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Heirloom Apples

The Orchard is closed for the winter. The trees are taking a much needed rest before waking up again in the spring. As always we are hoping for a bountiful crop next year!

The children of some distant day, thus to some aged man shall say, "Who planted this old apple tree?" -- William Cullen Bryant

At the Orchard at Altapass, the answer to that question is "The Clinchfield Railroad." Creighton Lee Calhoun, noted pomologist and author of Old Southern Apples, defines heirloom apples as those varieties that were grown prior to the time when "groceries" became the main source of fruit for most people, which he believes was the late 1920's. Many of our apple trees were planted by the original owners, making them heirlooms in every sense of the word.

In the following sections, you'll find information about the uses and ripening periods of all of our apples, as well as a bit of history of our heirloom apples. The apples are listed in order of ripening, earliest to latest.

If you want to study the "apple map" image, click here: Apple_Map. Or if you have the Google Earth program, you can download the KMZ file here (3MB): Google Earth KMZ.

Learn more about Creighton Lee Calhoun in this New_York_Times article.

Our Apples (in Order of Ripening Time)

Lodi (Yellow Transparent)

Lodi is the first apple of the season, ripening in early July. A tart apple, lodi is known mainly for making applesauce because it cooks down very quickly.

McIntosh

McIntosh apples can vary in color from whitish yellow to greenish blushed with red. It is a crisp, juicy, aromatic variety that is ripe in late August.

* McIntosh History

golden deliicious

Golden Delicious

Our Goldens have a red blush! This is because they are not picked before they are ripe and ready. This makes them crisp, sweet, and pungent - unlike most of those found in grocery stores. They are great for snacking, and very fine for pies, cobblers and baked apples. Golden Delicious hold their shape well when cooked. They are harvested in mid September through mid October.

grimes golden

Grimes Golden

People visit from miles away to pick this parent apple of the Golden Delicious. The Grimes Golden is ready to pick in early September. It's sweet, delicate flavor is prized for eating, cider, and jelly. It makes particularly fine apple butter.

* Grimes Golden History

   
stayman winesap

Stayman-Winesap

Cooks and cider makers make annual visits to The Orchard to pick our Staymans (locally called Stayman-Winesaps). They are also the choice of people who like hard, crisp, medium tart eating apples. No matter how many Stayman we are able to harvest, we always wish we had more. Available late September.

* Stayman Winesap History

Magnum Bonum

Magnum Bonum is called the "king of fall apples" because of its fine flavor. The skin is yellow and mostly covered with light red. It begins ripening in late September and may be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks.

* Magnum Bonum History

rome beauty

Rome Beauty

Rome is the classic pie apple - firm and tart, and holds its shape. Our supply of Rome Beauties is limited. Romes are available in late September.

* Rome Beauty History

virginia beauty

Virginia Beauty

Locally this is the favorite! With a tender fruit, a very heady apple taste, and aroma that deepens after it is picked and wrapped in newspapers for several weeks. Its color is wine with gold russeting at the stem. Locals make milk shakes from very ripe Virginia Beauties. It is also good for cobblers, pan-fried apples, and extra-sweet eating. Available late September.

* Virginia Beauty History

Wolf River

Wolf River apples are our second largest apple. Only a fair eating apple, it is best as a cooking and drying apple. It is prized for making apple butter. Wolf River begins to ripen in late September.

* Wolf River History

Yates

Yates is a small apple, but it is prized for the excellent cider it produces. It is juicy and keeps well. Yates apples being to ripen in late September.

* Yates History

king luscious

King Luscious

The largest apple we grow (it's huge) is very juicy and sweet - fine for eating and for light cooking. The King Luscious are best picked in early October.

Royal Limbertwig

Royal Limbertwig apples somewhat resemble Red Limbertwig but they are larger and do not keep as well as Red Limbertwig. The fruit is large and the skin is greenish yellow with a slight red blush on the sunny side. the flesh is yellowish, juicy, tender, and slightly acidic. Royal Limbertwig is begins to ripen in early October.

* Royal Limbertwig History

Arkansas Black

Arkansas Black is a beautiful apple and a good keeper. The fruit is medium size, nearly round. The skin is yellow, covered with deep red, almost black on the sunny side; dots numerous, small, white. Arkansas Black begins to ripen in early October.

* Arkansas Black History

york imperial

York Imperial

York is lopsided with a dull skin, but has a fabulous flavor and firm texture that improves when kept for months in a cool place. (It's odd shape is responsible for the alternative name "lop-eared Johnson.") It contributes heavily to the great taste of our late fall cider and apple butter. Fine for eating and all cooking purposes. This apple gets sweeter the longer you keep it. Available early October.

* York Imperial History

red delicious

Red Delicious

Our "Red" Delicious is a favorite lunch box apple. It is a long lasting, sweet eating apple. We also grow a few of the old-fashion Stark Red, an ancestor of Red Delicious. Available mid October.