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Specialty and heirloom Apples

Posted by dethride 7a / 6b GA (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 16, 08 at 9:42

I am thinking (obsessing, actually) of expanding my small orchard to include rare varieties of apples that have wonderful, unique flavors, but some do not have your typical "Red Delicious" perfect look to them. Descriptions like, "Very juicy flesh with a taste first of sweet oranges followed by a nutty flavor", or, "golden-yellow covered with a fine, fawn-russet, and the yellow flesh is juicy and sugary with a rich, pineapple-like flavor". But they don't look inviting and in this culture, we like our fruit to look pretty. Has anyone had experience selling apples at market? I also plan on having pretty red ones, just not varieties you find at the grocer or at the huge orchard just down the road.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Specialty and heirloom Apples

I hope your customers appreciate your efforts, I'm sure if you do a little build up before hand that will help. Another idea is (I think) my aunt belongs to a mail order CSA and she gets a lot of exotic things. But it'd probably be easier to train the locals. ;)

RE: Specialty and heirloom Apples

Be careful to find out whether the apples you're intersted in will do well in your climate. You are too warm for many of the heirlooms that were developed in New England or imported from the old world. Esopus Spitzenberg (famously Thos Jefferson's favorite apple) might do well if you are really 7a/6b. I would have pegged GA as warmer.

RE: Specialty and heirloom Apples

You have voiced my hesitation on many apple varieties that I want to grow. I have reluctantly realized that climate has a LOT to do with pome success and "wishing" ain't gonna fix it. For example, I bought into the wonderful descriptions of Cox Orange Pippin, originally grown in England, but have yet to get a decent apple. After nine years of abject failure, I cut off all but one of the limbs and grafted it with Ashmead's Kernel, another English apple. But, it was recommended by the dean of the Fruits and Orchards forum who happens to live in the same 7a/6/b vone as me and he said he's had good success with Ashmead's. Nevertheless, there are so many other apple varieties that are more 'northern" in their habits that I may fall victim to my enthusiasm. It is a lot of fun, though. And this year I have over 300 Golden Delicious low spray apples to sell this coming weekend at market. And my Spitz is not due quite yet but has dropped a dozen ripe-looking apples but they're still a little tart yet. We'll see if my north Georgia mountain climate has been good for them. We have many commercial orchards around here but they are not growing many antique varieties. I want to offer unusual kinds at the market.

RE: Specialty and heirloom Apples

We have been working with an orchard this year that grows many varieties of apples. Yesterday we picked Blue Permain, which look really cool with a blue tint, but only about 1/2 of the apples were marketable. Those that are sell quickly at the market. The Ashmeads kernel is a wonderful apple, if you can get past the thick skin. These apples are beautiful, marketable yield is high, and they go fast at the market. Elstar (Lustre Elstar), Sweet 16, Fameuse (snow apple), Thompkin County King, and Newtown Pippin are also great sellers. Also, I know that Honeycrisp is a newer hybrid, but customers can't get enough of them. I have no idea how these would grow for you, but they may be worth checking out.

RE: Specialty and heirloom Apples

I sell apples at a farmers market. My neighbor grows them and I pick what I need and take them to the market. My problem is that my grower doesn't believe in anything but tried and true varieties. This past saturday he made me take some red delicious apples that I didn't want because thats what he had alot of and couldn't sell either. I can sell jonathons,braeburns,fugi,golden delicious. If I could get them I could sell honeycrisps,granny smiths, ect. the problem is he wont grow them because he thinks their a fad. I can't wait to be able to buy a piece of land and really grow my own.

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