Sunday, November 1, 2015

Waltana *

WaltanaWaltana is a product of one of California’s most talented apple breeders, Albert Etter.

Partially named for Etter’s brother Walter, the apple has a reputation as one of the master’s best works.

Waltana challenged me to identify its unusual flavors.

Medium-to-large, round and only slightly ribbed, this apple has a patch of flattened indentations that I might have dismissed had not Fred Menge of the California Rare Fruit Growers told me they are characteristic of this apple.

Waltana dent
This dent is characteristic of the breed, according to Freddy Menge.
A translucent red blush covers most of a spring-green peel, enlived by darker streaks within the blush.

The peel is glossy, and tiny lenticels are hard to spot.

The fruit's flesh is breaking crisp, light yellow, and quite juicy.

Waltana's firm crunch is satisfying and the flavors are rich, sweet, and fleeting. These do not last and each medium-grained bite ends as a mix of pulp and peel with lots of texture but very little flavor.

I am really having trouble identifying the flavors, pleasing though they are. The closest I can get is apricot and berries, along with some generic sweet cider. But there is something else I have not described well. Almond extract, perhaps.

In any case, the texture and flavor make a winning combination. However, I feel my example did not live up fully to this apple’s reputation.

Waltana is a seedling of Wagener. The pollen parent is uncertain.

A few authorities say that Waltana benefits from a some cold nights on the tree, from more time on the tree, and from storage. My sample grew in the Monterey Bay area of California and probably did not have any of that.

Waltana is also said to be a good keeper. It would have been nice to have had more than one sample to see if Waltana improves in storage. (However, I was lucky to get even one.)

Most of what I know of Etter and his apples I learned from a fascinating web page maintained by the pomologically sophisticated Greenmantle Nursery.

Other excellent Etter apples I have enjoyed are delightful Crimson Gold, startling Pink Pearl, and incomparable (at peak) Wickson.


  1. Hi Adam, I found your blog while writing a few article on apple varieties. I love it! I have never met anyone as single-mindedly interested in a fruit as me before -- I run a blog about durians. I've only been going since 2012, I am so thrilled to see that you have been writing about just apples since 2008. Makes me feel not as odd with my single-fruited obsession :)

    Where do you find all these unique varieties?

    1. Wow, Lindsay, an entire blog about Durians! Color me impressed.

      Are there many different kinds? Do you have to travel far?

      Apples are a big deal locally where I live. and in the fall every part of the country has its own special varieties.

      The current bunch of reviews are of some apples I picked up in California.

  2. I really love your blog and am glad you continue to update it. I'm sad Fruit Maven appears to have dropped off the map.

    1. Thank you, Sunny! I miss Fruit Maven too, and wish her well wherever she is.

  3. Hello, nice to find a space just for apples! I live in Eureka, CA and have a Waltana apple tree about 20 years old that hardly ever produces any apples. I have a couple of other apple trees, Gravensteins I think. Is there a bloomtime mismatch? If so, what other kind of apple should I plant to get some fruit? Thanks for any advice you may have.

    1. @unknown: I am always flattered when asked for advice about cultivating apples, but also disappointed to not be able to help.

      It sometimes happens that someone who grows apples will see your questions and have answers! I hope so in this case.

    2. According to this website

      Gravensteins are triploid, which means that they aren't good for pollinating other apple trees. So you will definitely need another apple tree to pollinate your Waltana.

  4. I also live in Eureka--in the Myrtletown area--and am considering planting a Waltana tree. But it's difficult to find out when Waltana blooms. I don't see that information online. If you can tell me when your trees bloom that would be of great help to me. Of course, apple trees need to bloom at the same time for cross pollinization to occur. Thanks.


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