My husband and I moved “home” to the top apple growing state:
So of course we have to grow apple trees, right!?
We landed on acreage with an old orchard
(approx. 15 trees – mostly apple with a few pear and cherry).
Our kindly landlord (my dad!) let us roost comfortably on our rental land, appreciative of someone else taking over the old, somewhat neglected trees on a north facing slope. We kept many and are rotating some of them out with new plants over time.
The current trees are functional in that we get a harvest each year, most of which goes towards apple cider (for vinegar, boiled syrup, hot mulled cider, etc.), some for eating, and several wooden boxes wrapped for storage throughout the year.
Here it is June and we STILL have wrapped apples!
They are “applesauce” quality at this point or wonderful to slice and feed the sheep.
But to be honest, the quality of apples does not “knock my socks off” – they’re lacking pizzazz. Some are really delicious, but it’s all over the board.
A couple years ago we searched locally (Costco) and installed two young trees:
This is their first year bearing fruit, finally!
Still not quite content that we had planted enough new varieties, and after tasting the shockingly tart – amazingly flavorful CRABAPPLE Cider made by our neighbors,
I knew we needed to keep looking!
A visit to Poverty Lane Orchards several years ago provided us with the opportunity to taste-test several unique heirloom varieties.
One in particular caught my fancy with its small size and lavender aftertones:
described as “high-acid, great for cider and eating, small size“
Quote: “Wickson is one of our more reliable apples; they ripen late enough to miss the mid-fall heat and always set a good crop. People are expecting them to be tart like a crab, but instead like you knibble them down to the core as the flesh is crisp and very flavorful.
You are correct in suspecting they would make great cider, as they were bred by Albert Etter just for that purpose.“
The other one that most fascinated me was the rough-skinned, crisp:
described as “wonderful all-around apple for cider, eating, baking“
Who knew there was a Russet apple?
An online search found both of those varieties, shipped to my door
from Vintage Virginia Apples (excellent quality, highly recommended!)
And these trees just happen to be pollinators for each other: http://www.orangepippintrees.com/pollinationchecker.aspx
The Virginia trees transplanted so well, I couldn’t help myself, I looked for more:
with red flesh – yes, red on the inside!
Quote: “The apple is bracingly acidic with the warm sweetness of strawberries. And the fruit’s beauty tops even its flavor.”
I found them for sale by One Green World in Oregon and I am soooo excited for them to arrive!!