Illustrations by Valeria Trucchia
This is the oldest American apple variety. Some folks say the flavor
is similar to guava and the texture like a coconut. It has a very high
sugar content, though you may not notice it due to the other complex
flavors. Cider made from this apple is like nectar, it is so thick and
sweet. A medium-sized apple with russeted skin, it is also known as a
leather-coat apple. The Roxbury Russet is generally available from
mid-October to late November.
Cox’s Orange Pippin
The most popular of English apples, it has been awarded the highest
honors by the Royal Horticultural Society. It was originally grown
from seed (hence the name Pippin) in 1825 by Richard Cox, an amateur
horticulturist. According to Roald Dahl, the popular children’s author,
one can tell a Cox is ripe for eating if the seeds rattle when you shake
it. Its tart citrus flavor is exquisitely tempered by notes of sweet pear. It is
excellent for eating and cooking, and makes a fabulous apple jelly. Cox
is parent to Holstein and Karmijn de Sonnaville. A small round apple
with orange skin, sometimes with some russeting. Harvest begins in
Reine des Reinettes
A French apple from the 1700s which has a high sugar content that’s
balanced with acidity. It’s a juicy apple, good for eating out of hand.
It is also good for cooking and in Normandy it is considered the best
apple for making hard cider. One of our favorite apples and a top
favorite at the tastings here on the farm; there is good reason it’s
called the King of the Pippins. A large, beautiful apple, red blush with
russeting. Look for this longtime favorite mid-to-late-September.
Calville Blanc d’Hiver
A French apple dating to 1598 with a champagne-like flavor and a
wonderful texture when cooked. Of all the French apples, this one is
considered the best to cook with because of its flavor and texture and
ability to hold its shape. It makes an excellent Tarte Tatin. Calville
has a yellow skin with a red blush. Its shape is deeply lobed, often
resembling a crown. Harvest in early October.
According to Zeke Goodband, our former orchard manager, this is
“one of the most handsome apples on the planet.” Grown in France
for hundreds of years, it has a flattened shape with a russeted, rosy
cheek. It has a combination of citrus and nutty flavors, and makes
for a good cooking apple as well as for eating out of hand. Yellow, fine
textured flesh. The famous English food writer, Edward Bunyard,
enjoyed his Orleans Reinettes with port wine. Later harvest variety,
A New England apple dating back to the early 1700’s. Henry David
Thoreau wrote in his journal about his preference for Blue Pearmain.
The crisp, rich flavor makes it a good apple for fresh eating and
baking, though its thick skin might prove unfavorable for some in
eating out of hand. Large with purple-blue skin with light russeting.
Sometimes marked with handsome green stripes and often with a
dusty, waxy bloom. Harvest in late September.
Or Royal Pineapple, this small yellow skinned apple was grown in
France and Belgium in the 1850s and is named for its flavor after it
mellows from the tree. Some sources note it from the 1500s, though it
soared in popularity in Germany in the mid-nineteenth century, and
remains popular all along central-northern Europe today. Its zesty
citrus flavor compliments its crisp fine-grain texture. Used mostly for
eating out of hand, it is also a fine cooking apple and makes a robust
juice or cider. It is a small to medium apple and aptly suited for the
home garden. Harvest begins in mid-September through October.