Wolf River apple: would you recommend it?

nick_b79(4/5 Southeast MN)February 14, 2014

I already have a Macintosh that the previous owners of our place planted, and put in a Honeycrisp and Sweet 16 apple. I was looking at the Wolf River as a baking apple to round out my collection, but I could have sworn I read years ago that they weren't as good or as big as they were hyped to be.

Does anyone here grow them, and would you recommend them given the fact I have my other bases pretty well covered with 3 other apple trees? Thanks!

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alan haigh

The apples are huge with not a lot of flavor, although they have enough aroma to make a fine baked apple. I grafted mine over to other varieties as it is mediocre at best- pretty soft.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:56PM
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It was about the only kind we had as a kid. They are definitely not an eating apple--too sour. They can get huge fruits. I was never that impressed with them. We never sprayed and were able to cut out the bad parts, so they might handle pests better than some varieties. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 4:59PM
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Even as a cooking apple, there are better options. But maybe in Minnesota that is what you can grow. I myself like the totally melting, messy eating, but oh so good, Cortland for baking. For cooking in a pot, most apples are good. My wife is constantly picking out the #2 and #3 from the cellar, peel, dice them, and cook, sometimes with frozen cranberries.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 8:37PM
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I'm in zone 5, near Madison. An unsprayed, barely pruned, non-thinned Wolf River at the community orchard nearby gave really huge apples. They did have bad spots, I'm hoping next year will be better if I can get the tree properly pruned.

The flavor wasn't remarkable, and they completely fell apart when I tried to can apple pie filling. It's an applesauce or frozen sliced type of apple. It'd probably be good baked whole, too.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 2:43PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

I wouldnt recommend Wolf River.
I've had them, relatively bland, and dont keep, even in optimal conditions.

If I had to pick an early-ish cooker it would be Rhode Island Greening.

The really great cookers come later in the season.

Reine des Reinettes and Calville Blanc d'Hiver come to mind as the best I've had.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 10:26PM
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We had a large old Wolf river apple in SE WI where I grew up. BIG fruit but it is a very dry apple. We liked the pies we made from it because we had no other cooking apples to compare it to.

Some old timers still claim it makes the best pies but I would rather grow something with more flavor. I would rather grow NW Greening as I feel it makes a great pie and
has a distinct flavor. Since you are in MInnesota, I am sure you are familiar with this variety since it is popular in
Minnesota and SW Wisconsin.

I find that Regent (another MN variety) is great for pie too.
I don't care for it fresh but the pie is worth driving 100 miles for. It really is special as a cooking apple.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:46AM
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I have 1/2 of a standard apple tree grafted to wolf river.I prune, thin and spray to only have large well shaped and colored apples. They look awsome when we do banquet table center displays. I just wouldn't eat one.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 8:09AM
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I planted a Wolf River a couple of years back. It has not fruited yet so I can't comment on that, but the tree has been one of the most vigorous growers of all the apples I put in. I also recall one source saying it was one of the best apples for drying.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 8:40AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I'm kinda bummed reading this thread. I bought a wolf river for my aunt in Iowa because it was supposed to be a good cooking apple. I chose it for it's resistance to canker and scab, and the fact that it keeps it's shape when cooked.

I can always graft onto it. Regent sounds wonderful.

This post was edited by milehighgirl on Thu, Feb 20, 14 at 16:27

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 3:30PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)


I was wondering if I could trade some scion of Regent with you. Send me a PM or take a look at my trade list please:)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 12:24AM
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Sorry but I do not currently have a Regent tree in my
hobby orchard so no scionwood available. I wish I did but now that I am up to 20 different varieties on 20 different trees, I will start chip budding more varieties per tree.

I don't need any more apple trees but like everyone else on
this site, I am possessed by fruit growing and want to grow more varieties than I have time/room for.

I thought my orchard was done but one of my daughters wants Snow apple and Golden delicious so I will be chip budding these onto some of my younger trees.

Perhaps some day I will have a tree like that at Fleming's orchard in Gays Mills, WI. 32 varieties on one tree? A real
site to see in Autumn.

I cooked with Regent years ago while living in Minnesota. It
made a really great pie. At least I thought so and so did family members visiting me from Wisconsin. They liked the
flavor so much, they begged me to ship them a Regent tree
as no orchards in their area offered Regent apples.

I passed this tip off to a friend who has a commercial orchard. Each fall the pies and cider donuts made on site are a big sales draw. He was surprised to hear Regent was
so good cooked based on one parent being Delicious. He tried it and agreed with me that it makes a really good pie.

Everyone has different opinions on the best pie apple, and
what they are familiar with. I hope you can find some Regent scions form somewhere.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2014 at 11:51AM
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Wolf River makes some BIG apples that are therefore easier to peel and core. They also seem to hold their shape better than ones that turn to saucy mush when cooked, like Mac or Cortland. Mild flavored flesh and I find them quite attractive as well. Tree has a nice growth habit as well with wide, spreading branches.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 9:25AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

It depend, if you want to make sauce it's nice the apple comes mush. Have no experience in Wolf River, my best cooking apple is Collet, this one will become half/half in a pie,...some mush some soft chunks,..just right for us.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 2:24PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Konrad, You have often mentioned Collet. I would like some scion. Does anyone in the US have Collet scion? I know Nick Botner had it and I never did order it from him.

BTW: Anyone know if Nick (or a representative) is selling any scion this year?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:58PM
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