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heirlooms with pizazz

Posted by Michael Phillips 
heirlooms with pizazz
August 25, 2019 03:15PM
Let's launch a discussion of old-time apple cultivars with merit. And no better way to get the thoughts flowing than with this introduction from Guy Ames in Arkansas: Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be

I'll start with three, noting these are choices right on for this soil, this climate.

Jewett's Fine Red, aka Nodhead New Hampshire heirloom dating back to 1842. Firm, crisp flesh with subtle rich taste. The story alone of Farmer Jewett nodding his head as he spoke makes this popular with customers.

Red St. Lawrence A superb early fall, all-purpose variety with high dessert quality. The dark red stripes and the lighter red background is stunning. A real knock-out. No other apple looks like it. Dating from 19th century, along the New York - Quebec border.

Bethel Perhaps the most popular Vermont heirloom apple. Large, firm, and flavorful fall apple with Blue Pearmain texture. Especially yummy in fresh apple pies, holding its shape well.

Perhaps you have an apple or two from the distant past that works really well at your place? I definitely agree with Guy that not all cultivars make the grade just because somewhere along the line someone gave it a name.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: heirlooms with pizazz
August 25, 2019 05:31PM
Once I was visiting a man in the village near where my orchard is (at Petite-Rivière-Saint-François in Québec), who had an old orchard that he wanted to show me. He had this big apple that he called Batelle. Never heard of that variety I said. If I remember correctly, his grandfather (or maybe his great grandfather?) had planted the tree and they had always called the variety by that name. Anyway, I took a few samples with me, and as I thought the apple was nice, took some grafting wood the following winter.

It is only a number of years later that I was looking through my newly acquired copy of the Apples of New York, and I fall on the entry for Bethel. Yes sure that was my Batelle! With just a slight deformation and francization of the name.
So, Bethel has been grown around here for many years and has survived the passing of the time. Quite a nice apple I must say.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Author, The New Cider Maker's Handbook
Re: heirlooms with pizazz
August 28, 2019 05:10AM
Great idea, Michael. I'm going to have to try to get my hands on some Bethel.

Three I really love that work well here in southern Wisconsin:

Ashmead's Kernel

Belle de Boskoop

Golden Russet

These might be some of the better known heirlooms, but as a grower and an eater, I am a big fan of all three. And once a customer tastes these, we usually make a sale.

Door Creek Orchard
Zone 5a in Wisconsin
Re: heirlooms with pizazz
April 25, 2020 08:38AM
Our young Black Oxford is loaded with blossom this year, hoping for a great crop as I prefer a hard crunchy apple and these are delicious! We also love Ashmead, but my favorite is the intense Karmijn D Sonnavile. We sell most of these for hard cider but I always keep some for fresh eating.

Vista Ridge Orchard
Zone 8a in Washington
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
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