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olpea

Need some recommendations for summer apples please

olpea
12 years ago

I've been on various fruit forums for quite a few years now, but have not been all that interested in apples before. Now I need some help.

I have a few apple trees, but most are winter apples.

I'm thinking about planting a few summer apples to offer as a companion to my summer peach sales.

There's been plenty of recommendations for various apples, but I don't recall any threads specifically directed toward summer apples.

I'm looking for apples that would ripen during peach season, maybe a mix of some tart/pie apples, some sweet tarts, and some sweets. It would also be nice if the varieties had some resistance to fireblight. They don't have to have resistance to CAR or scab. Good flavor is important.

I'm located in KS where we get pretty hot summers. On average we probably get 30 days of 95F weather with the temps generally topping out at 100F for a few days. Evenings are also hot (80F). I know some apples don't do well in heat, but not very familiar which ones tolerate heat, and which ones don't.

I already have Williams Pride on the list. I'll probably plant more Liberty (already have one) as well. But that's about all I have down so far.

Can you give me some recommendations?

Comments (39)

  • marc5
    12 years ago

    Olpea, I second the recommendation of William's Pride. It's a fantastic apple: early, firm, dark red, good balance of sweet and tart, resistant. It works really well here in Ohio. Unfortunately, the raccoons discovered it last week and completely stripped it.

    It's the only "summer" apple I have, but I'd plant a lot of it!

    Marc

  • misterbaby
    12 years ago

    Olpea, I recommend MonArk, a big pretty apple with a tart cinnamon taste and Ginger Gold, an early Golden Delicious type apple that's very nice. Both do well for me under similar growing conditions, but the former, at least, can get fireblight if not properly sprayed. Misterbaby.

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  • theaceofspades
    12 years ago

    I tried Zestar last year at the Nafex meeting in August. I liked it alot like a big(er) mac. By far the best of several summer apples we/I tried.

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    Zestar doesn't resemble Mac to my palate and is a bit like an early Honeycrisp, with the juice and crunch. If it can handle your heat, which I don't know, it would really wow your customers- they'd come back for it. Sansa is also an exceptionally pleasing apple and the sweetest thing in an apples skin I've tasted, but ripens with Zestar here. Both these apples are reliable croppers that fruit young. Ginger Gold is a bit earlier and is perfect for a farm stand in that it can be harvested early for a slightly tart apple (no chalkiness) and then gradually becomes sweet as picked later when the skin turns from green to yellow with a blush. Can be harvested for a month here. For a quite early and easy apple Pristine is certainly a good apple for its season (quite early) and would look real nice displayed next to Williams Pride. These two should ripen with Red Haven.

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    I'll second the nomination for MonArk(though I don't taste any hint of cinnamon in mine) - big, firm, crisp,tart - good for fresh eating, cooking, and drying. Ripe here in early to mid-July; will keep under refrigeration for 6 weeks or more without going mealy.

    Centennial(sweet) and Kerr(tart) edible crabs - both Dolgo offspring - are ripe in late July here - tasty little morsels to munch on.

  • marknmt
    12 years ago

    An earlier thread on the subject-

    Here is a link that might be useful: What is a good early apple by Keepitlow

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    The recs on this thread and the one Mark referenced is just the kind of info. I was looking for. Many thanks.

    A cursory list might look like this?

    Willams Pride
    MonArk
    Zestar
    Sansa
    Ginger Gold
    Pristine
    Liberty

    I could add Gala to the list, but wanted to ask if there was any significant difference b/t homegrown Galas and storebought.

    I wouldn't mind trying some crabs either, but the small size might not get them out of the gate. I'm thinking it would be hard to get people to try them.

  • franktank232
    12 years ago

    Interesting thread. I've never viewed "summer" apples as something that was worth growing. I may need to change my mind. Maybe graft a few of these on some existing trees.

  • misterbaby
    12 years ago

    You may wish to place your order very soon. I've noticed that some of these varieties are sold out through next spring at some of the nurseries. Misterbaby.

  • Scott F Smith
    12 years ago

    Olpea, I also didn't start growing summer apples but recently added some. Your list above is pretty much exactly what I decided to add of the modern varieties, except for Liberty which had too many negative taste comments (not sure why, some people also really like it). I already have Gala, I find the homegrown ones sweeter and more aromatic but smaller than the store versions.

    Scott

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    olpea,
    Somebody, sometime back, suggested that instead of 'edible crabs', which has a somewhat negative connotation, that we call them 'lunchbox apples'.
    Yes, they're smaller - 2" or so in diameter, but oh, so tasty! So, you eat 2 or 3 instead of one big ol' fat 'apple'.

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    I was eating a Yellow Transparent today and was thinking of old ladies in Kansas who might have a very sentimental attachment to the variety. It's one of those apples that a lot of people have childhood memories of. Just another angle you might consider.

    I think you might also try a suggestion box at your stand for suggestions of apples that they'd like to buy from you. It might be a waste of time, I know, but your customers would probably appreciate the gesture.

    I don't like Gala at all as grown here, but the commercial growers sell it well at farm stands. I don't like store bought Gala either- just a sweet, boring, slightly improved Red D. to me. Of course, that doesn't mean your customers wouldn't love it.

  • marknmt
    12 years ago

    Gala as it grows as a graft on my Liberty has been tasty, early, well-behaved. I would say considerably better than store bought, but not all that complex or interesting.

    Liberty, picked and stored correctly, can be a fabulous apple for a time here. I still am working on how to maximize that "time". But it is much later than the Gala.

    I wonder whether Sweet Sixteen and State Fair (U of Minn. releases) have been brought up in this context. Not truly early, but kinda; they do well here and can be excellent.

    M

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks again for all the comments. Very helpful.

    Mark,

    I have Sweet Sixteen, but supposedly it's one of those that doesn't do well in heat. Mine hasn't fruited yet, so I don't know. Don't know about State Fair either, but it's a thought.

    I may add Yellow Transparent, and keep the edible crabs in mind as well.

    As Mr. Babe mentioned, it might be tough to get all these apples for next spring unless I order from several nurseries, so some may be a no go because of unavailability.

  • theaceofspades
    12 years ago

    Lodi grows real nice here, ripens about a week ago. A Sour apple with a smooth texture for slicing. I have a tart tooth folks probably use it more for sauce and pies.

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    Like harvestman said, I do have a sentimental spot for the old Yellow Transparent.
    If only it had more than a 15 minute window of opportunity between that marvelous crisp tartness at its peak and the insipid mealiness it rapidly declines to!
    The tetraploid 'Perrine Giant' sport of YT is reputed to be larger(I need to re-graft it here), but with the same quality.

    Lodi - a seedling offspring of the old standard Yellow Transparent - is often touted as an 'improved' YT; but, in my estimation, it's only larger, and of lesser quality in all other ways.

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    And Lodi isn't quite as pretty. It lacks the luminesence. Yes, you wouldn't want to plant more than one YT because it does turn soft quickly with not more than 2 pickings, but it's earlier than anything mentioned here besides maybe Pristine.

    Why do you call Liberty a summer apple? It is a mid-season variety ripening well after Macintosh here.

    I manage a single Sweet Sixteen and it seems not that easy here- sure has taken its time to be fruitful compared to other varieties I've tried from that program.

    The question of heat's affect is interesting. Honeycrisp can take some heat, but the long hot growing season we had last year really damaged the crop all over the Hudson Valley. The quality wasn't good and they tended to drop off early. However, earlier ripening varieties are probably selected to ripen in the heat and might do better. The small crop I had of Zestar was fine last year. Minnesota does get some hot summer days, I believe.

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    "Why do you call Liberty a summer apple?"

    I was confused and got my Liberty mixed up with Redfree (which I pulled out). Liberty is indeed later.

    Thanks for catching that.

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    Olpea, I ate a Pristine apple today and I had forgotten how tasty they are. Sweeter than Williams Pride but lots of zing and very good texture. A pretty apple also. I actually like them better than William's pride although they tend to ripen all at once which might or might not serve your needs. WP has as long a picking period as any apple I know.

  • oregonwoodsmoke
    12 years ago

    You might want to taste a Yellow Transparent before you plant a tree.

    I don't like yellow transparent at all. It has about a 15 minute of edibility and it's not very interesting even when is is sort of crisp and ripe (it is never truly crisp). It cooks into applesauce very easily, but it is blah, uninteresting apple sauce.

    I use my YT to make dog food because they disintegrate easily when cooked. Nobody wants to eat them, so they'd be thrown away if the dogs wouldn't eat them mixed with meat.

    I like my Gravenstien. Same problem. They will be under-ripe in the morning and falling off the tree in the afternoon. They have a very small window to pick them, but they are delicious if you can catch them at the right time and they will keep for a couple of weeks. I love them for dried apples.

  • lifespeed
    12 years ago

    Gravenstein. Good when picked early, and when fully ripe.

  • orto
    12 years ago

    Dear All,

    I find it interesting that you have not discussed very many of the European early apples. Do they not handle the N. American climate very well, or are they not available?

    Irish Pearch
    James Grieve
    St Edmunds Russet
    Discovery

    These are the first to come to mind that are ripe in late July into August.

    I will have to dig out the Book of Apples if you are intereseted in others.

    Nice thread
    Sam

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    Orto, of those mentioned, St Ed. Rus is one often grown by apple enthusiasts here but you aint in Kansas and Olpea is trying to grow apples to sell. He's up against much different weather than what you have there, as I'm sure you know.

    Isn't that first apple Irish Peach? Seems that's another that's grown here a bit- but once again, not for commercial purposes.

  • orto
    12 years ago

    Dear Harvestman,

    Thank you, It slipped my mind when I was posting that 'selling' was a key point.

    I wish that I had better access to some of the new North American varieties here. I specialty order form the English heritage collection at Brogdale and from the University of Copenhagen pometet, but even with 2000 varieties to choose (a lot of N. American ones too) they seem to be mostly heritage.

    I will keep my eyes peeled though.

    Cheers
    Sam

  • feijoas
    12 years ago

    I have to comment re the Irish Peach...IME, it's a sad, bland, pappy little thing.
    I've tried a few straight off different trees, in different climates.
    That it's very early is the nicest thing I can say about it!

  • alan haigh
    12 years ago

    Fea fr newzee, that's my impression of most heirloom summer varieties I've tried, including ones initially bred from Russian stock here.

    I probably tasted Irish Peach when I worked at an orchard that grew about 150 heirloom varieties- all on individual trees. The selection seemed to be based most on the charm of the name and at least half were early apples and not a single one of them stood out as anything more than a weak bland shadow of a real good heirloom later in the season. St. Ed. Rus is not actually what I'd call early- maybe a late early or an early mid.

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    Oops. I missed the marketing angle, as well.

    MonArk might be on shaky ground in that arena; the nursery I originally purchased mine from made the comment, up-front, that it will require repeated picking or stop-drop application(whatever that is).
    I have no doubt that consumer acceptance of MonArk fruit quality would be high, but labor concerns may or may not disqualify it for opea's purposes.
    Certainly, for a home orchard, MonArk would be hard to beat as an early-season apple variety.

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Yes these are for sale.

    We recently purchased some land primarily for peaches My thought is to use it as a U-pick, as well as to supplement roadside/farm market sales. I plan to offer a few other fruits, besides peaches, that might be of interest as well. I often get asked, "what else do you grow?" when I sell at roadside.

    Especially for U-pick, I think the fruit not only has to taste good, but look good too. The other day a customer wouldn't buy a box of peaches until I exchanged one in the box that had some minor surface damage (very minor) for a blemish free peach.

    Lucky,

    Re: MonArk - Repeated picking doesn't bother me at all, especially for U-pick. It is a concern that it drops fruit. How bad is it in this regard?

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    Olpea,
    I really can't say - I'm not certain that I can distinguish whether they've dropped as a physiologic issue of the tree itself, or if the d@mned hooved rats are just pulling them off the tree. I do find them on the ground without having fully 'colored' - but they're pretty much full-size and certainly tasty enough at that stage - despite the bite marks from the deer. GRRR!
    I got my original MonArk from the Adairs at Classical Fruits in Moulton AL, back around 1998; I'm not sure that they're still in the nursery or orchard business. Their catalog description referenced the need for 'repeated picking or stop-drop application'. That's all I have to say about tha-at...(in my best Forrest Gump voice).

    Contact the nice folks at Vintage Virginia Apples - they grow and fruit it commercially; Charlotte could tell you how much of an issue it is for them - if at all.

  • ravenh2001
    12 years ago

    Olpea
    Pristine is a low spray early apple for me that is liked by everyone here who trys it. The problem I have with it is the slow growth. I have 5 on emla 7 and 5 on emla 106 and they are 1/2 the hight of the honeycrisp on the same root stock. They have had to be thinned every year but I can still stand on the ground and pick the top apples. In deer country that is a problem.

  • andrewjohnson
    12 years ago

    Olpea, wow I wish I had your problem - my honeycrisp is a runt (all 22 of them) and my Pristine are incredibly vogorous to the point of attracting fireblight. Pristine is my 4th of July apple. That's early.

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks Raven and Andrew,

    I do indeed intend to plant Pristine. So far my apple list looks like this:

    Pristine
    Williams Pride
    Sansa
    Zestar
    Ginger Gold
    Swiss Gourmet
    Mollies Delicious
    Grimes Golden
    Golden Nugget
    Centennial Crab

    Nobody on this forum mentioned Mollies Delicious or Swiss Gourmet, but I've heard Mollies is a decent sweet apple. I've had one Swiss Gourmet that was grown in a climate similar to mine and the apple was excellent, so I thought I'd give it a try.

    I'm having trouble finding Mollies Delicious and Ginger Gold.

  • ravenh2001
    12 years ago

    I had 3 mollies on my trees this year. but Bambi did the taste test. I am a Red Sox fan so I am used to saying "maybe next year"

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Still trying to get the last of my fruit tree orders together and am considering some more summer apples and would be interested in personal evaluations:

    Wealthy
    Pink Pearl
    Skinner's Seedling
    Liveland Raspberry

    In addition to flavor, I'd also be interested in things like premature drop, quality as grown in heat, and length of harvest window (not interested in any apples that are only good on the tree for a very short time).

    Thanks.

  • kansasapple
    12 years ago

    I'm in eastern Kansas - these are my summer choices -

    May - got mine from Big Horse Creek Farm - very early
    Early Harvest
    Yellow Transparent
    Summer Rambo - semi-productive
    Gravenstein - tried and true
    PaulaRed - Ken Krause at Fieldstone loved these - mine haven't fruited yet but I visited his Overbrook orchard many times - they were great
    Lodi - family favorite - people will drives miles and miles for Lodis (the most requested summer apple here)
    Akane - excellent growth on M111
    Statefair - performs great! Mine were on G30 and M111 - the M111s are doing much better
    Varieties like Gala and Honeycrisp don't ripen here until the end of August to mid-September.

    I've been selling pick-your-own here for years now and people just don't come out in the Kansas heat to pick 'em. You might be able to market them straight to the grocer's or do a roadside stand. I'm changing my plantings and focus to more late-season varieties.

    Give me a shout if you'd like to trade any scion wood this year. I'll still keep specimin trees of the summer apples but I'll most likely end up with extra scion wood this year with my layout changes. Rick Godsil, Wagon Wheel Orchard

    Oh - I here Ken's orchard is under new ownership - he had many of the summer apples listed if you wanted to try them before you plant them. Between his place and mine you'd be able to make a well informed decision.

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks Rick for the suggestions,

    Don't know if you recognize my handle, but we've dialogged before via email. Website below.

    I'm planning just to offer a few summer apples as a companion to peaches and offer PYO and pre-picked at Roadside and Farmer's Market.

    The new planting is over on the MO side. Probably Grandview and Belton would be the customer base for those fruits.

    It was kind of sudden that the Krause's sold their orchard. For some reason, I expected Ken to work it till he could no longer and last I saw, his health seemed good.

    I only have a few apples now and don't plan to plant more than a handful on the MO side so I'm sure I wouldn't have any apple scionwood you'd be interested in.

    Peaches are a different story. I have about 30 varieties now (not all have fruited) and have ordered another 50 different varieties for the new planting, so you're welcome to any non-patented peach wood I have.

    Best,
    Mark

    Here is a link that might be useful: Tubby Fruits

  • lucky_p
    12 years ago

    My experience with Pink Pearl was one tree. Fireblight ate it alive. Never got a chance to produce a single apple. I didn't re-plant.

    Wealthy - one of the parents of the marvelous little Centennial crab (Dolgo X Wealthy). Other than that, I have no experience with it.

  • olpea
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thanks Lucky.

    I've only tried one Pink Pearl (from Jill Vorbeck) so I don't have much of an evaluation on taste. My daughter really liked the apple though.

    Wealthy is supposed to be somewhat of a popular commercial apple for road sales. I've been told it's also supposed to take the heat, so I'm somewhat hopeful.

    I've decided against ordering a Centennial crab. Someone told me they were the size of quarters or 1/2 dollars. Unfortunately, I think that is too small to interest people, even if they do taste great.

  • kansasapple
    12 years ago

    Mark, Ken had a stroke a couple years ago. I spoke with him several times on the phone afterwards and he still seemed strong. I believe they had a winter home in Florida so he's probably a backyard citrus grower now!

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