Apple Orchard –
Baldwin Apple Winter. Wilmington, MA, about 1740. Also called Butters Apple or Woodpecker. Discovered on the Butters Farm by a surveyor planning the Middlesex Canal and noted as a favorite site for local woodpeckers. Scions from the original tree were grafted and growing in Maine by 1810, and by 1850 Baldwin was the standard all-purpose home and commercial variety wherever it was grown. It remained dominant in Maine until the terrible winter of 1934 when tens of thousands of trees perished and McIntosh became king. Large round-conic thick-skinned fruit. Light yellow skin almost entirely blushed, mottled and striped with red and deep carmine. Hard crisp juicy yellowish flesh makes excellent eating and keeps till spring. Makes top-quality hard cider, blended or alone. Vigorous adaptable hugely productive long-lived healthy tree. When grower Dave Gott asked the late renowned entomologist Ron Prokopy his opinion of Baldwin, Ron replied that the apple is “not practical commercially due to biennialism but the only apple that is both disease and insect resistant.” Massachusetts’ most famous apple where it grows to perfection. Also extremely nice here in central Maine. Hardiest in well-drained upland and north slopes. Blooms early to midseason. Z4-6. Both are ME Grown.
Honeycrisp Apple Winter. MN 1711 (Keepsake x open-pollinated) U Minn, 1991. Medium-large fruit, described as “explosively crisp,” mottled and striped red over yellow. Cream-colored flesh is sweet and juicy with hard snapping-crisp texture. Mild aroma and subacid flavor are top quality in September and improve steadily in storage. Unusual because it ripens in early fall yet keeps up to seven months in the root cellar. This year our fruit was almost as crisp in June as it was in the previous October. First of the many excellent University of Minnesota introductions to receive large-scale commercial attention, now has a huge following. Has become our best-selling apple. Probably best planted north of Massachusetts; has not performed as well in warmer districts. Tends towards annual bearing. Relatively small low-vigor upright spreading tree. Above-average scab resistance. Blooms mid-late season. Z3-4.
Small to medium sized fruit, generally round in shape. Thin, green-yellow skin is nearly flushed red with stripes and splashes of carmine. Russet dots cover the surface. The juicy, yellow flesh almost melts with tenderness. Tends to biennial bearing but begins to bear early. Vigorous tree produces heavily. Ripens in August. Originated in Massachusetts. Recorded in 1847.
NORTHERN SPY may have originally been called Northern Pie Apple, and is also known as Red Spy and Red Northern Spy. It was found in an orchard at East Bloomfield, New York, with seedlings brought from Connecticut about 1800. It has been selected for use in the development of new varieties and in rootstock research. The fruit is large, especially on young trees, and on well-colored fruit, there is a clear-yellow shade with bright-red tints, distinctly streaked with the yellow under-color, making the red almost scarlet, but fruit color can be quite variable. The white flesh is very juicy, crisp, tender and sweet with a rich, aromatic subacid flavor and is a good dessert apple and pie apple that is also used for cider. The hardy tree has an upright free-growing habit with long curved branches and dense foliage. The shiny, smooth leaves, medium in size, are folded, reflexed, and slightly waved with sharp, shallow, but indistinct serrations. The principal veins in the leaves are prominent, and the leaves are slow to unfold. It is subject to bitter pit and blossom fireblight, and the fruit will bruise easily. During rainy weather, the fruit may crack, and because of the delicate skin, it is easily damaged during harvest. Northern Spy blooms late and escapes frost, but it is notorious for being slow to begin bearing. On standard rootstock, 10 years may expire before the first harvest, but on size-controlling rootstocks, bearing usually begins in 3 to 4 years. It contains 13.77% sugar that ferments to 6+% alcohol. One of the best storing apples, Northern Spy ripens in late September and early October
Northern Spy Apple Winter. Chance seedling. East Bloomfield, NY, about 1800. One of the most famous of all heirloom apples. Very large delectable all-purpose pink fruit has yellow background covered all over with pink and light red stripes. Very juicy and tender. Even when the soft skin bruises, the fruit keeps extremely well. Cooks up quickly into a loose mild sauce. No need to remove the skins. Its reputation as a pie apple is more than well deserved: makes a very good single-variety pie! Its one drawback is being slow to come into bearing, although for us it’s been worth the wait. Medium-to-large moderately vigorous long-lived tree. Prefers fertile well-drained soil. Good scab resistance. Leafs out late and blooms late season. Z4-6. Both are ME Grown.
The Gravenstein (GRAH-vun-steen) apple is considered by many to be one of the best all-around apples, and is especially good for baking. Introduced from Germany, the apple is found most widely on the West Coast. Most Gravenstein apples have a delicate greenish skin streaked with red, but a few trees produce classically red apples. These trees are considered a sport rather than a true variety. Red Gravensteins were a special treat in the Skinner family, which owned a small orchard outside the Sonoma County (Calif.) town of Sebastopol. Red Gravensteins (or “Red Gravs”) were saved for eating, while the normal Gravensteins were used for baking and cooking.
During the first half of the 20th century, Gravensteins were the major variety of apples grown in western Sonoma County, and supplied applesauce and dried apples for the troops in World War II. Many of the orchards are now gone due to a combination of development, a shift to wine production, and economic changes in the apple industry.
MacIntosh Apple Fall. Thought to be a seedling of Fameuse or perhaps St. Lawrence x Alexander. Dundela, Ontario, 1811. First discovered by John Macintosh on his farm near the St. Lawrence River. Originally called Granny’s Apple, then Macintosh Red, sometimes Gem, and finally Macintosh. Certainly the most important apple in the Northeast. Although not planted in many other locations, it grows to perfection in our cool climate. There are many strains of Macintosh, some striped, some blushed, some solid red. Recent strains have been selected for traits other than flavor, and the variety has gotten a bad reputation. This strain has green ground color overlaid with red stripes and blush. It was planted in 1906 in Mercer, ME. Of all the strains we have sampled, this one has the best “Mac” taste. This is a delicious aromatic apple. Annual cropper. Large beautifully rounded spreading strong easily managed tree. Very susceptible to scab but has shown resistance to apple maggot fly. Does not keep well in home storage. Blooms midseason. Z4-5. ME Grown.
Esopus Spitzenburg Apple Fall-Winter. Unknown parentage. Esopus, NY, 18th c. Herman Melville wrote in his 1853 Bartleby, the Scrivener: “Copying law-papers being proverbially a dry, husky sort of business, my two scriveners were fain to moisten their mouths very often with Spitzenburgs, to be had at the numerous stalls nigh the Custom House and Post office.” Turkey and Nippers chose well. For over 200 years the apple has been a choice dessert and culinary variety, mentioned in nearly every list of best-flavored varieties. Slightly subacid, crisp and juicy. Medium-large bright-red round to mostly conic fruit, covered with russet dots, not unlike a slightly more conical Starkey. Excellent acid source for sweet or fermented cider. Moderately vigorous tree, with easily trained wide-angle branches. Bears moderate crops. Supposedly susceptible to scab though we don’t spray ours and have been happy with the fruit quality. Blooms mid-late season. Z4-7.
Winesap Apple Winter. Heirloom of uncertain origin, possibly western NJ. One of the oldest and most revered of all American varieties. Conic and somewhat rounded fruit is almost entirely covered with reddish blush and deeper red stripes, sometimes with a prominent pinkish russet splash and some red russet netting. True to its name, one of the best for cider. Tart reddish juice. Also considered outstanding for pies. Although not normally associated with northern New England, over the years many old-timers have told me about trees they remember from their youth and old trees can still be found here and there. Adaptable to many soils and climates. Keeps until early spring. Z4-7. ME Grown.
Chestnut Apple Early Fall. MN 240 (Malinda x open-pollinated) U Minn, 1946. A lot of people love this apple. Small golf-ball-sized fruit with truly excellent fresh-eating qualities. Yellow and bronze-red skin with some russeting. Firm crisp juicy fine-grained very sweet yellowish flesh. The apple version of Sun Gold tomato—fabulous complex flavor in a small package. For a growing number of people in central Maine, late September is Chestnut apple time. Every year we put out a bushel a day at Fedco’s booth at the Common Ground Fair and watch them disappear. Neophytes often look at the fruit with disdain. Most however take one bite and their frowns turn to smiles. (For some, despite its crispness and depth of flavor, it is too sweet.) Chestnut needs no sugar to make a sweet and subtle sauce. Not a keeper, but can be stored for a month or so. Vigorous, somewhat weeping, medium-sized productive tree. Disease resistant. Also beautiful in bloom, midseason. Z3-5. ME Grown.
Williams Pride Apple Summer. Co-op 23 [PRI 2845-1=(PRI 1018-101 x NJ50)] PRI Coop, 1988. Probably the most popular summer apple among the newly developed disease-resistant introductions. It’s actually crisp, which is rare for a summer apple. Deep purple roundish-conic irregularly shaped fruit, highlighted with areas of glowing rosy red and covered with a thin bloom. Light cream-colored flesh, with red staining just under the skin, is firm, crisp and very juicy. Has a nice acidic blend of tart and sweet, reminiscent of Fameuse. Long ripening period means you don’t have to eat them all at once. Vigorous annually bearing tree with some biennial tendency. Well-shaped with strong right-angled branches that do not require careful training. Highly resistant to fireblight, cedar apple rust and sooty blotch, resistant to powdery mildew. Scab immune. Blooms early-midseason. Z4-7. ME Grown.
Stone Fruit Orchard –
Puget Gold Apricot
Puget Gold Apricot Summer. Chance seedling, possibly of Perfection. Discovered in Anacortes, WA, by Jean Copeland. U of Wash. intro, 1987. Originally called Cougar Gold. Roundish-ovate clear yellow red-blushed fruit. Dense firm sweet deep orange-yellow freestone flesh is good to excellent fresh eating, drying or canning. Prolific. The blossoms are more frost-tolerant than those of many apricots; disease resistance is above average. Offered again with the encouragement of grower Ozzie Ossolinski: “Whereas not every PG that I have planted for clients has performed as well as those in my own orchard, I continue to recommend (and plant) it for those who are looking for a low (i.e. no) maintenance tree from which they might actually harvest some decent fruit.” Ripens about September 1st at Ozzie’s. Moderately vigorous spreading tree will grow to about 15×15′. Z5.
Garfield plantation Cherry
Prunus cerasus Garfield Plantation Pie Cherry Unknown origin. Garfield Plantation, ME. Heirloom pie cherry grown for generations on an Aroostook County farm. One of our most promising finds in our search for varieties that really do produce. Can withstand temperatures to –40° F. Friends introduced it to me a couple of years ago. Although the original tree is long gone, it lives on in the form of innumerable young trees that have suckered up for 100 feet or more behind the farm along the edge of the ubiquitous potato fields. You could keep it to a single tree yourself by snipping off any suckers. Hardy, disease resistant, productive and extremely long-lived. Z3. ME Grown. (3-6′ tall)
Galaxy Pie Cherry
Meteor pie cherry
Meteor Pie Cherry Summer. MN 66 (Montmorency x Vladimir) U Minn, 1952. Bright scarlet-red roundish-oval fruit. Clear bright yellow flesh and clear juice. Mildly acid flavor. Has proved to be a consistent producer in some locations but very susceptible to brown rot in others. In coldest districts, cropping has been inconsistent and hardiness questionable. In our Aroostook County test orchard, trees died to the ground after temperatures of –38°: not as hardy as Evans or Garfield Plantation. However, we still recommend it from central Maine south, Zones 4, 5 and 6, where some growers are having great success with Meteor. Very good eating right off the tree. Also good for pies, canning and freezing. Easy to pit. Excellent dried. Ripens mid-July in Central Maine. Reaches 12–16′. Z3. ME Grown.
Garnet Beauty Peach Early. Sport of Red Haven. Ruthven, Ontario, 1958. A sport (mutation) of Red Haven discovered by Garnet Bruner in 1951 and introduced seven years later. Medium to large yellow-fleshed semi-clingstone fruit with excellent flavor. The earliest peach we offer; ripens 12 days earlier than Red Haven with similar hardiness. Vigorous and productive tree. Good bud hardiness. Recommended for colder disticts. Z4/5. ME Grown.
Harrow Beauty Peach
Madison Peach Mid-Late. Ideal x Red Haven. VA Station, 1963. A fine peach for the North, with hardiness similar to Red Haven (though it ripens 3 weeks later). Medium-large fruit with bright orange skin and bright red blush. Orange-yellow firm fine-textured juicy flesh with excellent very sweet rich peach flavor. Very good quality. Skin peels easily. Freestone, excellent canner. Very productive tree. Exceptional tolerance to blossom-season frost. Z5.
Blueberry Patch –
Blueray Highbush Blueberry Mid. (GM 37 x CU-5) USDA, NJ, 1955. Large firm dark blue berries of high dessert quality in small clusters. Considered the best-tasting by nearly everyone who grows highbush blueberries. Very vigorous 4-6′ bush with upright spreading habit. Consistently productive. Ripens a few days before Bluecrop. Z4.
Jersey Highbush Blueberry Mid-Late. (Rubel x Grover) USDA, 1928. The beloved old standard of blueberry introductions to which new varieties are compared. Medium-to-large dark blue berries in large loose clusters. Vigorous erect hardy bush, 5-7′ tall. Productive, widely grown, adapted to a wide range of soils, highly praised, easy to grow and suited to the New England climate. Z4. ME Grown.
Elliott Highbush Blueberry Very Late. Burlington x [Dixi x (Jersey x Pioneer)] USDA, 1974. A real season-extender. Considered the latest of all varieties, Elliott ripens two weeks after Jersey. Loose clusters of medium-sized very firm mild-flavored light-blue berries. Slightly spreading somewhat bushy upright plant is consistently highly productive in part because it blooms late and escapes spring frosts. Be forewarned: the berries may turn blue before they reach their peak flavor. Leave them on the bush until they are fully ripe. Check a few before you pick them all! Z4. ME Grown.