[NAFEX] Fwd: [organic-l] Re: Apple varieties

Lon Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Sat Sep 4 19:47:17 EDT 2004

This is from a list based in the UK.  I thought NAFEX members would 
find the different viewpoint interesting.
-Lon Rombough
> Julia's suggestion that you go to an apple day is spot on to my mind -
> adding the rider that it needs to be a local one. Apples are (or at 
> least
> were) bred for specific locations and often do badly elsewhere. Since 
> you
> are in Northamption I presume you have a fairly heavy soil so I would
> eschew the Cox and, alas, the finest winter apple of them all, to my 
> mind,
> the d'Arcy Spice - East Anglian readers please not, if you aren't 
> growing
> it already get it at once. It loves light sandy soils and the flavour 
> is
> something that has escaped from Paradise. I would have reservations 
> about
> Julia's St Edmund Russett for the same reason - it likes a free 
> draining
> soil and appreciates a bit of peat in its construction - it does
> brilliantly for my fenland relatives and theirs tastes far better than 
> it
> does grown around here. I've still planted it because even at reduced
> flavour its lovely but my baby tree hasn't borne yet. Rather than 
> Julia's
> Sunset my own pet Cox relative is the Holstein Cox. Its a wonderfully
> reliable bearer, the flavour is even better than Cox to my mind and it
> doesn't care a bit about soil conditions or weather as far as I can 
> tell.
> Its only problem is that it is as vigourous as a bramley so on an 
> allotment
> you would probably want to espalier it - mind you on an allotment I 
> think I
> would espalier all my apples. James Grieve is an absolute given - good
> flavour, beautiful, dead reliable, and the Ashmead's Kernel is another 
> that
> every garden should squeeze in somewhere. Also from Julia's list the
> Discovery is a given. The other early that is absolutely reliable for 
> us is
> Katy. Not the world's greatest and doesn't keep but one of the best
> straight from the tree and very reliable and utterly beautiful and 
> blossom
> and fruit. The juice is very good and a wonderful colour - children 
> fight
> over it. Lady Sudely also gives particularly good juice. Blenheim 
> Orange is
> another that gets better and better in late autumn and early winter - 
> it
> goes on the Christmas table with the Egremont Russett in this house. 
> For an
> early cooker I would always want to have the Rev Charles Wilkes - he's
> actually dual purpose but there are so many other eaters around when 
> he is
> ready that we always drop him into the pot - he's a very good standby 
> to
> provide the pectin for the blackberry jelly. As I look out the window 
> I can
> see our biggest ever Bramley crop - Bramley may sound hackneyed but it
> still makes lovely pies and crumbles and fluffs though you need another
> firmer cooker or a sharpish eater for those dishes where you want the 
> fruit
> to stay intact such as a Norman apple tart. Anyway we have serious 
> Bramley
> problems this year. The M109 stock simply didn't give strong enough 
> wood to
> hold this year's monster crop (all other varieties have done very 
> poorly)
> off the ground so we have all sorts of props underneath the branches 
> and
> half of them are still on the ground. Next winter will see them very
> heavily pruned - fortunately we have another in a different part of the
> garden so we won't do without. We have about 30 varieties but many of 
> them
> are local, grown partly for flavour but partly for curiosity value. 
> Each
> has their season and their place on our dinner tables or in our 
> glasses. As
> Julia says, you need to taste lots and lots. You also need to decided
> whether you are growing trees, bushes, espaliers or cordons. To bore
> everyone with the reminder once again when I was a child we had a dozen
> apples, as well as pears, plums and currants, as cordons round our 20 
> x 30
> foot back garden and we got enormous crops off them. But on an 
> allotment I
> think I would espalier on the north side so that shade fell only on the
> path between plots  and didn't mess up either my own or my neighbour's
> veggies. Absolutely critical in any restricted situation is to get the
> right rootstock. Most of the serious fruit nurseries' websites have 
> good
> information on this. I've been disappointed in the quality of trees I
> bought from Deacons. Future Forests here in Ireland have a good range 
> and
> excellent quality at low prices but I don't know whether they export. 
> What
> are Keepers like? They seem to have the best range of all but don't 
> export
> to Ireland so I haven't been able to try them out. (I'm thinking of 
> getting
> them to ship to my son in Birmingham this winter and collecting from 
> him so
> I would be grateful for feedback from those who have bought from them.)
> Sue - in answer to your question about what we do with all those 
> apples -
> eat them fresh, cook them, juice them, make friends with people who 
> don't
> have apple trees, make pectin to set low pectin jams such as 
> blackberrry,
> raspberry and strawberry, eat more. An apple a day keeps the doctor 
> away so
> think what half a dozen a day can do. But yes, we do have more than we 
> can
> eat but not more than other people can.
> kathryn
> At 22:41 03/09/2004, you wrote:
>>> I'd also lilk to plant a couple of apple trees on my
>>> allotment. When and what varieties have people
>>> prefered?
>>> Cheers
>>> Ian
>> The best way to choose would be to go to an Apple day (usually in
>> October) and try as many as possible. Failing that our favourites
>> are St Edmunds Russett, Discovery, Elstar, Sunset & Greensleeves.
>> Also it depends whether you want them to be keepers, or to eat
>> relatively fast. Also if they will pollinate each other.
>> We also grow Ashmeads Kernel, James Grieve, Egremont Russett, Kidds
>> Orange Red and Pixie, and only the first and the last can be stored
>> for any length of time. Then you have to check the appropriate
>> rootstock. Lots of things to consider. The Dr Hessayon book of Fruit
>> will tell you which will pollinate which, etc.
>> Good luck!
>> Julia
>> in N.Cheshire, after a gorgeous sunny day

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