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Arkansas Black

Posted by Brittany Kordick 
Arkansas Black
April 08, 2022 07:04PM
Arkansas Black is one of our top performers and easiest keepers down South. In a holistically managed orchard, you can't beat it. Number one, its thick, waxy skin is relatively impervious to the fruit rots that plague most other varieties. Also, its dark color conceals any dry pest/disease damage (and makes for awesome fairytale black candied apples come Halloween) and makes for a stunning appearance. While far from the latest bloomer in our orchard, it does bloom relatively late and tends to miss late freezes. Best of all, it ripens later in the season, typically October (sadly, this is considered pretty late down South; August is our peak harvest month), and stores very well. Some folks won't touch it until Christmas, as flavor mellows in storage, but we enjoy it off the tree. I thought this was a good variety to add to the forum list, because I was recently surprised to learn that more and more orchardists are planting it north of the Mason-Dixon line. Obviously, lots of reasons it might appeal, but I'd be curious to know how the variety is performing in New England.

Kordick Family Farm
Westfield, NC
Zone 7a
Re: Arkansas Black
April 11, 2022 01:20PM
We have a handful of Arkansas Blacks. I'll second everything Brittany wrote. Here in Midcoast Maine, it looks red, ripe and ready by mid-September but comes off the trees in the first week of November. That's a big plus in our opinion. This orchard has plenty of the Cortland/Mac/Empires that all demand attention in the same hectic week or two. Early and late varieties extend our farmer market season and can be picked by the two nutjobs who own the joint without outside help. We sampled Blacks from the apples we kept for ourselves, there's one left in the fridge and I bet it still has the satisfying crunch. They kept getting better until peaking in flavor the last week of February. The only caution that comes to mind is if you have a PYO operation, the Blacks need to be cordoned off from the others because they look irresistible long before they are enjoyable.

Shane Patrick
pleasant pond orchard
Richmond, Maine 5b
Re: Arkansas Black
April 13, 2022 04:09AM
Interesting, we went Black Oxford instead of Arkansas Black worried they wouldn’t handle our zone favorably, (4b/5a), but it sounds like they ripen well for you in Maine. I wonder what the northern edge is for the Arkansan’s? (Arkansasn’s ? Arkansawn’s? You know what I mean..)
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