But, because of people’s interest in local, organic farming there has been a resurgence of popularity in heirloom, or “antique” apple growing. By growing heirloom apples, small orchards get a competitive advantage over the orchards that mass produce. Here are some antique apples you might want to look for at your next trip to your farmers market or an apple festival.
Maiden’s Blush – This small, to medium sized apple is harvested in August/September and is an heirloom that dates back to the 1700’s. It is described as crisp and tender, with vanilla and citrus notes, but it is sharp and will cause you to pucker straight from the tree. It will mellow a bit with storage, but this apple is best for cooking, desserts, and making cider.
Ribston Pippin – This little beauty hails from the early 1700’s in England. This apple is harvested in mid-September and is described as hard and crisp. It is a sweet apple that is great for eating fresh, and it also works great for baking, and making ciders and sauces. It is thought that the Ribston Pippin is perhaps one of the parents of a Cox Pippin.
Roxbury Russet – This antique apple is believed to be the first apple variety originating in North America, possibly dating back to Massachusetts in 1649. This medium sized apple ripens in October and is very sweet due to its high sugar content. This makes for good fresh eating and great cider making.
Golden Russet – This golden beauty dates back to England in the late 1600’s and is often claimed as the best tasting of the russet apples. It’s a juicy apple that becomes ripe in October. The Golden Russet’s honey-like sweetness makes it popular for eating fresh and highly sought after for cider making.
There are so many delicious heirloom apples to discover this is just a snapshot into a few that are available.