasted like!

    I'm really not a fan of the Honeycrisp, though I am growing about 22 of the trees on Bud 118 rootstock. I know Stark Bros has another called Candycrisp -I have 5 of those trees coming.

    I've heard Newtown Spitzenburg wins taste awards - Would love to try one!

    I'd love to try a Macoun!

  6. Andrew, the tagline for this blog begins, "An amateur explores...." To demonstrate the extent of my amateur status, I ask this.

    How much difference does the pollinating tree really make to the final fruit? I have read variety descriptions that say things like, Best pollinated with such-and-such. But isn't the nature of the fruit determined by the mother tree?

    On another front, I have to admit that the idea of an apple called Candycrisp gives me a sugar headache. Still I wonder how the apple actually tastes and eats.

  7. I just read about this blog through the EvilFruitLord blog. I thoroughly enjoy the EvilFruitLord's writings and now I have another place to go and read about one of my passions, growing apples.

    I have an orchard in SE Ohio called Hocking Hills Orchard where I grow over 320 varieties of heirloom and unusual varieties of apples. Plus around 40 or so varieties of pears, most of them perry pears.

    My website is

  8. Derek, this is wonderful! Derek's orchard--here's the link in clickable form--has many many varieties, with special attention to heirlooms and antiques. His web site has many descriptions and photographs.

    This is really impressive--may the apple-eating public give this place the appreciation it deserves!

  9. Hello Adam,
    Thanks for the nice comments. My goal is to open it up as a U-Pic orchard. Maybe not this year but hopefully in 2010. I have another mature orchard about an hour NW of here that I bring apples down from to sell.

    We have a cabin rental business here at the new orchard, growing apples is my passion and this was a reason to get people here even if they are not staying at our cabins.

    I get a kick out of your descriptions, very descriptive and they make you want to go out and grab an apple.

    I will send you some unusual ones this summer and fall to sample.


  10. Derek, may your orchard flourish!

  11. Adam,

    I just stumbled upon your blog, and it's terrific. My cousins, Erick and Sue Leadbeater, are the owners of Gould Hill Orchard, in Hopkinton, NH. As you mentioned, this is the farm from which the Hampshire apple originated.

    If you've never visited Gould Hill, before you may want to stop by. The farm offers over 70 different varieties of apples--many of which are mentioned on your website. They also grow peaches. This year, the farm has new managers and has added apple crisp baked on site. You may want to check it out:

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Thank you very much for the complement, Chandlee.

    I am a huge fan of Gould Hill, which I last visited in October. I wrote about it then, one of several orchards that I describe on this blog.

    Of the apples I've reviewed that you note grow at Gould Hill, many came from Gould Hill, though I do not note that in every case.

    As recently as last month, things looked as though the orchard had been lost and would be chopped into housing lots. Its old web page had gone dark, and the news reported only failure of efforts to save the farm. On a recent trip through New Hampshire, I started scouting out replacements.

    I was overjoyed to learn that the Bassetts had taken over management and reopened Gould Hill for the season.

    My post about that is here; if you, or your cousins, have anything to add (or if I got anything wrong), I'd be delighted to host comments and/or make corrections. (I've already swapped in the new web page.) I hope you'll bring it to their attention.

    And, thanks!

  13. Hi Adam,

    I was looking on the internet for yummy descriptions of apples that I am growing for the farmer's market, and I found your site. I love it.

    It's also good to get a sense of other inspired growers, like Derek. Hi Derek! My husband and I are actually organic dairy farmers, but I planted an orchard about 6 years ago as a reaction to the felling of gravenstein apple orchards near us that were replanted with grapes. Very sad, although the growers were in a bad spot, because at $70.00 a ton for commercial apples, they could not afford to prune or harvest them.

    Now, just a few years later, Slow Foods has added Gravenstein apples to the global list of foods that must be saved, and I am getting over $2.oo a pound for my apples. (That's more per ton than the grape growers are now getting.) I now have over 50 varieties planted.

    We are in Sonoma County, California, just a few miles from the ocean, so I have focused on varieties that have done well in the north coast.

    I'd like to send you a sample of some apples from our orchard. Is that possible?

    Best Regards,

    from Olympia's Orchard in Two Rock

  14. Kathy, Gravensteins are one of my summer favorites. $70 per ton, huh? As I understand it, none of the apples grown in my state make it into the wholesale market at all.

    "50 varieties" sounds like my kind of place! I certainly hope they do well for you. If you are serious about sending me a few, I'd be tickled, and pleased to describe them here. What are some good North Coast apples?

    The best way to reach me generally is via the link on my profile page; it generates an email address in a way that can't be easily harvested by spambots. If that doesn't work for you, post another comment and we'll figure something out.

  15. Hi Adam,

    I have been reading this blog and your photos and descriptions are great.

    This spring I have taken over operation of a 12 acre apple orchard in Chester NH. We have Macintosh,Cortland,Baldwin,Northern Spy,Gravenstein,Red Delicious Golden Delicious and one unnamed late maturing green apple which is either a sport or a nursery mistake. My father in law loves this apple and picks some for his own use each year. I am developing a website for the orchard and would love it if I could have permission to use your photos of those apples and descriptions on our products page. I would attribute it with a link to your blog if you would like.

  16. Kitt, I am tremendously flattered and would love to help. I an currently "loaning" some of my photographs to the New England Apple Grower's Association (are you a member?).

    However, what I am willing to share and how is a little complicated, so I suggest we correspond (and maybe exchange phone numbers and talk). Don't post your email address or personal information here, but you can reach me privately at the email link that is in my profile.

    By the way, if you tried the link to my profile from the September 2009 comment previous to yours, that email may have misfired. Sorry about that; unfortunately the blogging software does not allow me to edit comments, even my own.

    Best of luck with your orchard!

  17. Howdy Adam
    Just thought you might have some interest in the latest installment of the ANZAC Apple War. It's been going on for nearly a century now, but I think the end is near, and "little cousin" fancies his chances in this family feud.

    Here's the latest salvos.

    and the reply

  18. Hi Adam--thought this might interest you--The Great Maine Apple Day October 23rd

  19. Kiwi & Kenn's links follow as clickable.

    Kiwi, our down-under corespondent, reports that the WTO has ruled against Australia's 90-year ban on apples from New Zealand.

    Australia is appealing the decision, claiming that the ban is a necessary quarantine to keep diseases out of the country.

    Question: Is there really no fireblight in all of Australia?

    Meanwhile Kenn's link provides information about the Great Maine Apple Day this October 23. This really sounds like a grand event.

  20. Fireblight - The first record of its presence in Australia was in April 1997 when it was identified by a New Zealand scientist who was visiting the Melbourne Botanical Gardens (Christchurch Press, May 10, 1997). The identity of the disease was confirmed by Australian and German scientists and announced by Dr Bill Roberts of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service in June (Christchurch Press, June 16, 1997).

    Extract from

  21. Found a new variety in the supermaret the other day, "Lemonade". Yes, there is a hint of it in the taste.

  22. I sometimes find lemony flavors in the russet apple family, among others. Still, I have never heard of this variety before (and can't seem to learn anything about it online either).

    New Zealand is such an apple factory that I wonder if we won't be seeing this variety here in the North one of these days.

    1. Lemonade finally made it to new England this year.

      Here's my take.

  23. Merry Christmas Adam.

    Here's an apple appearance in a local comic.

  24. Best returns of the season to you, Kiwi!

    The apple in your comic is not known to me, but appears to be a sport of Gravenstein.

  25. Happy 2011 to you Adam.
    I just thought I'd update you, the ANZAC Apple War is finally over with an official statement from the Prime Minister of Australia accepting the WTO ruling and the importation of NZ apples into Australia.

  26. Kiwi, commerce trumps all.

    I hope this means Australia's concerns about fireblight (comments above) were not serious.

  27. New Zealand is heavily investing in fire blight resistant rootstocks developed by Geneva at Cornell university. They may have more plantedthan even the unid states at this point. however, if I was the Austrailian govt I would be more concerned about importing trees, rootstocks, or other nursury stock from New Zealand as the trees themselves are more apt to carry live fireblight spores on them than washed fruit.

  28. Howdy Adam, here's a little snippet for you on the "ANZAC Apple War" I thought you might like.

    Today, John Key, the Prime Minister of New Zealand became the first NZ PM to address both Houses of the Australian Parliament. From the press conference surrounding this rare event:-

    "Mr Key also joked about the upcoming Rugby World Cup and a bet between the two sporting nations.

    He suggests if Australia and New Zealand make the final, the Prime Minister of the losing country could eat an apple of the winning country.

    "Then spend 60 seconds describing the merits and benefits of that apple and why it was such a pleasurable and enjoyable experience."

    Mr Key says he hopes the All Blacks don't lose."

  29. Gday Adam,
    I have recently become obsessed by all things apple-esque because of a heritage variety of apple called "Adams Pearmain"
    Of course you have to try it! Stephen Hayes is an amazing youtube poster and describes it here

    It is one of 6 trees given to me by a friend as a wedding present, and the first taste from the first crop had me hooked and on a new journey...
    In a few weeks I will be grafting a dozen or so old varieties onto rootstock - just need to decide which ones from my friends 200+ collection!!
    Matty B (Gippsland, Victoria, Australia)
    p.s. we dont really need nz apples being allowed into Australia, we have beautiful old orchards being ripped out already

  30. Kiwi and Matty: It is telling that apple-related tensions between your countries have entered the realm of statecraft. Diplomacy is almost always preferable to the alternative. Give peace a chance.

    Matty: Its name alone recommends Adam's Pearmain to me. Every fall brings surprises my way, perhaps this will be one of them!

  31. Just spent half my remaining funds on the two volumes of The Apples of New York. Don't worry - that isn't your fault.

    Difficult, when your major association with a home place is not people so much, but the odd apple trees - and other fruit trees.

    I know I could have read any of the online versions, but far too many dealers are buying these volumes and cutting out the color plates for sale.

    Must say, too, that even owning the books, I'll never be able to present such erudite information and opinions. But I do need a "I Stop for Apple Trees" bumpger sticker, as I continue the search for the old and 'unpopular'.

  32. Hawk, is that you? How are the apples hanging?

  33. I am looking for a place to buy baldwin apples and have them shipped to a 91 year old lady in Pa who remembers them from her childhood. I live in Michigan. Can anyone tell me where to buy and have them shipped. It would be a small order.


    Here is a link to places that sell Baldwin. Good luck!

  35. Re the Baldwins: I would start with Orange Pippin per Matt's recommendation. (I was hoping, though, that Matt, another Midwesterner, would have a local source for Mr. or Ms. anonymous above.)

    If that does not work out, you could try Scott Farm in Vermont, which wholesales to many specialty stores. I know they have Baldwins. If they don't ship, perhaps some of those specialty stores will.

    Baldwins are still easy enough to find around here (fittingly enough). They might be hard to come by this late in the season, though.

    Good luck!

  36. Here is a list from Orange Pippin of orchards that sell Baldwin. I can only attest for the Orchard at the bottom of the list - Door Creek. A wonderful Orchard. I was there the first week of October and there were no Baldwins there at that time. Best of luck!

    ◦Averill Farm, Washington Depot
    ◦Bishop's Orchard, Guilford
    ◦Bordeaux Farm, Somers
    ◦Country Corners Farm, Griswold
    ◦Scott's Yankee Farmer, East Lyme
    ◦Staehly Farms, East Haddam

    ◦Wolfe Orchard, Monticello

    ◦Boyd Orchard, Versailles

    ◦Hope Orchards, Hope
    ◦McDougal Orchards, Springvale
    ◦Raven Hill Orchard, E. Waterboro
    ◦Sweetser's Apple Barrel and Orchards, Cumberland Center

    ◦Bolton Spring Farm, Bolton
    ◦Brook Farm Orchard, Ashfield
    ◦Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury
    ◦Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield
    ◦Greenwood Farm, Northfield
    ◦Red Apple Farm, Phillipston
    ◦Russell Orchards, Ipswich
    ◦Sholan Farms, Leominster

    •New Hampshire
    ◦Alyson's Apple Orchard, Walpole
    ◦Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls
    ◦Demeritt Hill Farm, Lee
    ◦Richardson's Farm, Boscawen
    ◦Stonybrook Farm, Gilford

    •New Jersey
    ◦Riamede Farm, Chester

    •New York
    ◦Black Diamond Farm, Trumansburg

    •North Carolina
    ◦J & A Orchard, Taylorsville

    ◦Gray Wolf Plantation
    ◦Klim Orchard, Lake Ariel

    •Rhode Island
    ◦Steere Orchard, Greenville

    ◦Hockinson Hill Orchard, Brush Prairie

    ◦Door Creek Orchard, Cottage Grove

  37. Hello Adam,

    I've been reading your RSS feed for eons. Today, I discovered a new apple! The Junami appeared in my Austin supermarket for the first time. I went Googling for information about it, and apparently it was released *yesterday* from the Rainier Fruit Company. It is a startling and pleasingly delicious apple. I hope you'll be able to find some in your area.


    see this link:

    1. Well thank you, Michael! I found these at the store today. Would have a review up tonight except that it will take me a few days to unite apple, light, and camera for a photo.

      I am used not finding the new varieties for several years after their formal debut, so this is a treat.

  38. This is from the Junami website:

    This variety of apple comes from Switzerland, a cross between Ideared and Maigold with Elstar.

  39. HELLO, I just read your write-up on Smitten. I liked it as well. I will have to investigate your blog further. The reason for my leaving a comment is this: Do you know of any poems that list varieties of apples from children's literature? I have been stumped trying to track down a specific one that I remember reading eons ago. I cannot remember where or who wrote it. Just thought you might have lead for me to follow. Thank you!

    1. Hello, Vicki, and thank you.

      The only such poem that comes to mind is this French nursery rhyme.

      I'm going to guess that is not what you are seeking (or is it?), but please be in touch with the full story once you track it down. I'd like to know it too.


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