Top 20 list:
…but first let me preface, of some 280 varieties I grow, the subjectivity of the season, soil and to some extent, rootstock, I often say the apple has it’s moment of perfection – especially summer apples. We are cool (65° F. mean average), 1800 GDD (growing degree days), base 50°; dampish (spring/fall), dry summers which makes smaller tastier, but dryer fruit. I am also very interested in storage conditions and how they affect-for instance, the ethylene gas exchanges that carry much of the aromas that get mixed up in a storage facility with a bunch of varieties stored together – it’s no-wonder the apples all “taste the same”. I grow organically- and we usually have some imperfect fruit: “apple scab” fungus (which creates a surface blemish-and it helps fight cancer!), apple maggot (small white worms making bitter useless fruit), anthracnose (kills the tree), Codling Moth – one or 2 big worm holes, 95% consumable, best tasting apple in the basket and finally sooty blotch (surface dark fungus, harmless).
top 20 list, also see following list below this with descriptions.
Williams Pride, Alkmene, Pixie Crunch, Holstein, Honeycrisp, Fortune, Fiesta, Liberty, Pristine, Zabergau Reinette, Silken, Zestar-(these two get scab), Crimson Crisp, Claygate Pearmain, Enterprise, Macoun, Crimson Topaz, Jonagold, Melrose, Ashmead’s Kernal. Every year I graft another 20 or 30 varieties so there are still many to discover – next year!
You might like to come out say, weekly, from August to sample the varieties as they reach perfection. This year we will spray clay and bio-teas to thwart the Apple Maggot, so fruit likely will appear contaminated, or otherwise “sprayed” which it is but with a finely ground clay called Kaolin-edible, even beneficial to consume! This year our apples are $2.50 to $4.50 /pound, half price for the rough and tumble blemished, bitten and moderate maggot or codling moth (CM) damage (CM makes one caterpillar hole and actuates the apple enzymes causing flavors to be released!)
Here is another list I am abreviating with more of selections. What is top 20?
- Sweet 16 – like expensive bourbon with a shot of vanilla!
- Spigold – Complex, intense and very juicy, difficult to grow because of its Northern Spy habits.
- Suncrisp – Intense “cox” flavor with more sugars, scab susceptible.
- Freyberg – Banana-like with a touch of overripe raspberry I don’the have this apple yet
- Hatsuaki – Sweet, sweet and sweet. Japanese like their apples sweet-like Fugi, Tsugaru, Shizuka, Silken, Mutsu, Beni Shogun.
- GoldRush – Battery acid off the tree—heavenly at Christmas and keeps through May if stored in plastic. Almost too late to ripen in Western Washngton.
- Holstein – from it’s Cox Orange Pippin parentage this fruit is complex, juicy and easy to grow, a winner, along with Kidd’s, Fiesta, Karmijn, Alkmene & Mother! All far easier to grow than Cox O.P. -“the icon of apple”.
- Jonagold – For the new-to-the-game (of apple flavors), it is a very pleasing mix of dead-ripe Jonathan and sugars of Golden. Easy to eat, light scab, blind fold taste test winner before Honeycrisp.
- Rubinette – A sweeter, milder (and juicier) version of Suncrisp, ripens 2 weeks earlier, scab-prone and small.
- Newtown – (Not to eat prior to Jan. 1) It is simply great, many subtle complexities; McDonald’s’ apple pie apple.
- William’s Pride – Sweet tang , red veins of sugar and juice course from medium-firm breaking flesh. Early and like all earlies-highly aromatic.
- Zabergau Reinette – Cider in an apple. Perfect for Streudels and pie and sauce as well as that perfect moment of firm for fresh eating
- Shizuka – A sweeter and juicier version of Mutsu which ripens about 10 days prior.
- NovaSpy – Great complexity (with slight vanilla-bourbon) and easier to grow than most Spy sibs.
- Melrose- Sweet, tangy, aromatic, juicy, crisp, Ohio State Apple, and for good resason.
- Honeycrisp – For those who equate flavor with its explosive texture which is hard to beat.
- Beni Shogun – Another sweet apple with fugi-like crispness, keeps into march; scab-prone.
- Hudson’s Gold Gem -compares to really great european pears (Collette, Magness, etc.). Flavors of pineapple and toasted nuts; shy production and fruit cracking with blemishes-but the tree grows out of after the first 7 years!
- Keepsake – A little late here, but flavor, storage, ease of growth is superior to its child, Honeycrisp
New Apple Cultivar: Silken
Originally tested as (8S-04-33). Parentage is Honeygold X Sunrise from the breeding program at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre – Summerland B.C. It is an early fall selection that was noted for its unique white gold porcelain colour and for its outstanding texture and flavour. It is a multiple-pick apple usually harvested over two weeks just ahead of and into the McIntosh season. The fruit hangs well in the canopy and maintains its fresh quality characteristics over a period of 2 – 3 weeks.
Medium size, rated very high in appearance and flavour tests. Occasionally a slight pink blush is present but no stripes. Stem-bowl russetting is characteristic but does not extend over the shoulder. It is firm, crisp and juicy. It is high in aromatic intensity and sweetness and moderate in acidity. It has a short storage life, about 8 weeks in air storage (0°C) and is best suited for direct sales.
Tree is moderately vigorous (similar to Gala), spreading and moderately spurry. It is easy to train to high-density systems. It is highly precocious and has a tendency to set heavily and prompt thinning is recommended. It does get scabby and bruises easily….and that’s the word from it’s creator.