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My unusual apples 2012 - how were yours?

Scott F Smith
10 years ago

Here are some apples I harvested this year. The list is in order of ripening. My climate has long hot humid summers and I don't spray a lot. So, I want apples that will take some abuse and still come through. That plus great taste, of course! The "++" etc ratings are on flavor only, not growability.

++Cherryville Black - very sweet and savory/nutty with decent sours. Extremely nice early apple. May get mealy if left to over-ripen, but not one of the turns-to-mush early apples. Skin is resilient stuff so relatively few problems. I expect the primary reason for this guy not being more popular is its relatively small size, dull skin, and pronounced spots.

+Laxton's Fortune - perfumed with rose and something else, a very nice summer apple.

+++Akane - Wonderful aromatic better-than-mac apple. I only had a couple and those had bad frog eye spot on them. Generally it is not quite up to my rough climate and limited spraying but I'm going to give it a few more years since its so tasty.

++Transparent Croncels - they have a rich taste to them something like banana/pineapple. But they are hard to ripen properly, the fruits are disease-prone, and go mealy too fast. I think this is an interesting tasting apple but it has too many disadvantages based on my experience.

-Berner Rosen - got a couple, it was pretty average. Not bad, just super average. My climate may be too hot for it. Remove.

Pigeonnet Rouge - Tasting good, somewhat less savory than I remember in past years and more like classic apple flavor. Has an unusual pointed shape. Oversets severely.

+++Kidds - Excellent as usual, crops well.

Shizuka - had one that was too early, seems a lot like Mutsu. Deer or other critter took the rest so didn't get a really good sample this year.

+Smokehouse - I forgot that this one actually has a pretty darn good flavor which is unique. Someplace says it tastes like fresh apple cider and that seems about right. It gets too many skin problems to be a top tier fruit. Has been very reliable for fruiting however.

++Orleans Reinette - A very good hard sweet/sour apple. Unfortunately fireblight has been bad due to late blooms it gets, and it has been removed.

+++Rubinette - Tree is finally in a good production mode and is my most impressive apple this year. Very good taste, both good sweets and sours as well as nice aromatics. Its a pretty hard apple with few blemish problems. Consistent sizing as well. Its more in the yellow apple school than I remember from past years - very sweet/sour and not so much aromatics. Later aged ones have good aromatics and not as sour.

Margil - An early one was solid and had a tinge of the greatness of a few years ago. Tree is having big problems getting enough vigor however and so I don't think its capable of producing a top quality apple now. Trunk looks damaged.

+++Hawaii - One sample of young tree was incredibly good, in the Freyberg league with more sweetness and aromatics but less spiciness. Fruits had few problems on them. Overall looking very promising.

+++Blenheim Orange - Incredible as usual. This guy has a fantastic rich flavor. Relatively few problems on the fruits. Has fireblight problems on late blooms however.

+Yellow Bellflower - Its a classic baked apple and that seems about right based on flavor. Perfectly OK fresh eating but not great. Probably remove eventually.

+Brownlees Russet - Tastes pretty good, has some coconut flavor to it. Nowhere near quality of Pomme Gris but may not have had good timing on picking and did not have very many. Give it one more year.

+++Hewes - a very flavorful fruit. I was planning to use it for cider but its too early. It also gets a lot of disease damage on it. The traditional Hewes is considered an October apple in mid-Atlantic and I am wondering if the modern version is not either a different apple or a mutation. You need it to be October to make cider, its too hot in September.

+++Old Nonpareil - Harvested very few of these, some squirlz took care of most of them. Early on they are very sharp, intense. Will age to a great apple, had enough starch that it was obvious it wanted to age awhile. Only downside on this guy is the small size.

+++Pomme Gris - This is a great russet, has a coconut-like texture and delicate flavor. Better than Golden Russet for fresh eating. Skin holds up very well and no bug damage, the fruits looks perfect.

+Roxbury Russet - Solid as usual, super sweet super tart.

++Meyers Royal Limbertwig - I wish I could name what is in that unique flavor, its quite flavorful in an unusual way. Excellent production of nice apples as usual.

+++Goldrush - I overcropped this guy, should have done more later thinning. Quality of fruits is very high as usual, and not much cosmetic damage.

Abbondanza - These guys have been completely average this year, not as sweet as in past and completely normal apple flavors only. Rubbery as well. Usually it is much sweeter and has a rose flavor. Tree is pretty spindly so it could be lack of vigor. I have grafted this variety elsewhere since it is usually one of my favorites.

++Reinette Clochard - This is a very sweet/tart apple in the yellow school, its as good as any of them for taste. But it seems to get much worse skin, disease, and bug problems. Also gets a bit rubbery with age.

+++Chestnut Crab - They seem like a potentially great cider fruit. Quite astringent, very similar to Wickson in flavor but smaller and more astringent. Harvest season is about right.

+++Wickson - Did not crack but birds attacked and I got nothing this year. Both Wickson and Chestnut are the "translucent flesh" schools crabs, these don't go mealy and have a more fruity flavor. No other crabs I have grown are in this school, I have Wealthy and Translucent and they are not so good.

Winesap - I haven't gotten a lot of flavor out of this variety, they may need to be aged more than I have been giving them.

+Rambour d'Hiver - another great year for this super reliable apple. The fruits always look great, its bulletproof. Heavy production. Incredibly crunchy, extraordinary keeper. Taste is a little mild but very well balanced. With age they get more flavor. Just what the doctor ordered. Looking it up it is known as a cooking apple primarily and its ancient so also fits with that.

++Newtown Pippin - Very good late keeper. I don't think its the very pinnacle as many of the old writers thought, but its certainly a good apple. Somewhat prone to skin damage.

++Pink Lady - Its usual super late self, they are all still hanging now.


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