[NAFEX] heirloom apple varieties versus modern

Amelia Hayner abhayner at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 20:46:43 EST 2011

I agree.
Once again-- I think the best apples and most interesting apples I have
seen/tasted have been modern ones, developed by universities, that were for
some reason - non-commercial.

On Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM, Alan Haigh <alandhaigh at gmail.com> wrote:

> I can't stand by when someone suggests that heirloom varieties are superior
> to modern ones.  In my opinion, which is based on spending pretty much my
> entire life with all kinds of apple trees as I manage a bearing age fruit
> tree nursery and about 100 home and estate orchards and even one small
> commercial orchard in southeastern NY.  Most of the six months I spend every
> season pruning fruit trees all working day long is in heirloom variety apple
> trees- many of them over 100 years old and quite large.
> Of coarse taste is entirely subjective but I've noticed that novice growers
> tend to be a bit over enamored of heirlooms, especially if that's all they
> grow.  Apples off your own trees are going to taste better than anything
> you're likely to buy at the grocery store and if you're good at it they
> probably will be better than  what you can buy at a farm.
> Of my top 10 apples, maybe half are heirlooms and most apple growing fools
> I know have come to the conclusion that if you want to grow the best apples
> you need a mix of the modern and the traditional.   What's more, in general,
> newer apples tend to be more grower friendly than many heirlooms- easier to
> prune and more forgiving of unusual weather.  A couple of the new disease
> resistant varieties are particularly good in this department- especially
> Goldrush.
> Baldwin used to be my favorite apple but the warm autums we've been having
> a lot of lately aren't conducive to it getting to best quality.  This is
> typical of heirlooms which are much more likely to be dependent on what
> would be normal weather in the region of the country where they were
> discovered.  Modern varieties tend to be tested in a wide range of weather
> conditions to make sure the patent is going to be worth the expense.
> I don't care if you like sweet or tart apples or light or dense fleshed
> ones there are new and old varieties that will fill the bill if you have an
> open mind.
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