Apple Report 2013

bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)September 30, 2013

It may be a bit early for an apple report, but all my apples except Goldrush and Sundance are done. Many finished before I expected, either due to earlier ripening, or just running out of apples on the tree.

This is the first year I've gotten fruit from most of these trees (except Goldrush, Priscilla, and Ecos Red), so the sample size is not large. I admire what Scott has done on this board and want to contribute in the same way, though I realize I'll need a lot more years before I can have that depth of experience.

Williams Pride- 10.5-14 brix, Not bad summer apple. I liked the early August ones (crunchy, tart, 11-12 brix) because they were all I had. In late August, they started to get into the 13-14 range with some watercore and were more popular when I shared them. Size a bit variable, about half large (3+") and half medium (~2.5"). 2nd-4th week of August, tree- 3rd year, G11, sample: ~40

Akane- 14-16.9 brix, Very white flesh. Good crunch, with sharp flavor. Quite tart, considering the brix. Last week of August, tree- 3rd year M27, sample: ~4

Prima?- 14-15 brix, Sweet, fruity taste, with tender, firm, but not crunchy flesh. Was supposed to be Pitmaston Pineapple, but appears to be another variety, possibly Prima. This is based on the season, fruit description (60-90% red coloring, taste, etc), disease resistance of the tree (good), and the fact that it is alphabetically adjacent. Last week of August, tree- 2nd year G16(?), sample: 2

Egremont Russet- 13.5-14.5 brix, Fell off tree too early, in mid-late august. Pretty dry. Hopefully they will be better if I can keep them hanging longer. tree- 2nd year B9/B118, sample: 3-4

Priscilla- 12-15 brix, At its best, this apple is pretty good, though not great. But, it seems to be a very inconsistent apple. Even though it was well thinned, quite a few fruit didn't size up at all (sometimes when it was the only one on the branch...). It also dropped a lot of fruit early, which often had a very soft texture. Randomly interspersed, there were hard crunchy apples with good sweetness and a mild interesting flavor. Last week of Aug, first of Sept, tree- 3rd year, B9, sample: ~30

Winecrisp- 14-17 brix, This tree has never grown well for me, with small branches, and not so many leaves. So even though it produced only 5 apples, none were very large (2.3" was the largest). They were very hard and crisp, with a surprising amount of sugar, given the few leaves (late in the season, there were only 1-2 leaves on some branches). Even with the sugar, it didn't have much flavor (not bad- just noting too interesting). I tried keeping one in the fridge for a few weeks and didn't detect any difference. I wonder what this would taste like, if I was able to get it to ripen properly on the tree into mid-October. Late Aug- Mid Sept, tree- 3rd year, G11, sample: 5

Ecos Red- 10.6-12.5 brix, Battery acid flavor, without enough sugar. Juicy, with good crunch when not too ripe (last year they went soft quickly). Small apple, with lots of biter pit. I've been grafting over this tree and will continue. First 2 weeks of Sept, tree- 4th year, Ranetka, sample: 4

Kidds Orange Red- 14-17.5 brix, Very good flavor, with plenty of sweetness. Narrow ripening window (seeds just finishing turning black on 8/28 and overripe on 9/11). When picked at the right time, it also has nice crunch. Good sized apples (most medium-large, with one 3.5" diameter). First week Sept, tree- 2nd year G11/MM111, sample: 6

Karmijn De Sonnaville- 17-19 brix, Most cracked and rotted, so I was only able to sample a few (most of which were damaged necessitating picking). Very strong almost harsh flavor. I'm not sure if additional ripening, or time off the tree is needed. But, the brix is there... First week Sept, tree- 2nd year potted M27., sample: 3

Sweet Sixteen- 12-16.5 brix, My new favorite mid season apple. The early ones have a nice tart kick with decent sweetness (13-14 around Sept 1st). By mid September, when I ran through the tree, it was up to ~15 brix, without much tart, but with an intense interesting flavor. The flavor varied, but in some I definitely tasted cherry candy. I compared some of these with a Jonathon (formerly my September favorite, along with Honeycrisp) from the Farmer's market and it was no contest. Speaking of Honeycrisp, some of the early SS have a background favor I've tasted in Honeycrisp before. Decent crunch, but not super-dense or hard. First 2 weeks of Sept, tree- 3rd year, B9, sample: 30-40

Liberty- 11-18.5 brix, The sweetness and flavor was not consistent, ranging from tart to sweet, all in the same apple. One had brix ranging from 12.5-18.5, which strangely was the first I picked on 9/5. Fruit picked 2 weeks later was 3-5 % points lower. Good crunch and large size (2.9-3.5"). I remember picking this at a PYO years ago and not being impressed. Maybe light penetration is particularly important. My small tree gets plenty and the reddest parts were most tasty. Mid Sept, tree- 2nd year G65, sample: 3

Ashmead's Kernel- 13-20 brix, The one near 20 brix was very good. The ones in the 13-15 area were pretty harsh and could have used more time to ripen. Lots of biter pit. Mid Sept, tree- 3rd year potted M27, sample: 3

Roxbury Russet- 14.5-20 brix, Two of the 3 fruit were at least partially overripe (mealy, dry). This one surprised me, as I thought it would be a later variety. When not overripe, it appears to be crisp and firm, but not hard/crunchy. It had a mild sweet flavor. It is a very small tree, as I runted it out a bit by letting it carry an apple in its planting year. I'm interested in seeing what this can do once it is a bit more mature. Mid Sept, tree- 2nd year, G11/MM111, sample: 3

Sundance- 12.5-15 brix, Very hard and crunchy, with powerful tart flavor (stronger than the early Goldrushs...). Has enough sugar to be interesting. I like strong flavor, but this is on the border for me (but has been my mom's favorite). I have one left on the tree- maybe in another week or two it will be even better. It is a uniformly large apple, with all of mine in the 3-3.5" range. Mid-Late Sept, tree- 3rd year, G11, sample: 6-7

Hudson's Golden Gem- 12-14.2 brix, Large size (>3"), juicy, with pleasant mild flavor. Oxidize quickly. Most of the fruit on the tree cracked and rotted, leaving a single apple, which may have increased the size. With a single apple, I wasn't able to test into the right picking time and 9/17 was too early. Early Oct?, tree- 3rd year M27, sample: 1

Goldrush- TBD (16.5 of a few drops) brix, Most are still ripening on the tree. Top quality, based on last year and even a few of the recent drops are pretty good, though they will be better in a month. Late Oct, tree- 3rd year G16, sample: ~50 (TBD)

On the way next year (I think): Mother, Red Boskoop, Pomme Gris and Crimson Crisp, with another 25+ in the pipeline (but I have no idea how long it will take some of the new grafts to fruit).

Pictured below: Roxbury Russet from 9/21 (half was good with 19+ brix, half was mealy)

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This is the best year for apples I can ever recall. I only have Gala ripened so far, and like everything else this year, they were late ripening, not til after mid September. But worth waiting for. Big, crisp, juicy, sweet and flawless. What a bounty!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 10:14AM
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It seems everywhere I look there is a tree LOADED with apples in my area. ALong the road, in fields, in a few planted areas I drive by, my orchard. One person who gets out and has an ear to the land tells me he sees apples on trees that have never had apples on them. This looks like "the year" for apples. In my area at least.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 12:12PM
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megamav(5a - NY)

Great report Bob.
After reading your report on Egremont Russet im glad I decided not to graft that one.

The low BRIX is surprising, I've read they are capable of close to 20.
I've also read that they store well, but get DRIER and develop a light tannin thats great for cider.

Pomme Gris and Ross Nonpareil will likely be my only 2 full russets.
It seems those 2 are the only reliable way to go.

Keep those reports coming, the only Kidd's Orange Red I've eaten so far was really great, not past, picked September 20th.
I also have one picked September 25th and one September 29th. Both in storage, we'll see if there is much quality difference over a 10 day period.

I should get one of those fancy refractometers in the next few years to truly judge sugar levels.

Good report! Keep it up!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:10PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Bob thanks for the report especially on Winecrisp. I've been thinking about planting that because it's supposed to do well in hot southern areas. It still sounds better to me than Honeycrisp. No apples here this year. Maybe our big year will be next year, a big bloom anyway.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 1:22PM
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Great report. My roxberry russets and most all on google images are totally russeted. Any clue why yours have so little?

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 6:27PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

The refractometer is cheap, considering all the use I've gotten out of it ($35). I wouldn't give up on Egremont Russet based on this one small sample. It is worth noting that the 3 trees (Roxbury Russet, Kidds Orange Red, and Egremont Russet) with unusually early ripening were all 2nd year trees on interstem rootstocks and next to each other in a row. I'm not sure what would cause it, but it affected all 3.

You lost all your apples in the late frosts this year? Winecrisp at least gets pretty good brix levels, while remaining hard, in the hot part of the summer. I'm not sure why I lose so many leaves. Part of it is Cedar Apple Rust, but it doesn't seem to impact my other trees that badly.

That's a good point. I'm not sure why it isn't more russeted. Maybe due to good southern exposure on a scrawny tree? It was bagged, but if anything, I think that can increase russeting. Here's another pic, where it is at least partially russet:

Upper right: Roxbury Russet
Lower right: Ashmead's Kernel
Lower left: Sundance (the only one not bagged in this photo)
Upper left: Goldrush (fell from tree with some damage at calyx end)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 12:02AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bob, thanks for the report. I should buy a refractometer, I have gotten pretty good at getting the sugar levels with my tongue but it would be good to have an absolute scale from year to year etc.

Hopefully when my apples are all done I will add in how they did. I have had the same problems with Hudsons, most of the apples don't make it to full ripening. The worms and stinkbugs seems extra attracted to my tree as well, not sure if its the variety or the location. Karmijn I didn't ever get to produce, and from all the reports on problems ripening I took it out a few years ago. Those two apples I don't think are good east coast apples. I have also had a lot of problems with Akane, the apples get skin diseases and then they rot. The summer diseases can take a few years to get going so you may be seeing problems on that in a few years. Note I do almost no spraying after curculio season on my apples.

One thing you will find is depending on the variety the first couple years of fruit can be misleading. Rubinette was a mediocre to bad apple for two years and then it turned into one of my very best from then on out. This year it was probably my best apple, off the charts with flavor and surely over 20 brix.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:58AM
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megamav(5a - NY)


With all of this Rubinette love, will it supplant Freyberg as your favorite?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:49AM
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I picked all the McIntosh and Haralson last night. Perfect
timing. Excellent color and flavor. My red delicious needs perhaps 5 more days and the Northern Spy not
ready for another 2 weeks.

Fantastic size on the spy! The rest were ok but could have been thinnned more if I had found the time this past JUne. I got them thinned out to only one per flower
cluster but did not get them all thinned to at least 6" apart as planned.

The grape crop was huge this year. The concords were
about 5 days early. The wasps got so bad I finally got them all picked before too much damage. Some made into juice and jelly and still lots to process. Picking just one vine filled up a paper grocery bag to the top and I still had grapes left to pick on the same vine!

Speaking of Winecrisp, I was sorry to see how much apple scab is on the ones I sell at work. They were not sprayed in the sales section, but I thought they were hyped up as having great resistance to scab? The leaves were loaded with scab.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:46AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Megamav, the Freyburg has been stolen by squirrels for several years now, its right by their access point. So its still tops but maybe not the next time I get a taste of it. Rubinette I keep moving up, its at #3 now (GoldRush is #2).


    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 6:02PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Scott, I've held off on Rubinette so far due to concerns about its scab susceptibility. Have you had any issues with it on that count? As far as I know, my only variety without decent resistance is Karmijn. And to address that, I have it in a pot which I can move under an overhang when several days of rain is on the way (when I remember).

Akane was OK for me this year, though it was small (M27) and only had a few apples. Goldrush and Sundance have both had some rotting late in the season. In fact, all the Goldrush I've picked so far are due to damage.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 11:48PM
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alan haigh

One thing about rating varieties,anyone's list is bound to change quite a bit over the years so recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt. At least, any recommendations I make should. I fall in love with varieties that have amazing fruit one year and then it turns out only to be a crush when the quality sinks to mediocrity the next.

My latest crush is Erwin Baur picked from two separate trees for the first time this year. Weirdly, the first were ripe in late Aug, which makes no sense, but it was seemingly the same apple as one I picked off a nursery tree with the same label a couple of days ago- more like the right time.

The tree with the early fruit is in my orchard and I hope that it was just a fluke because I can't store early Sept apples. It will still be useful, but now I'm reluctant to sell the other tree because I prefer an apple that ripens now or later then something picked in late Aug. The later tree doesn't have good grafting wood.

Perfect apple for me- red the way I like them and hard, fully flavored with sugar and acid- slightly more tart than sweet (whatever that means). Tastes like an apple, not licorice or pineapple. I don't like lime in my beer either. Freyberg and Sweet 16 are in the lime in beer class for me.

An apple I agree with Scott on is Goldrush, although, like most apples here, it was not great last year. Off the tree it was good but quickly turned into a bland Golden Delicious in storage. And it was the only apple I was able to store in quantity because of extreme squirrel pressure all over. Crazy, I worked so hard to protect those apples and by Feb. I stopped eating them because they were so bland although texture was still good.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:59AM
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megamav(5a - NY)

JohnS in PDX also recommended Erwin Baur.
Sounds interesting, anecdotes read: similar to Cox in flavor, but a hard, crisp apple.
Supposed to ripen early to mid October.

This post was edited by megamav on Wed, Oct 2, 13 at 9:14

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bob, I have very little scab in my orchard. I don't know why, but I do lay down a lot of sulphur in the spring. Only a few varieties get scabby and Rubinette is not among them.

GoldRush is bulletproof compared to Akane for me, I haven't had to pick a single GR yet. It is a hard apple without that soft rubbery skin of Akane (which I assume it gets from Mcintosh).


    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:11AM
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alan haigh

I had another great apple a few minutes ago, a Baldwin. It used to me my favorite heirloom and is still wonderful when right. Mediocre in wet sites but in well drained, preferably sandy soil it can be great. I was originally attracted to it when I read of its very high vitamin C content.

The problem is it doesn't do well much south of here, although Tom Burford told me it used to be great from his Virginia orchard when weather was a tad cooler. More than a couple hundred miles north and most of the crop won't ripen properly.

When I first started growing in the NE 25 years ago I used to read of it often scoring very high in taste tests but being fairly inconsistent.

It is dense and intensely flavored when right. Probably a very nutritious apple as well. Tricky to train on vigorous rootstocks (oversized branches) and the crop ripens very gradually. The first ones here weren't much good this season but now they are getting great.

It does better in the shade than most varieties. I manage a couple of trees that get almost no direct sunlight but still they manage to produce small crops of tasty fruit.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:33PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Harvestman, I planted an Erwin Baur last year after you described it. It's one of the few which didn't bear in it's second year for me, but I am hopeful for next year.

I like Baldwin, but haven't planted any due to concerns about its scab susceptibility. In my notes from last year, I had it from at least 3 different sources and it ranged from 12-15 brix. The best were ones I found on the ground (none were left on the trees) at a PYO orchard on 10/16.

If you find that Sweet Sixteen has too interesting a flavor, you may want to try picking it a bit early (last week of August to Sept 1st). It's not too sweet at that point, but still has decent brix (~13) for an early apple. While it has good kick, it is missing the strange (though good to my taste) flavors at that point. Picked early, it is a lot like Honeycrisp/Zestar, though not as sweet as Zestar. Now that I've written this, maybe it is better to just eat the Zestar. :)

Scott, I can easily dismiss the differences we have seen with Akane since I have had such a small sample, but our different experiences with Goldrush are a bit strange, as I have two trees of it, one of which is in its second fruiting year (40+ on one and 10 on the other). I had some rot last year too, though I think this year has been worse. I've been bagging my apples (ziplock), which may have a part in it, but I think I saw one un-bagged apple rot this year as well. I'll take a photo of the next one I find. About half of the damaged ones have had cracks, while the others have black rotten areas (sometimes > 1/2 the apple).

With that type of endorsement, it sounds like I have to get a Rubinette- or at least graft a branch.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:46AM
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alan haigh

Bob, if taste is discerned by the mouth but influenced by expectations, knowing the brix could influence your opinion of the flavor. I don't see how it can help an individual determine their preferences although it is helpful in communicating the qualities of any fruit because taste itself is entirely subjective. Also, if someone is harvesting a variety at a much higher or lower brix than what you are, you can disregard their opinion of that variety.

I have no way to accurately measure the brix of the Baldwin I ate yesterday but my wife found it to be "too intense" for her, although she withdrew from her initial assessment of it being "too tart" because the sugar was back there. I am sure that additional brix would not be an improvement for me on a quality Baldwin. I am drawn to notoriously high brix apples and I expect that Baldwin can come close to Goldrush judging from its affects on my palate.

Baldwin is rumored to be scab susceptible but is not especially so in my experience- certainly much less than Macintosh. Are you against the use of an affective fungicide? I can pretty much control scab with two timely applications of myclobutanil timed with the two necessary insecticide applications of my low spray schedule.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 6:05AM
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My Liberties are coming off the tree now. I second comments about unpredictability in flavor. It's hard for me to judge the ripening time, too. They seem to ripen over a period of two weeks, and some will be dropping before the majority are ready. I go through the tree testing the apples and if they come off easily I pick them, otherwise leave them.

The do seem to like all the sun they can get, and will have the best flavor on the sunniest side. They're given to starchiness if not just so and to mealiness if they're kept too long. But under the right conditions they can be really quite good, in my opinion. (I don't know how to judge brix and won't guess.)

I fretted here a couple of years ago about size, but mine sized up nicely this year. Perhaps this is a variety that needs a number of stars to align for optimum results. Also have a lot of them. Last year was off due to bad timing of frost, and pollination issues. This year I thinned 90% and should have taken off half of the remaining ones! (In fact one branch split off and will have to be removed.)

When Liberty is right I prefer it to MacIntosh. The apple I'm really looking forward to getting to know is Rubinette- I have one fruit on the tree this year and it's just coloring nicely now.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:38AM
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alan haigh

Macintosh is a much more interesting apple here than Liberty, IMO. Much more aromatic and a very appealing crunch off the tree. Liberty is good but without a whole lot of character. I believe in a couple of decades Mac will be a treasured heirloom in areas where it reaches its potential. That's probably a pretty limited area.

That said, its poor storage qualities render its positives, including reliable annual bearing even when not thinned, somewhat mute.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 7:47AM
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With everything else this year being so late, I'm planning to leave my October apples on until I see freeze warnings.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:31AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

". Are you against the use of an affective fungicide? I can pretty much control scab with two timely applications of myclobutanil "

Another product that is organic is Agri-foss. For use on Apples for black spot, scab, and fire blight. A systemic
fungicide. Active Ingredient: Mono- and di-potassium salts of Phosphorous Acid - 45.8%

I found it useful for strawberries, and tomatoes for late blight too. I try to stay organic when I can. I know with tree fruits often you cannot.
This product is the only product in use against Sudden Oak Death .

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Oct 3, 13 at 10:08

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 9:57AM
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You'll find some people throwing up their hands in horror at the idea of any systemic product, whether or not labeled "organic".

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 12:55PM
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My Liberties are great right now at the beginning of October. Nice size, crunch and taste. The best in the three years I've been growing them. I'm learning to not rush them, and they need more time than a Mac.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 5:14PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I agree that brix isn't the final arbiter of taste. But, I have seen a strong correlation. Baldwin is one of the few apples that I find tastes very good even at moderate brix levels. Braeburn is another which is tasty at reasonably low brix (~12), though they are even better if you get a well ripened one with 16+ brix. My Baldwin note from 10/16/2013 (one of the late drops from the PYO) was:

"12.8-14 brix, medium sized, hard, with lots of crunch, juicy. Both the hard crunch and the flavor (a lemony acid) remind me of the Goldrush from my tree. A very good apple, especially for one with relatively low brix." (pic below)

My apples have been entirely no-spray so far (just bagging). I'm not religiously against spraying anything, but if I can get away without it, I'm happy. Before deciding to add Euro plums, I did a bit of reading on Monterey Fungi Fighter and decided that I would spray it if needed. Tonight in doing some more reading on it, I'm having second thoughts. But, that is a post for another thread, which I'll probably start this weekend.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 12:54AM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Yes, Erwin Baur tastes great and has no diseases here. Good keeper too. Calville Blanc D'hiver ripens in October here typically. Early its so so, but with a real ripening, like Gold Rush, is fantastic. Even the texture is amazing. Winesap is a great good flavored keeper for me too.
John S

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 2:16AM
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alan haigh

Just for the record, I've eaten nothing but mediocre Baldwins from trees on my prop since- mine is not the ideal Baldwin site.

Erwin Baur may be an under appreciated winner- it takes a while to bare but is a very strong grower. So far, Calville Blanc seems extremely lethargic coming out of the gate. Burnt Ridge sent me a rooted twig of that weeks later then I'd hoped and it didn't give me much growth. I'm not holding my breath for the chance to taste its fruit. Probably be another 7 years.

Bob Cummins sent me a package of what he said were his favorite heirlooms a few years back and if Erwin Baur consistently produces fruit like the few I tasted this year it is the winner of the group for me. Of course, that's a big if.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 6:27AM
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Finally got the last harvested this past weekend.

Growing conditions were a challenge this year in several respects. First, for over a year I was living and working out of state and the person living in my home did not do anything with my orchard - no pruning in either 2012 or 2013, no fertilizing, no spraying, no pick-up of diseased fruit, etc. I heard from some friends that a few apples were picked and made into applesauce last year. I moved home in April, without time for any real maintainance before the flowers opened. Second, this was a really wet June through the 3rd week of July - never more than 3 days without rain and usually some at least every other day, 7 inches in one 8 day period. Even with the rain I managed to keep a spraying schedule going, but with rain every next day I suspect that the benefits of the sprays were lessened. In addition to the rain, much of June was hotter and therefore much more humid than normal. But anyway, on with the report.

Stark EarliBlaze - 20+y old, very productive this year, good quality mid-August apple for eating and applesauce, some bug damage

Gala - 20y+ old, as usual for me, a lot of poor quality fruit with some bug damage and scab, fruit not large enough. might have needed thinned more but has grown too high, will start reducing height this dormant season. Dried some, they were very good. No pic.

Jonagold - best production ever from this 20y old tree, at least 100 apples, though some were bird-pecked. The fruit did not get nearly as much bug effects as the EarliBlaze and Gala right next to it. They were huge, firm, delicious-my fav. Have to get a picture added later.

Mutsu - 13y old, again as usual poor quality fruit with more bug marks and misshapen fruit. Gotta do something with this one. Graft to another variety? No pic.

Hidden Rose - this ~15y.o. tree has suffered terribly at the hands (or should I say mouth) of maurauding deer for years - they seemed to much prefer eating the twigs and leaves of this variety, keeping it pruned to a small bush size despite various 'repellant' sprays, and once I thought it was dead. Now I am protecting it better with a wire cage and this year got the first, single fruit (squirrels got a few, and all looked bug marked to some degree). Very nice flavor with that unique pink color!

Enterprise - nice fruit, love the disease resistance, fruit looked the best ever for me but some bird and squirrel damage. About 40 apples on a 13 year old tree.

Looking to add some new apple trees this next year. Was hoping to try Nova Spy, Crimson Topaz, Williams Pride and possibly another one or two since the disease resistance appeals to me. I now have more time than in the past, so I hope to get some overgrown trees thinned and shortened so I can care for them better.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 3:37PM
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eboone. Ah, now I know I'm not the only one playing the waiting game with Enterprise. After 6 years, 7 apples. Sounds like I'm right on target.

Johnthecook, great looking apples! Congrats.

I am sorry to hear that Calville Blanc d'Hiver are slow to fruit. I have two arriving next spring and cannot wait to try them. I love the lumps! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 6:00PM
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I did get about this many nice apples 3 years ago from my Enterprise, then 2 yrs ago I had a lot of coddling moth damage and had only a few, then last year was away and the tree uncared for. I left them on the tree a little longer than usual this year and they have been really good. I had little time to care for my orchard in the past and with better pruning and spraying I think my production would have been better - thank God my job is now 40 hrs a week instead of 65. :)

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:48PM
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alan haigh

Because my Honeycrisp were huge and bland I left them on the tree to drop and rot, not necessarily in that order. The few that did neither seem to have sweetened up into the classic Honeycrisp flavor while maintaining the texture. Amazing to be picking Honeycrisp in late Oct.

The Baldwins have also gotten much more consistent and are mostly delicious- have to wait for background to turn yellow which happens very unevenly throughout the tree. This may be another reason for wild fluctuations in taste tests, they are probably often picked too green- they even fall off the tree too green.

The Jonagolds are also ripening unevenly, but I'm sure if I harvested them all right now they'd mellow nicely in storage. One JG tree that always got corking in the flesh has good fruit this year- maybe because for once I did nothing to thin it because it had been a waste of time the last few years. Even without thinning the fruit is large enough and well flavored- on my thinned Jonagold the fruit is inconveniently huge.

Suncrisp is a fine and intensely flavored variety which I finished picking yesterday. Seems to have spots that would rot or disflavor in long term storage but is not a liability for the time being. I don't want to have to do calcium sprays but because new varieties often have such large fruit they often seem to almost require it. Suncriisp seems to be pretty biennial here.

Newtowns are almost ready and another really good eating, tart variety. Some of them have watercore which seems to indicate high brix. Leads to rot in storage, though.

My Jonathons were amazing this year. They are the Rubyjon strain and I think I picked them a tad early in the past because they color up so much. They've only just become mushy on the tree and were still crunchy a week ago.

I'm hoping more of my Goldrush turn yellow before weather turns too cold and that all my Pink Lady and Braeburn apples also have time to improve on their trees but it is a bit of a late ripening year so they will all be challenged. I have enough ripe Rush for my own needs but I'd like to get the quality up for gifting. I'd almost rather let them rot than give away mediocre apples.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Harvestman - do you recall where you got your Suncrisp? That is another apple that sounds very interesting.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2013 at 10:27PM
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Boone- In your neck of the woods Adam's County is out of Suncrisp until 2015 but Cummins Nursery has it, Novaspy, and W Pride.

Anyone like Crimson varieties or Sundance?

Novaspy (G.11) someone accidentally picked early. Despite that it was excellent when mellowed a few weeks on counter. Something (lots of rabbits) broke 2 of 3 lower scaffolds off cleanly, and CAR does hit the leaves hard. This had the lowest scaffolds of any tree so breakage may be more due to low height. Will definitely give it many more years to prove train and bear.

Planted 2011, June thinned 4" to 6"
(1st bearing year other than Redfree):
Redfree M.7 - 15 (ready Aug 5 otherwise mushy if left hanging)
Novaspy G.11 - 10
Goldrush G.16 - 50 2-3" (did not wait to size up but still v. good)
Pristine G.16 - 10 small (ready end of July but taste improved hanging; size did not)
Querina G.11 - none
Liberty G.16 - 23 Aug. 23 tasted v. good but mid-Sept drops overripe already
Enterprise G.16 - 50 good

This year tough was "peaches" hands down, with four trees and a huge harvest: a few hundred small PF1 with great looking early fruit and 100 larger Redhaven (tastiest). PF19-007 flavor disappointed but bore 100 small . PF24C tree tasted better with 150 small, though hit too hard by borers again. Have the PDB moth crystals around them now. Next time will thin much harder than thinned to less than 4" and had almost zero loss.

Pears- 2 Harrow Delight and 1 Moonglow OHxF 333 - Harrow was delightful. Decent bloom some trees but not a lot of fruit set this year- young trees still.

Big blessing, and a good year for vegetables also. Thanks to all here for a start!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 12:27AM
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alan haigh

Suncrisp is very interesting. A friend of mine came by yesterday whose favorite apple is Goldrush but he seemed just as enamored of Suncrisp's very complex flavor and I like it enough to have saved a space for an entire tree although I'm not sure I can coax it to bare annually here. Tree is quite young so the jury is out on that.

Off the tree, is sweeter than Goldrush, larger, with those anise like overtones.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 7:51AM
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This year was so good, I'm looking forward to a scant harvest in 2014.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:28AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

The Sundance which I let hang two more weeks (until 10/14) was pretty good. It had 14-16.1 brix, and was flavorful with strong tart kick. Still, it was much sweeter than the earlier Sundance which were a bit tart for me.

I've been seeing more heirloom apples at Whole Foods than in the past:
Newton Pippins- I got these yesterday (NY grown per the sign) and they are already pretty good. They've got good tart-sweet flavor (15-17 brix) and very hard, dense, and crunchy. I got enough that I can store some of them and see how they develop.

Hudson's Golden Gem- 10/18, 16-18 brix. Some were already softening, but the all had good flavor. One of my parents (I forget which) thought it tasted like a pear.

Blue Pearmain- 10/18, 13-14 brix. Very dense, meaty flesh, though not excessively crunchy. Not disagreeable, but the flavor is too mild for me. I have a graft of this one, but I probably wouldn't, if I'd tasted it first. As it is, I'll leave it to see how mine turn out.

Noteworthy farmer's market apples:
Spencer- Early Oct, 12-15 brix. Pretty good. Like a larger, slightly crunchier Macoun.

Suncrisp- good coloring, crisp/crunchy. 11.5-14.5 brix. 13-14.5 on another. Pretty good, with a hint of zip, but I think I'm still missing out on highly flavored the apple that Harvestman describes.

Golden Russet- Last weekend, 17-20 brix. I like it a lot. Very dense flesh and good sweet flavor- it didn't appeal to my daughter, but my wife thought it was a pear and liked it- she isn't big on apples.

Winesap- Last weekend, 14 brix. Completely red. Good flavor and crunch, a few small red lines through flesh.

Baldwin- Last weekend, 14 brix, juicy, still has some crunch, but starting to get a bit too loose. Not great flavor- I had much better Baldwin last year (different orchard), though I think I also had some not-so-great ones from this vendor as well.

My Goldrush haven't ripened as well as I'd like. I've still got most on the trees, since it hasn't gotten that cold here yet. We just got our first frost (killing tomato plants) last Thursday/Friday and I still have beans growing in a sheltered location (on a wall). The highest brix I've gotten this year from Goldrush is around 17.5. Not bad, but not as good as last year (19.7 on 10/23).

Here's a pic of an interesting Goldrush. It was on a lower, South facing branch and got a lot of light on one side. the other side was pointed to the ground and the inside of the tree. The dark blushed side was in the 16-17 brix range and very dense. The other side was very pale, far less dense and around 11 brix. The entire apple wasn't strongly flavored, which surprised me a bit, as Goldrush has good kick, even under-ripe.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 10:45AM
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alan haigh

Bob, your situation with ripening seems similar to mine, where my Goldrush are not all ripe but accuweather is predicting 23 F. Mon, morning at around 7. I've got Pink Ladies and Braeburns that also need about another good week of reasonably warm weather.

I will probably wind up harvesting a lot of the apples this weekend unless the forecast changes- maybe half of those I'd rather leave all of on the tree for more ripening if weather permitted. I've got a decent weather station this season so I'll get a clearer idea how much cold these varieties can take but the trees are starting to go dormant anyway- I'm not sure how much more sugar the trees can make.

I grow some Hudson's Golden Gem because it is such a distinctive apple in texture, taste and appearance. Somehow low acid Russet apples tend to be very appealing to stink bugs and coddling moths and Golden Gem takes the cake in this department, right ahead of Golden Russet. They aren't nearly as damaged as my Korean Giant pears, though. I may begin following Scotts methods of using lures to reduce CM pressure on my site.

Both of those varieties were good this year. Golden Russet packs lots of flavor for a sweet but the coarse texture and tough skin and dryness of the flesh keep it from being a favorite for me. I think I prefer the flavor of HGJ.

My Newtowns seem ready to pick, and are nice, but not quite world class for a hard tart-sweet apple. No special aroma to them, but at least they are adequately ripe. I think the ones they grow in Santa Cruz may be superior. I actually prefer my Baldwins, which should be pretty much ready to finish harvesting this weekend. I doubt they will hold any crunch beyond Dec., however, even stored in the fridge.

Suncrisp may be a better choice for lovers of Goldrush without adequate seasons to ripen the latter. Not as tart or quite as hard but maybe about as good because of having more bouquet. It is a complex apple that should be embraced by apple fanatics.

I sampled a slightly over-ripe Spitzenburg yesterday and it is a nice apple for lovers of tart but not as nice as the Cameo should be for lovers of sweet. Cameo tastes how Red Delicious should with more flavor than my Fujis have this year.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 9:26AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hman, I have the same problem on my Hudsons: the stinkbugs completely ruin them. I thought it might have something to do with the location of the tree but if you are also having the problem it points to the variety as the source. My Golden Russet get some stinkbug damage but its nothing compared to Hudsons. Pomme Gris come through nearly perfectly.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 8:48PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I picked most of my Goldrush this weekend, as temps are forecast to go down into the 27-28 range tonight. I left most of the apples on the 2nd year tree next to a tall stone wall, figuring that would give it a few degrees. This is the coldest the 10 day forecast goes, so if they make it through, they could ripen a bit more. I picked 15 pounds of apples off the 3rd year tree, leaving 7-8 apples on, just to see if they pull through. About 5 pounds of the 15 were damaged by small cracks, rots, or bugs, so I've started eating them, leaving the perfect (though not necessarily pretty) ones for storage or company.

Your Braeburns must be pretty close. I got some good ones on Saturday at the farmer's market. Very highly flavored, with crisp, dense, breaking flesh. The samples I took were only 12-13.8 brix, but it was still a very good apple.

On Saturday, I was speaking to the vendor who sold the not-so-great Baldwins. I complimented him on the Comice pears I bought last weekend (nice, large, perfectly ripened, 18 brix). He said that he didn't have anymore, as the trees aren't productive and he only gets a few. Evidently, that is why they were quite large. The other pears he sells are quite small, as the guy who grows it (his brother, I think) doesn't thin much. He said that their asian pears are so small they aren't even worth selling (golf balls). Maybe that is why the Baldwin wasn't very flavorful. Of course, it didn't seem to hurt the Braeburn (mentioned above), as I also got those from him. Maybe Baldwin is more sensitive?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 9:32PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Akane is also fantastic here in PNW: productive, distinctive, disease free, stays on the tree ripe for more than a month! Winesap also consistent winner.
John S

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 12:45AM
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alan haigh

I think most apples benefit from thinning as far as brix level as well as size. If the Baldwins were small that may have been a problem but I'm pretty sure that Baldwins are a multiple picking apple. Mine don't really have full flavor until background color is yellow and not green and this happens over almost a month period with this variety- a few apples at a time. Once they turn yellow they must be almost immediately picked or they lose their texture.

My outdoor thermometer sensor says 24 as I write this. I hurt my back moving so many apples and Olympic pears yesterday but I left much of the Goldrush and Pink lady crop out there hoping they can take this quick cold dip- we shall see.

i have much more crop than I can possibly use so it is gifting that is on the line. I really want to find out what the line is with those two varieties and this is the only way I can do it. The literature is excessively conservative.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 6:06AM
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To eboone,

Looks more like bitter pit than bug bites, but could be signs the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is in your area.

The Hidden Rose apple's asymmetry looks like incomplete pollination which may account for lack of fruit---how is the blooming? Though it could be cat facing, but the asymmetric area effected seems too large for that.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 9:27AM
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Very rainy year and my early season apples had been below par across the board, but my late season apples so far have been better than usual. Especially impressed with my Stayman, which is usually a good apple, but this year has been the best so far. Braeburn and winesap also standouts. Still waiting on Goldrush, Granny Smith and Cripps - weather is holding out but the leaves are looking very beaten up at this point, I think as a result of my 'too' low spray program during such a rainy year.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 2:40AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I didn't get too many apples this year but heres a report on a few. I over-crammed varieties, I have rows with about a foot per variety. Don't do dat! I'm growing too much wood and not enough apple.

Akane - Its getting spot rot as usual, this guy I don't have time to deal with. It also is unproductive in my climate. Its an excellent tasting apple but time to go.

Cherryville Black - This is an excellent early apple but squirrels got all the ripe ones this year.

Pitmaston Pineapple - Excellent! Flesh is a bit on the dry side but not too bad. Flavor is great. Now I remember why I consider it the best yellow school apple, it beats out Roxbury, Orleans, Cloche, Clochard, etc. If it were bigger everyone would be growing it.

Blenheim Orange - This is a great eating apple not just a great cooker. Quality varied in terms of amount of flavor but most were good. Tree has been extremely reliable and productive.

Pomme Raisin - Decent but nothing special, an average tart cooking type apple. A member of the McIntosh school. Remove.

Sierra Beauty - One fruit and it was heavily water cored and bland. seems not worth the space; remove. Burford also not positive on this one in VA.

My Jewel - Very average. Another bust on California apple varieties in my climate.

Tumanga - Early ones are very good, somewhat in the Newtown school. They should age well I expect.

Ribston - excellent taste; had heavy watercore this year. Also rot damage. Probably time to remove this variety, it tastes great but is not up to the heat.

Rubinette - This apple continues to rise in my eyes, it knocks your socks off with flavor. Any other apple is bland in comparison. Probably in my top three now, and may go higher.

Bonne Hotture - They have an interesting, unusual, rich flavor.

Reinette du Mans - Sort of similar to Blenheim, likely triploid large apple with that creamy taste. Quite sweet and not sour so potential as a sweet for cider. Goes mealy fast.

Wickson - Hornets really took care of them. These guys are more like grapes in terms of sweet/sour: lots of both. Great for cider and probably good for other uses; not really for fresh eating, they split and look ugly.

Hubbardston Nonesuch - similar to Abbondanza, even has similar pink color and striping. A very good apple with a mild aromatic flavor. Low on sugar though.

Myers Royal Limbertwig - the usual stuff, a classic American apple type with a more interesting flavor than the other classic red American apples. Fair amount of stinkbugs. Super reliable every year with a large crop; sizes unevenly which limits commercial potential.

GoldRush - Few apples this year due to overbearing last year. Excellent as usual.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 2:54PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

A 2014 update on the Baldwins. Last fall I got some no-so great Baldwins at the farmers market. They had 14 brix, but the flavor wasn't there. Last weekend (and again today), I got some more Baldwins from the same vendor. This year, they are great- top notch flavor, juicy, dense, and crunchy. The brix is a bit higher (most are 15-17, with a few in the 13-14 range), but that difference isn't enough to explain the flavor difference.

I spoke with the grower today and asked if he did anything different this year. After saying "no, not really", he thought for a second and told me that it is a very biennial apple for them. This year is the off year, so effectively the trees self-thinned. Now, this doesn't help people growing them to sell, as the ones last year sized up fine (maybe a tad smaller, but completely normal in size). But, as the consumer of the apples, it may be something to look for. I was thinking about it and next week I may ask if he has any other apples which have had a bad year in terms of fruit-set.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 1:44PM
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Thanks Bob: my Rox Russ tree produced great but the fruit wouldn't hang long enough to get fully ripe it seems,almost never had any color. In the end we stripped what was left and pressed it with Jonagold to make a tasty cider.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2014 at 9:08PM
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