Fruit Garden Tour – Antique Apple Collection

Brief Narrative on the Origin of Heirloom Apples

The origin of the apple is thought to have occurred on slopes of the Tien Shan Mountain range in what is now Kazakhstan. For millions of years, these hills were protected from glaciation by the Himalayan mountains to the north and sustained by the monsoon rains of the Indian ocean. No other region on the earth has experienced such a long, reasonably stable time for evolution to occur. Consequently, many of our present fruits and nuts originated in this evolutionally supportive region.

With the silk routes from China to Europe passing though this area, apples and other fruits migrated to the middle east and eventually to Europe. Dwarf rootstocks were brought to Greece by Alexander the Great, and dwarfing was probably known to the ancient Egyptians. Thus, the apple was spread from the rich slopes of the Tien Shan mountains throughout the world.

Some apple historians assert that there are more than 20,000 different varieties of apples, although the obvious duplication of names would more likely reduce this number to less than 10,000. Of course, 10,000 is still a very large number; there are only two species of the commercial banana and only one of the kiwi. The explanation for this very large number of varieties of the apple can partly be found in that, probably for good evolutionary reasons, the apple is rarely self-fertile. Although it reproduces through sexual reproduction, apples require cross pollination to generate an offspring and thus seeds. Interestingly, apples have over 57,000 genes, and thus the tremendous diversity in the apple population.

A large percentage of this large number of varieties originated in North America. With the westward expansion of the US, and Canada, landowners found it difficult to carry seedlings of established apples, but seeds were readily available. Much of the population drank cider and beer, and thus large cideries generated huge quantities of seeds. One landowner is said to have purchased a bushel of seeds to start his new orchard. Indeed, in the settlement of the Northwest Territory (the land north of the Ohio, west of the Mississippi, and south of the Great Lakes) a homesteader was required to plant 50 apple and 50 pear trees. Nurserymen like Johnny Appleseed provided seeds to these farmers and they grew new apples from seed. Since the apple reproduce by cross pollination, each seed grew a completely new apple—most of which were worthless. However, grafting skills were widespread and once a good apple was found, it was rapidly spread by asexual cloning.

Of these 10,000 or so varieties, we have collected a few of the more famous ones and propagated them in our orchard. Specifically, the inner oval of the garden has XX varieties, each of which were in some form of commercial production before 1900. In addition, in order to display as many heirloom apples as possible, within our limited space, we have developed multi-variety trees that have as many of 20 different varieties on one tree.

If you walk though the garden, check the name on the tag at the base of the tree; in the following space, you will find a short description of this variety. We encourage you to explore the entire garden, as other heirloom apples are distributed throughout the orchard.

Explore more articles on the origin of the apple. Exploring the history of the apple from its wild origins
American Scientist: The Mysterious Origin of the Sweet Apple

Apple Descriptions
In order, from the north entrance, clockwise facing south

Grand Alexander
Alexander is one of several hundred apples of Russian origin brought into this country in the early 1800’s in an attempt to find cold-hardy trees suitable for commercial production. The true origins are unclear, but it was known to have been introduced into England from Russia in 1817. A large apple with pretty red striping, Alexander looks awesome and serves well both for fresh eating and for cooking, although it does not maintain its shape after cooking. It ripens August to September and is not a good keeper. It does hang on the tree late into November and stays fresh on the tree.
Arkansas Black
The apple is thought to have originated in the mid to late 1800’s in Bentonville, Arkansas, possibly discovered and raised by a settler named John Crawford. Believed to be a seedling of Winesap, the apple has many qualities similar to its better-known parent, namely a tart, tangy flavor and the ability to stay firm, crisp and flavorful after many months in storage. In fact, the apple reaches its peak in flavor and texture after a long period in cold storage. The name is quite apt as the apple is very dark red in color with some specimens appearing almost black or purplish, especially when grown in full sun. Arkansas Black is a wonderful cooking and processing apple. It holds its shape well when cooked so is popular for baking whole and pie making.

Ben Davis
Ben Davis is a handsome red apple with green and deep red striping and coarse, pale yellow-to-white flesh. It is a large, moderately juicy and crisp fresh-eating or baking apple, its flavor rather mellow. Ben Davis is harvested in mid-October and not only holds up well in storage, its flavor improves as well. It was known to fruit growers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a “mortgage lifter” because it was a reliable producer and the fruit would not drop from the trees until very late in the season. Although the origin of Ben Davis is somewhat murky, the most commonly accepted history is that it originated in Kentucky in 1799.
Blue Pearmain
Blue Pearmain is an heirloom American apple first discovered as a chance seedling sometime before 1833. It was a favorite of Henry David Thoreau, who wrote about it in his essay Wild Apples: “for I do not refuse the Blue-Pearmain, I fill my pockets on each side; and as I retrace my steps in the frosty eve, being perhaps four or five miles from home, I eat one first from this side, and then from that, to keep my balance.” In Rowan Jacobsen’s Apples of Uncommon Character describes this apple’s appearance as “mottled with pink, green, yellow, orange, taupe, auburn, carmine and black, all airbrushed with loveliest powdery blue bloom.”

Esopus Spitzenburg
The Spitzenburg apple tree was discovered in the late 1700s by an early Dutch settler of that name. It was found at the settlement of Esopus, on the Hudson River, in Ulster County, New York. Much attention was bestowed upon Spitzenburg apples when Thomas Jefferson ordered thirty two trees for his orchard in Monticello, and rumored to be his favorite apple. The Spitzenburg apple is unexcelled in flavor and quality, the fruit is great off the tree, but flavor improves immensely in storage. The Spitzenburg apple is often medium sized with crisp, yellow skin covered with inconspicuous red stripes and russet freckles. Today, apple connoisseurs still consider this variety among the finest ever known.

Ananas Reinette
An heirloom variety of yellow apple originally discovered in France in the 1500s, although the first written documentation of the cultivar was recorded in 1826 by German pomologist August Friedrich Adrian Diel. Ananas Reinette means “pineapple russet”, named so for the distinctive vertical green stripes visible on the skin, and when fully ripe its taste has a slight indication of pineapple. The fruit is small and ovoid. The grass-green base color goes gradually into olive green to dull yellow with greenish tinge. Quite mature and well developed fruits are golden yellow to orange yellow on the sunny side. The flesh is first white with greenish tint and green veins, the later white yellow. It is crisp, medium juicy, with a sweet taste and a strong, pleasant and distinctive aroma. The smell is strong and spicy.

Fall Pippin
A medium-large roundish high-quality all-purpose yellow fruit, sprinkled with a scattering of russet dots, a pronounced russet splash around the stem, and sometimes with a pinkish-red blush. Very good dessert quality. Makes a nice sauce. One of the oldest American varieties, dating from back when apples were passed around freely and no one cared much about what it was called or where it was from. Its origins are unclear, although it was known to have been grown in New England in the 1700s. Fall Pippin was especially valued for cooking. It is aromatic, with crisp, juicy, cream-colored flesh and outstanding sweet-tart flavor, and it stores well. Fall Pippin is one of America’s oldest apples.

Fameuse (Snow)
The Snow/Fameuse apple tree produces one of the oldest and most desired dessert apples, and is a parent of the aromatic McIntosh. This variety was noted in Canada in 1739 and was first introduced to the United States that same year. Snow Apples were found in almost every French settlement in the late 1700s and were the most commonly cultivated apple in Quebec for over 100 years. The historical origins of Snow apples are debated, with some experts tracing the variety back to the 1600s in France, while other pomologists believe they were originally developed from French seedlings in Canada. Flesh is tender, spicy, distinctive in flavor, and snow white in color with occasional crimson stains near the skin. Snow apple is very hardy, heavy bearing tree that is excellent for home orchards.

Golden Russet
This apple is one of the most prized among apple connoisseurs, ranking with Cox’s Orange Pippin in terms of flavor quality. It is a medium-sized apple that is russeted bronze over greenish gold and speckled with white lenticels. The flesh is creamy and dense, yielding a rich, aromatic juice that is high in sugar and acid and low in tannin. Golden Russet is highly esteemed among cider makers for its ability to reliably produce excellent juice, and it is often used for single-variety ciders. The fruit stores exceptionally well, remaining crunchy and flavorful throughout winter. Tasters often describe the flavor of Golden Russet as “nutty,” but this doesn’t even begin to capture the delightful intensity of its honeyed sweetness. The history of Golden Russet apples is complex and challenging to categorize. Historically, the term Golden Russet was used throughout the Eastern United States and England as a general descriptor for apple cultivars that exhibited russeted skin and a golden hue. Many apples were recorded as Golden Russet, and even after years of research, genetic testing, and studies conducted among historians and pomologists, the true Golden Russet apples are heavily debated. Some historians assert the apple originated in Burlington County, New Jersey in the late 1700s; others state that it was known to have been grown in North Carolina in 1714. It is likely that it originated as a seedling of one of the many English Russets that were well known in North America from its founding.

Egremont Russet
Egremont Russet apple is prized as the most delicious of the English russets. A classic English Victorian variety, believed to have been raised by the Earl of Egremont from Sussex, England in 1872. The Egremont Russet apple is rich, nutty, distinctive flesh with a perfect balance of sweet and sharp. Skin is a muted gold flecked with yellow and nearly covered with russet. The Egremont Russet is a wonderful component in salads and a popular partner for cheese. The variety was given the Award of Garden Merit in 1993, a prestigious acknowledgment of a quality home garden plant determined by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Bramley’s Seedling
In 1809, in Nottinghamshire, England in, a young woman named Mary Brailford planted a handful of apple seeds, one of which thrived and grew into the first Bramley tree. Bramley’s Seedling is well known for the vigor of its trees (which tend to be bigger than just about any other variety, regardless of what rootstock it’s grafted onto) and its powerful, classic ‘appley’ flavor. This large apple isn’t used as much for fresh eating as it is for baking. Long considered by many apple enthusiasts as the “world’s best cooking apple”, it cooks to perfection with rich juice and no hard pieces. Bramley’s Seedling quickly gained favor in this country for its tangy, sharp flavor and outstanding cider-making qualities. Fruit is very large and greenish-yellow in color with light red striping.

Belle de Boskoop
Belle de Boskoop was introduced in 1856 in the Netherlands, and is still popular on the Continent. It is a large, lumpy, dull red apple, often with extensive russeting. There is also a modern “sport” with a darker red coloring but otherwise quite similar. Belle de Boskoop is essentially a dual-purpose apple, suitable for both dessert and culinary uses. It works equally well in a savory salad, or can be used sliced in continental-style apple pies and flans. Unlike the English Bramley cooking apple, Belle de Boskoop keeps its shape when cooked. Eaten fresh, Belle de Boskoop is quite a sharp apple. This and its large size makes it unsuitable as a snack apple, but it can be nice cut into slices to share after a meal. The white-green flesh is dense with a very firm texture. It is one of those curiosities of the apple world, a triploid, meaning it has three chromosomes instead of the normal two. It’s an interesting phenomenon that happens in all manner of plants, not just apples. Triploid apples tend to be largely infertile and thus require having another variety nearby, a diploid.

Northern Spy
A 1847 letter from Oliver Chapin, writes “the first Northern Spy apple trees were raised from seeds brought from the Northwest part of Connecticut, about the year 1800, by Elijah Taylor”. The Northern Spy apples are large, and thin-skinned. The greenish-yellow skin is flushed and striped scarlet red. Northern Spy apples flesh is yellow to white, rather firm, very tender, crisp, juicy, slightly sweet and mildly acidic. Good for apple sauce, pies, cider, or simply eating out of hand. There are several legends behind the apple’s name, but in true espionage fashion, the answer is thought to have self-destructed with its creators and remains shrouded in mystery. The leading theory connects the apple’s name to a written piece that was circulated among abolitionists in the 1830s. This piece told the story of a “Northern Spy” who established safehouses to transport slaves from Virginia to New York. The spy would impersonate a slave catcher and would usher slaves to safety. It has been featured on a U. S. postage stamp.

The Niedzwetzkyana apple is a large bright red fruit with brilliant red flesh. Only a handful continue to survive in their native highlands of Kyrgyzstan. Flavor is a bit sweet and tart. The Niedzwetkyana apple tree is not very vigorous; apples ripen at end of summer beginning fall. It makes great apple pies that resemble pies made from cherries and pressed fruit provides scarlet cider. It is an apple native to certain parts of China Kazzakhatan, Kyrgystan and Uzebekistan, noted for its red-fleshed, red-skinned fruit and red flowers. The Niedzwetzky’s apple is rare; only 111 specimens of the tree are known to survive in Kyrgyzstan. There is some debate over whether Niedzwetkyana is its own species of Malus, or a unique variety of Malus pumila. However, the variety widely grown through the western world stems primarily from seeds which were sent from Turkestan in the late 1800s by amateur botanist Vladislav Niedziecki. These were raised by Georg Dieck who introduced them in 1890 at the Zöschen Arboretum near Merseburg, in Germany.

Roxbury Russet
The first Roxbury Russet apple tree sprung up around 1635 in the small town of Roxbury near Boston. The Roxbury Russet apple tree is considered one of our oldest American fruit trees still being grown today. Excellent old cider apple, a fine keeper and good for eating fresh out of hand. The Roxbury Russet apple is medium to large fruit, greenish, sometimes bronze tinged skin sometimes covered with yellowish-brown russet. The Roxbury Russet apples are remarkable for its amount of sugar. Firm, slightly coarse, fairly tender, yellowish-white flesh. Tree medium to large, a good cropper on rich soils. The tree bears an amazingly large crop every year, but don’t pick too early or the sugars will fail to develop. Roxbury Russet is in most respects typical of that group of apples known as russets. Although it has some tartness it is like all russets a fundamentally sweet apple. It is also a fairly good keeper, an important attribute before the advent of modern storage methods.

Tompkins King
A Tompkins King apple tree was brought from New Jersey to New York in 1804 by Jacob Wycoff. Grown in Tompkins County, New York, and called the King of apples, for size and flavor. The Tompkins King was fourth most popular New York apple in early 1900’s. Tompkins King apples are large to very large, Skin is smooth, golden washed with orange red, yellow fleshed, coarse, crisp, tender, flavor subacid. Tompkins King apples are also good for cooking when green and excellent for eating when handsomely striped. Water core (translucent flesh) sweetens some fruit. The flesh of a Tompkins King apple is yellowish, coarse, crisp, aromatic and tender. The flavor is subacid and highly appreciated. Many people bite into one and immediately say it tastes exactly as they remember a great apple tasting when they were a child. Yes, it’s that good. Tompkins King is a fairly good keeper and the tree is vigorous, productive and well-suited to our West Coast climate. In addition to its fame as a fresh-eating apple, Tompkins King is also a wonderful cooker.

Twenty Ounce
Twenty Ounce apples are believed by experts to be native to Cayuga County, New York, and were discovered sometime in the early 19th century. The parentage of the variety is unknown, but the apples were found as a chance seedling growing in the orchard of George Howland. Howland brought the apple to Massachusetts and presented the new variety to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1843. The apple was also featured in “The Magazine of Horticulture” in 1844 under the name Twenty Ounce, allowing the variety to gain increased commercial recognition. Twenty Ounce apples spread across the northeastern United States, arriving in Maine in the mid-19th century. The cultivar was also introduced to the Pacific Northwest sometime between the 1860s and 1920s. As the name implies, this apple can reach enormous proportions. Attractive, very large, striped red flush over a greenish background. Today Twenty Ounce apples are an heirloom variety grown on a small scale through apple enthusiasts in the northeastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. The cultivar is also grown in limited quantities in Australia and New Zealand.

Wealthy apples are native to Minnesota and were developed through apple breeder and grower Peter Gideon. There are several theories about the apple’s origins, with some of the stories including more dramatic touches, but the most retold version begins with Peter Gideon moving to Minnesota with his wife in 1853. It is said Peter moved to Minnesota for health reasons and established a homestead along the shores of Lake Minnetonka. On his homestead, Peter trialed apple, crab apple, plum, cherry, quince, pear, and peach trees to develop varieties that could survive the harsh climate of the Midwest. Most of the trialed fruit trees did not survive. Around the 1860s, Peter purchased a bushel of apple seeds from a grower named Albert Emerson in Bangor, Maine. The apple seeds were planted, and years later, all the seedling trees had died except for one. The tree was initially thought to be of Siberian crab apple descent, but over time, it was determined through DNA testing that the seedlings were a cross between Jonathan apples and Duchess of Oldenburg apples. The unnamed seedling continued to produce fruits each year, and Peter Gideon shared the apple’s seeds with other growers, especially other members of the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. The apple variety was eventually named Wealthy, released in 1868, and quickly became a popular apple nationally. By the early 20th century, Wealthy apples were being grown throughout the United States and England and remained a favored variety for several decades.

George Wheeler brought with him a bag of apple seeds when in 1791 he moved from Duchess County, NY to the area that would become known as Penn Yan, and he planted his seeds on his new land. In 1796 the tract of land on which the first Wagener tree now grew (it had since been transplanted locally) was purchased by David Wagener, whose son Abram is generally considered to be the founder of the township of Penn Yan. Wagener is a medium-sized apple, irregular and prominently ribbed. The skin is flushed red-orange over yellow with russeting around the stem, and the flesh is snow white, crisp, and fine grained. This apple receives very high ratings from tasters, who describe it as vinous, sprightly, and spicy, with flavors of anise and melon. It is also well regarded for its versatility, as Wagener will store well–without shriveling–through winter and makes excellent cider, sauce, juice, and pie. It hangs late into fall on the tree and often improves in character after an early frost.

Westfield Seek-no-Further
This apple originated in the Connecticut River Valley near Westfield, Massachusetts, before 1750. It was widely available in the markets of New York City during the early 1900s and both scions and rooted trees are still available from nurseries. There appears to be no record of its parentage. First mention of the variety may have been in William Coxe’s 1817 version of “A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees” with a listing under Seek No Further, simply stating that it is “a native of one of the Eastern states…” It was elaborately documented in A.J. Downing’s 1845 edition of “The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America” with the comment “The Westfield Seek-no-further is the Seek-no-further of Connecticut and is an old and highly esteemed variety of that district.” In 1846, the New York State Agricultural Society stated that “This truly excellent apple originated in Westfield, or its neighborhood, a beautiful meadow town, about ten miles west of Springfield, in the Connecticut valley in Massachusetts.” The Westfield Seek-no-Further apples are round to conical, pale to dull red over pale green background. Prominent spotting dots. The flesh is white, fine grained tender with a rich sweet flavor. This apple is best for fresh eating. The tree is moderately vigorous making it a nice addition to a garden. An excellent late season treat.

White Winter Pearmain
The White Winter Pearmain apple is one of oldest known English apples. It is medium in size, uniform in shape, and possesses light green skin, usually flushed red on one side. The sweet and pleasantly aromatic flesh is firm, fine-grained and crisp; an excellent dessert apple with pear undertones when left to mellow in storage. White Pearmain apple tree is a vigorous, self-fertile variety that also serves as a great pollinizer for other apple trees. White Pearmain is well adapted to coastal districts out west and the hot interiors. The White Winter Pearmain apple was first classified as such in 1858 by the American Pomological Society, but there is serious speculation however about the origin of the first White Pearmain tree. Some believe it to be of American decent coming from the tree grafts of early pomologists traveling in the eastern United States. Others suspect it to be a relative of an old English apple that dates back to 1200 A.D. Because the apple has a hint of pear, note it name—although the origin of the name “pearmain” has several different meanings–it has a complex flavor, and this overlapping of apple and pear in the same fruit has to some calling it the best tasting apple in the world.

Mother apples were developed by apple enthusiast Steven Partridge Gardner in 1844 in Bolton, Massachusetts. Mother apples were the only American apple variety that made the list of Mr. J.M.S. Potter’s five favorite apples. Mr. Potter was a former director of the National Fruit Collection in England, one of the world’s largest collections of apple varieties. The Mother apple is a beautiful piece of fruit, good size with thin golden yellow skin covered with deep red marbled and striped with carmine. Fine tender, rich, aromatic flesh. Bunyard, the English pomologist, referred to Mother apple as the “flavor of pear drops.” Great fresh off the tree! The parentage of Mother apples is unknown, but after their discovery in the early 19th century, the variety was introduced to England by famous nurseryman Thomas Rivers under the name American Mother. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Mother apples were a favored apple variety for private orchards in England, selected for their distinct, sometimes fickle flavor.

Winesap apples are a heritage variety that was first recorded in 1804 by Dr. James Mease. The record mentioned that the variety was cultivated in Moore’s Town, New Jersey, by Samuel Coles and was a popular cider apple. The exact origin and history of the variety are mostly unknown, with experts believing the apples date back to at least colonial times. Winesap apples were later introduced into the Southern United States, especially in Virginia, where they were extensively cultivated until the 1950s. It can be eaten fresh but is primarily a culinary apple, also popular for juice/cider production. Coxe described it and provided an illustration in his 1817 book, A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees. Coxe and other authors mention its use for cider. The Winesap fruit is small to medium with a deep, cherry red skin and a crisp, yellow flesh. It has moderate disease resistance including to mildew and blooms a few days later than other late varieties. It is all-purpose, being used for fresh eating, cider, apple butter, and pies. It is similar to Arkansas Black.

Winter Banana
The Winter Banana apple tree originated on the David Flory farm in Indiana, around 1876. The Winter Banana apple variety was later introduced by the Greening Brothers Nursery of Monroe, Michigan in 1890. The fruit is large, clear pale yellow, waxy finish, one side usually blushed with a delicate pink. The flesh of Winter Banana apples is moderately firm, a little coarse, tender, mild, subacid, characteristically aromatic. Better eating than cooking. Widely grown in mild winter areas on the West Coast. This is an apple that can certainly be called the “Fairest of the fair”, the sweet and lovely Winter Banana. With its smooth, waxy, pale yellow skin and pinkish-red blush, the Winter Banana is an extremely attractive apple as well as a beneficial addition to the home orchard. Winter Banana is a diploid, self-fertile apple, meaning that it not only pollinates itself, but also serves as a very effective pollinizer for other apple trees. Very few apples are self-fertile like Winter Banana and so require pollen from other apple varieties for proper cross-pollination and successful fruit production. It is a highly aromatic apple with a pleasant, perfumed aroma that some people discern as banana.

Wolf River
The ‘Wolf River’ apple is believed to have originated as a seedling from the ‘Alexander’ apple in Wisconsin near the banks of the Wolf River. The story varies on what apple the seeds were planted from and who brought the tree into propagation; however according to Bussey in the Illustrated History of Apples in the United States and Canada, it is most widely believed that a lumberman from Quebec named William A. Springer bought apples along his journey that he later identified as ‘Alexander’. He saved the seeds from these apples, which were later planted when the Springer family settled along the banks of the Wolf River in WI. These apples are really best baked rather than eaten fresh. Wolf River has an unremarkable subacid flavor and dry flesh, but it is this dryness has made it a favorite for pies, sauce, baking whole, and drying, especially in the Midwest. It should be picked slightly underripe, as the fruit tends to rot if left on the tree. It will not store well for any appreciable length of time. Wolf River, with its mild, sweet flavor and ability to hold its shape when cooked, is indeed a wonderful pie apple but it really shines when turned into apple butter. Wolf River is a world-class apple butter apple and has long been cherished for the smooth, creamy apple butter it produces after hours of slow cooking.

Yellow Bellflower
Yellow Bellflower apples were discovered on a tree growing on a farm in Crosswicks, a community in Burlington County, New Jersey. The variety was thought to have arisen in the mid-1700s, and the first written record of the apples was documented in 1817 through William Coxe in his book, “A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees and the Management of Orchards and Cider.” Coxe mentioned that the mother tree of Yellow Bellflower apples was still alive and growing on a farm in Crosswicks. In the 1850s, Yellow Bellflower apples were widely cultivated across New Jersey and eventually spread to New England and Oregon in 1847. The variety was also planted in Europe during the 19th century and was grown in France and the Netherlands. A favorite for baked apples, the Yellow Bellflower apple variety has fruit that’s quite variable in size, with attractive lemon yellow color and pinkish-blush in sunny exposures. Flesh whitish, firm, fine-grained, rather tender, aromatic, quite acidic early in season. Usually picked on the tart side, then mellowed in storage for several months. Yellow Bellflower apples are rumored to have been named for their bell-like shape and coloring. The origins of the variety’s name are unknown, but the heirloom apples have a bulbous, tapering shape, resembling a bell hanging on a tree. There are also species of flowers known as bellflowers, and these blooms have a bell-like shape that is similar to the apples. Some experts believe the apples were named after the popular flowers. The fruit’s pale yellow coloring also reminds apple enthusiasts of bells made from gold or copper, another hypothesis for the variety’s name.

Newtown Pippin
Newtown Pippin apples are the oldest commercially grown variety to have been bred in the U.S. The Newtown Pippin apple tree sprang from a seed in Newtown, Long Island around 1750. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were two noted admirers of this fine fruit. Jefferson wrote from Paris, “They have no apples here to compare with our Newtown Pippin.” Its skin is green to yellow, often russeted, with white dots. Newtown Pippin apple’s flesh is yellowish or tinged with green, firm, crisp, moderately fine grained, and sprightly aromatic with refreshing piney tartness. Some find a light tangerine scent. The fruit develops full sugar and rich flavor after a few months of cold storage. It is also often called Albemarle Pippin, and by this name was featured on a U S Postal stamp. By the 19th century Newtown Pippins were an important commercial variety in the USA, both for domestic use and exported in large quantities to London markets, where the Victorian author Hogg commented on their arrival in January each year. The appreciation of the flavors of apples reached a peak in Victorian England, and the popularity of Newtown Pippins in Victorian England is a sure sign that this is very high quality apple with the rich aromatic flavor most sought after at that time. Hogg also commented that the Newtown Pippin could not be grown successfully in England–it needs a hot summer and autumn and will not ripen properly most years in the cool temperate climate of England. During the 19th century, the Newtown Pippin experienced significant commercial success. It was part of the Select List of Apples kept by the Horticultural Society of London in 1807 and commanded the highest prices at Covent Garden. Queen Victoria so favored them so much that the British Parliament lifted the import duty on Newtown Pippins until World War I. In more recent history, the pomologist Tom Burford has included Newtown Pippin in his list of Top 20 Dessert Apples.