Apples, Autumn’s Antique Delights

It is officially autumn and in New England that means apple picking. While most orchards may have a dozen or so well-known varieties, antique varieties are rarely found except at specialty orchards. Our orchard is one of the exceptions as it is planted with almost a hundred different varieties of heritage apples, sometimes called antique or heirloom, they are Autumn’s Antique Delights.

Apples Ready For The Picking

Apples Ready For The Picking

Our orchard was originally planted as a cider orchard. I think this is most fitting since our home was originally built during the 1730’s. At that time, cider was what most people, including children, drank as much of the water was considered unsafe.

There is nothing nicer than wandering through the orchard, smelling the sweet aroma of apples. If you were walking with me, you would be surprised at how different many of apples look and taste compared to what can be found in your local market or farm stand.

Our Orchard Is Lined With Old Rock Walls

Mutsu and Cortland Apples Growing In Our Orchard That Is Lined With Old Rock Walls

Our apples have names that start with every letter of the alphabet except Z but you have probably not heard of many of them. See how many of these apples you recognize.

Ashmed’s Kernel, which is originally from Gloucester, England, came to our country in the early 1700’s. It is a russeted, cooper colored, medium-sized apple. It is crisp with a spicy, sweet-tart flavor and a grainy interior.

Baldwin, a very popular old American apple that was discovered in Massachusetts in the 1700’s. It is a medium to large orange and red striped apple. It is a juicy, sweet apple that is great for pies.

Cox’s Orange Pippin, is a very popular English dessert apple. It is yellow with red stripes that gives it an orange color. It has a very aromatic yellow flesh that is spicy and juicy. It gets more flavorful as it ripens.

Esopus Spitzenberg was planted at Monticello and was one of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite apples. It is red orange with a white interior that is very crisp and has a sweet, tart and spicy flavor.

King Of Tompkins County, originally from New Jersey, then planted in New York in the 1800’s is a large, crimson-striped, sweet apple with a greasy feeling skin that makes great cider, pies and sauce.

Newtown Pippin, originated in Queens County on Long Island, New York in the early 18th century and was grown through out New England. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew this apple on their estates.

Roxbury Russet, is probably the oldest named variety of apples in America, originating in Roxbury, Massachusetts in the early 17th century. It is a medium, russeted, brownish  green apple.

Our Trees Are Never Sprayed With Chemicals

Our Trees Are Never Sprayed With Chemicals

We don’t spray our apples with any chemicals whatsoever and because of that, they are not pretty apples. They sometimes have blotches and bumps; none of which affects the interior flesh or flavor. Unfortunately, most people want pretty apples.

Cox's Orange Pippin

Cox’s Orange Pippin

You might remember a few lines from Joni Mitchell’s song…

Hey farmer farmer
Put away the DDT 
I don’t care about spots on my apples
Leave me the birds and the bees
Please!

Even though DDT is not used anymore, we made the decision to go chemical free, not even using chemicals that are classified as organic.

We have more apples than we can ever use and gladly share them with friends. Weekends during apple season, when the sun is out and the air is crisp, our friends and their families enjoy picking apples in our orchard. Every once in a while, we have out of town friends spend the weekend with us and plan a “harvest weekend”. We pick apples, press cider, and make apple pies. We laugh a lot, eat well and make a lot of memories.

If you get a chance this fall, head out to an orchard for a day of old-fashioned fun picking apples. Some of the orchards will probably have beautiful views of the lovely countryside to make the experience more pleasurable. At many orchards, there will be hayrides out to the trees to “pick your own” apples. Ask what apples are available to pick and see if they have any heritage apples. Remember, they are one of autumn’s antique delights.

  

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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215 Responses to Apples, Autumn’s Antique Delights

  1. Eha says:

    Another lesson I have learned from your blog: Yes, we too talk of heritage or heirloom apples, but the word ‘antique’ in regard to them is new to me and tho’ an apple orchard was long in the family it prided itself on but half-a dozen different types, not a hundred! The only name on your list I recognize is the Cox’s Orange Pippin, so have to look up the others, knowing they are but a few in your orchard. Who on earth looks after all this wealth? And DO hope you have a most fabulous picking season ahead with all your friends :) !

  2. lizzygoodthings says:

    That’s it! I’m coming to visit you…. sometime one fall! : )

  3. lizzygoodthings says:

    PS, what a beautiful, beautiful orchard! And all those varieties!

  4. You are so right Karen. Apple picking is one of the things I love most about fall–and you’ve inspired me to make sure we get out with the girls this year! Now I want to try Spitzenberg apples — which me luck finding them. And thanks for the insights into your orchard…

    • Karen says:

      Hi Barb, I’m happy to know that I have inspired you to take your girls apple picking this year. I hope you can find Spitzenberg apples, you will love there flavor. Thank you for your nice comment…I’m glad you enjoyed the post about our orchard.

  5. I would love to try an Esopus Spitzenberg. I’m not familiar with it and tart apples with a big of sweet & spicy are my favorite. You’ve encouraged me to drive over to the apple orchards near us Karen. Thanks. Have a lovely week ahead.
    Sam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sam, I’m happy that I have inspired you to go to your local orchard. I hope that you can find Esopus Spitzenberg apples. I don’t know how far away Hendersonville is from you but I see that an orchard there grows Spitzenbergs. Thank you for your wish, I hope you have a great week as well.

  6. Love that song. “Don’t it always seem to go….

  7. Mad Dog says:

    I agree with you and Joni ;-)
    I’ve got to go an find some traditional cider this afternoon – I’m adding it to last year’s used sloes from sloe gin to make slider. Luckily I have a pub near me which specialises in cider and has at least 10 types on tap.

  8. Sue says:

    Karen-I’m SO glad you don’t spray! Good for you!! I wish more people would realize that it’s POISON they are eating just to get a pretty apple. We don’t spray any of our trees either. I have a favorite tree for applesauce, and there are some that are perfect for fresh eating—and oddly enough those don’t seem troubled by pests. We do not know the varieties, unfortunately. Nothing was marked. Trees we plant get a stake at the base indicating variety, but the old ones, well-it’s a mystery.
    We are trying to find more of the old varieties to use. Many of them do well even without a spraying (or four!).
    Loved the post! Enjoy the week. We’re headed for Nebraska–antiquing . We need the break after all the “saucing” I did the past week.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Sue, for your nice comment…I’m happy you enjoyed the post. I wish more people felt like you and I but most people want pretty apples. It is why I don’t bother trying to sell mine anymore. You are right…certain varieties of apples are better for sauce, pies, etc. There are nurseries that carry heritage apple trees that you can buy online. Enjoy your trip!

  9. Such a lovely post, Karen. How lucky you are to have this wonderful orchard and I imagine you have enough apple recipes to ŵrite a book! Thank you for sharing.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Kay, for your nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post about our orchard. I’ll have to make sure to include some apple recipes in the future.

  10. Nice to hear about your orchard but it was also educational. I was not familiar with your heritage varieties but it must be very satisfying to have such a wonderful variety on your property. And, I’d take a bump on the fruit over pesticides any day of the week and twice on Sunday. We did go picking at Butternut Farm last week and came home with some delicious Macouns. Enjoy your harvest. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, I’m happy that you found the post educational. I do think it is interesting about how different apples can be in looks, taste and texture depending on the variety. I’m glad that you agree about no pesticides. I have Macouns in our orchard…I think they are one of the favorites of New Englanders.

  11. Lulu says:

    Orchards around here are loaded, too, and I love seeing the trees full of color with their heavily weighted branches, I can only imagine the good things you make with yours. If you are enjoying your orchard, you must be back in NH.
    Oh, Karen, do you have tips for ripening green tomatoes? I don’t think mine are ever going to turn red.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, It is interesting to see large branches that I normally couldn’t reach now touching the ground from the weight of apples. You are right, we are back in New Hampshire now. We have closed the cottage in Maine, just have to go back to meet the plumber so he can drain the water pipes. As to your green tomatoes, layer them in a bag or box and they should ripen. If you want to have some ripen fast, add an apple to the bag and close it for a couple of days. :)

  12. Beautiful, Karen! Makes me want to pack my bags and head to New England :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Serena, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photos. Autumn is one of the prettiest times of the year in New England…especially in a few weeks when the leaves change colors.

  13. Gorgeous colors and textures Karen. I probably will not have the time to go apple picking, but the large downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market is just 2 blocks from my house. I was there this past week and saw many types of heirloom, local apples starting to show up. Thanks for sharing your bounty visually with us. Lovely orchard and lucky you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Teresa, Our orchard has many different colors…going from whites and pinks when in bloom, to solid green in the summer, then to reds and golds in the fall when we start picking. It is nice that you farmers market has vendors selling heirloom apples, they have so much flavor. Thank you for your nice compliment, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

  14. Am poaching apples in a syrup this evening! Thanks for prompting!

  15. Bonnie says:

    What a nice post to read on a crisp fall morning. I’m looking forward to picking up some of our favorite apples in Virginia next month.

    Best,
    Bonnie

  16. Norma Chang says:

    What fun, but how do you keep track of all the variety names? Baldwin is the only variety on the list that I recognize. I would take an “ugly” apple anytime.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Norma, When we first bought our home and it came with all these trees, I didn’t think I would ever be able to do it. Each fall I would write names on plastic streamers and tie into the different varieties. Now I basically know where they all are. I wish more people were like you when it comes to an “ugly” apple. They may not be pretty but they certainly are delicious.

  17. ramblingtart says:

    I let out a big sigh of happiness when I saw your first picture, and didn’t stop sighing until the end of your post. :-) Apples are such joy to me and I’ve been craving them even though it’s Spring here, simply because it’s September and in my mind, that means apples. I’d love to taste every variety you mentioned. :-)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Krista, for your lovely compliment. I’m always happy to know when a post is special to a reader. Wish I could share some of my apples with you. :)

  18. Penny says:

    I grew up in Michigan surrounded by apple orchards. I didn’t appreciate them at the time. How lucky you are to have your own orchard. Now Hendersonville NC is just 20 minutes away. I will have to check with the farmers about some of the antique apples like Spitzenberg.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Penny, I know what you mean, when we are young we sometimes don’t appreciate what is around us. Since you live close to Hendersonville, I’ll get you the name of the orchard that sells the heritage apples.

  19. What a lovely orchard you have! What a true treasure, I’m sure that the apples are delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Laila, I’m glad that you enjoyed seeing a little of our orchard. The apples are delicious and very juicy, especially when the weather turns a little cooler and brings out more of their sweetness.

  20. It is amazing how many varieties (cultivars) of apples were grown and available when our country was first founded. Something like over 1,000 or something? Now, we’re lucky if we have access to 12 of them. What a beautiful apple orchard you have with antique varieties! Gorgeous photographs, too. Today, I am working with Honeycrisp apples. I just adore them. They taste like apple cider to me! Thanks for sharing this beautiful post with your readers, Karen. Happy autumn!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Stacy, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post about our orchard. When I was selling my apples, it was very hard to get people to even try one of the heritage varieties. They only wanted to buy what they had grown up eating. Honeycrisps are considered a designer apple and are very popular now.

  21. Monique says:

    Your apples are splendid..It must feel so close to heaven walking through an orchard..that is ours..as it feels like that even when it’s not.It’s just that you are afforded the peace and solitude..alone with nature.Just gorgeous.
    I bet you are itching to bake..
    There are so may nice pies too:)Not just cakes..

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Monique, I’m happy you enjoyed the post and photos about our orchard. It really is peaceful when I’m out in the orchard working. You are right about baking…your apple cake is nice inspiration. I have a big basket of apples I picked yesterday. :)

  22. Now I’ve got that song in my head…but that’s ok because I always loved it. Such variety of apples, I only recognized the Baldwin. But that is what apples are supposed to look like and I can imagine all of the wonderful things you’ll be doing with them. So much fun to share with others.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, I think a few of us will have that song in our head. The Baldwin apple trees in the orchard are huge. For being one of America’s oldest apples, you don’t see many of them around. Wish I could share apples with all my readers…at least I’ll try to share some recipes using them. :)

  23. How very charming, delightful and marvelous!!! I am coming with Lizzy! How very delicious. You have a most incredible life, my dear. I am quite envious and happy. XXOO Tin Man

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tin Man, I always enjoy when you stop by. Your comments give me a big smile, thank you! I definitely agree with you that I have an incredible life…I’m very lucky. Perhaps you will become a New Englander and live a similar life one of these days. :)

  24. ohlidia says:

    Oh Karen! Wow! How lucky are you?! My girls LOVE to go apple picking and it is a yearly family ritual. But this year, I wanna come picking in your orchard!! :-)

  25. Haven’t seen a Cox’s Orange Pippin in a long time. I love to shake them to hear the pips rattle:)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Roger, We had a terrible ice storm a couple of years ago that brought down a lot of our trees. I only have two Cox’s left in our orchard and I love them. Their apples are incredible sweet after the first frost hits them. One of the ways you know when an apple is fully ripe is when the seeds are dark brown and loose. :)

  26. ‘pretty’ apples are overrated Karen! I’d much rather have a piece of fruit that is full of blemishes and sun spots but is chemical free and tastes sweet! What a gorgeous apple orchard, thanks for sharing xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lisa, I’m glad you agree with me…an apple doesn’t have to be pretty to be delicious. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and posts of the orchard. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  27. Karen Harris says:

    I don’t mind ugly apples or scrawny little chickens. So glad to know that I’m not alone. I wish I lived closer to you. You would definitely have one more apple picking friend in your orchard..

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, I’m with you about little chickens and ugly apples. I wish more people thought like us…perfect is very overrated. Wish you were my neighbor, you would be a great apple picking friend. :)

  28. If I lived nearby, I would definitely stop by to pick some apples! AND I don’t care about spots on my apples…

  29. TasteFood says:

    Apple heaven – I always think of apple picking when I think of New England fall.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lynda, I agree with you. I think most peoples thoughts are of apple picking and the changing colors of the trees when they think about fall in New England.

  30. Apple envy, I’ve got it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that many gorgeous apples to eat, cook with, preserve and press. Lucky you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maureen, Apple envy…that is so funny. I don’t know if you would really think it is lucky when you look at hundreds of apples on hundreds of trees. It is a LOT of apples to either pick off the trees or up off the ground. :)

  31. David says:

    I have so many fond memories of apple picking when I was young – Pippins were one favorite, and Macs, too. My mother was always reminiscing about Baldwins and I have never tasted one. How fun that you have all those varieties in your own orchard! Happy pie baking!

    • Karen says:

      Hi David, I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. It is always nice to know when something I have written brings back fond memories. Wish I could share some of the Baldwin apples with you so that you could experience the apples that your mother enjoyed.

  32. Thanks so much for sharing your Apple Orchard with us. I especially loved the history lesson about your apples. I agree with Tin Man. You do have an incredible life!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Southern, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post about our heritage apples. I do think I have a wonderful life and I’m very thankful. :)

  33. How lucky you are to have your own orchard! You are inspiring me to plant some more trees!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Agi, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I’m happy you enjoyed the post and it has inspired you to plant some more apple trees. You might want to check out some of the nurseries online that sell heritage apple trees. :)

  34. I don’t recognize any of those apples, actually, but your apples and your orchards are beautiful. I just bought some apples called “Zestar”…apples that start with a “Z” as a matter of fact! :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I’m not surprised that you didn’t recognize the names of the apple varieties that I listed. You don’t really hear too much about heritage apples anymore. I know of two varieties that start with a “Z” and we don’t have either in our orchard…Zestar is one of them. :)

  35. Kristy says:

    We have apple picking on our to-do list every fall. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I am so impressed with all the varieties you have in the orchard! And I’ll take a spotted, bumpy apple over a grocery store shiny apple any day of the week. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kristy, I’m sure Miss A and Mr. N love picking apples…it is such a fun family event. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post about some of the heritage apples that we have in the orchard. It’s nice to know that you don’t mind a spotted, bumpy apple. :)

  36. A_Boleyn says:

    Beautiful apples … farming isn’t an easy life but harvest time is a joy when your trees are laden with such bounty.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Boleyn, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos of the apple orchard. You are right, taking care of the orchard is a lot of work. When you bite into a fresh picked apple you tend to forget about the soreness from being up and down on a ladder. :)

  37. Our 100+ year old apple trees look the same…spots and blotches don’t bother us a bit either. Our apples are very tart, not sure of the variety, but they are perfect for apple pie, crisp and any baking projects…my little guy loves them straight off the branch as well – he loves tart apples! Beautiful post and thanks for all the info. on so many different types of apples.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Jennifer, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I know that you would like knowing what your old tree is but the important thing is that you like the apples it produces.

  38. dahliadd says:

    Great post! No, I hadn’t heard of those varieties so I enjoyed reading about them. ;)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Dahlia, for your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post about some of the heritage apples that we have in our orchard.

  39. I can’t wait to head out to the local apple orchard and pick up a bag or two. When I lived in New Hampshire, I always went to Apple Hill Farm in Concord, but I have to confess it was not only for their apples but also for their delicious pies! Thank goodness there is an orchard near when I live now or I would go through apple withdrawal!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I’m happy to know that my post reminded you of your apple picking days in New Hampshire. Many of the orchards sell terrific pies and other goodies. I’m glad that you have an orchard nearby…it wouldn’t be good to have apple withdrawal. :)

  40. jane says:

    i think it would be wonderful to have my own apple orchard. I can think of a thousand ways to use them! It must be a good feeling to share them and have so much fun doing so! Do you get a lot of deer? A friend of mine in Wisconsin has many apple trees on her property and the deer are incredible! She gets the best photos!

    XO,
    Jane

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jane, You are right, it is wonderful to live in a home that is surrounded by apple trees. We have a great time when we have a harvest weekend with our friends. Yes, we do get a lot of deer in the orchard. I was taking photos of a little doe last evening…they love the apples as much as we do.

  41. This post make me sad even more,
    my 25 USD apple tree just died last month T_T
    i guess i’m try to purchased it in a better and trusted farm later on

  42. wok with ray says:

    I would rather have those not-so-perfect apples like what you have there. Natural is always beautiful in my book. Thank you for sharing another beautiful image of your place, Karen. :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your nice comment Ray…it is nice to know that you enjoyed the post and photos about our orchard. I like your way of thinking about natural being beautiful. :)

  43. Those apples are beautiful, spots and all. So many yummy recipes come to mind and it would be so much fun to experiment with the different varieties. Enjoy your harvest and we will all be jealous..lol.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, I’m happy to know that you think the apples are beautiful. It is fun experimenting with the different varieties…some will hold their shape when cooked, others are great for applesauce and some are better just for cider. Thank you for your nice comment.

  44. Marigene says:

    Fall is another reason I miss living in Vermont…awesome photos!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marigene, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. I’m sure you miss Vermont…especially in fall. It is such a lovely time of the year in New England.

  45. kitchenriffs says:

    We really need to make it out to an orchard to pick some apples this year. The commercial ones around here don’t have many heritage apples, but it’s fun to pick even the more common ones. They do use chemicals so of course the apples look great. But I’m with you on having apples with blemishes – the insides taste just as good, and I actually prefer the way less-than-perfect apples (or almost anything) look. And yes, we do need to see a picture of you on an apple ladder! ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, I do hope that you get a chance to pick some apples this year…it is one of fall’s small pleasures. I think it would be difficult to find an orchard that doesn’t spray their orchards because they know customers want a perfect looking apple.

  46. Great post, Karen, and lovely photos. I’m glad you don’t spray. It’s better for everyone and everything. Fresh picked apples from an orchard are the very best. Sadly, we don’t get to do that in Texas because (as you well know) it’s too hot for the trees. It sure has been lovely in the Northeast while I have been here. I heard some folks talking about their apple tress when I went to the market on Saturday. I probably should have found time to go to an orchard but Daniel didn’t want to get out until today and he’s restricted in what he can do when he gets out. Leaving tomorrow so I will have to remember this for our next fall visit.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Richard, for your very nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and photos. Sorry that you didn’t get a chance to get to an orchard but I’m sure it would have been hard for Daniel…you always have next year. I hope he is recovering well from his surgery on his leg.

  47. Oh Karen I may need directions if you allow others to pick your apples…I can never find chemical free ones here amongst all our orchards…and heirlooms…oh I am in heaven!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donna, I think you best bet is to find an orchard in your area of New York that grows their apples organically. You could contact your county’s agricultural extension service…they should be familiar with an orchard that grows heirlooms. :)

  48. Wow! What a delight that orchard must be, especially in the spring and fall.

  49. Sophie33 says:

    Waw! Your apple orchards are doing so well & you have tons of different tasty apples to try & use! There are many different apple’s names, I don’t know yet. I am also for not spraying apples with insectisides,…:)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sophie, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post about the orchard and that you agree about not spraying the apples. There are thousands of varieties of apples that I don’t know about either. :)

  50. adinparadise says:

    Lovely post again, Karen. My son and his family in NJ, go apple picking every year. How wonderful to have your very own orchard! :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your lovely compliment, Sylvia. I’m sure you son and his family look forward to their apple picking. It is a ritual of fall here in New England. :)

  51. Your images bring the orchard to life right here in my living room, they look delicious. Sounds like you have so much fun picking them too. Take a look at my sisters site she makes wonderful apple cake. http://happytomakeyou.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/windfall-apple-cake/

    • Karen says:

      I appreciate your kind words, Geraldine. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and photos. I’ll have to visit your sister’s blog as I do enjoy a good apple cake.

  52. I have yet to go apple picking but after this post, I intend to remedy that much faster :D
    Gorgeous photos!

    Cheers
    CCU

  53. Conor Bofin says:

    A great post Karen. Well researched and beautifully photographed.
    Best,
    Conor

  54. Hooray for fall and apples!

  55. Well, the only one on your list I’d heard of is Cox’s Orange Pippin. That probably won’t surprise you. Cox’s, apart from Jonagold, are my favourites.
    – What a joyous way to embrace Autumn!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Johnny, I was sure that my friends across the pond would be familiar with Cox’s since it is an English apple. I love Jonagolds too…I have several that I see right out my kitchen window. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post…thank you.

  56. Sues says:

    SO beautiful!! I really want to go apple picking.. It’s been too long! :)

  57. Monet says:

    Oh I love apple orchards and I so wish we lived near one. They have them in Colorado but they don’t produce nearly as many varieties. I would love to try them all!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Monet, Most orchards will have a half dozen to a couple dozen varieties to choose from. I believe our orchard is unique because of all the varieties that were planted here. So many of the apples have a unique taste, texture or appearance that makes them stand out from the rest.

  58. Who knew there were so many varieties of apples – not me! I have to say that the apples up north are so much better than the ones I can get down in NC – or at least that I have found. I didn’t know that children drank cider back then. Very interesting:-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Becki, There are about 2500 different varieties grown in the US and there are about 7500 varieties grown around the world. In colonial times, not all water was potable and cider was considered safer to drink. Many markets sell apples that have been in storage. Now that it is apple season, see if you can find an orchard or market that sells heritage apples. I’m sure you will find one that you like.

  59. Apple picking is a favorite activity in the Fall, I can’t wait to go and collect our loot.. and then make plenty of juice and treats! Thanks for sharing!

  60. I love apple cider so I think my bounty would go to trying to make my own :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tandy, We have an apple press and sometimes get a group of friends together to make cider. It takes a bushel of apples to make about 2 or 3 gallons of cider so a lot of picking in involved. :)

  61. lvaletutto says:

    Great post, Karen! I love your orchard and the fact that you don’t spray your trees. I too am a fan of Joni Mitchell’s music as well as her message in this song. You are very blessed to have almost 100 different types of (heirloom) apples to choose from every year. I hope you are enjoying the fall season in NH and your orchard!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Laura, for your lovely compliment…I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post. Each year we hate to leave the summer cottage in Maine. Then we return to our home in New Hampshire and enjoy one of the loveliest times of the year. :)

  62. I would much prefer an apple with a few blotches and bumps to one sprayed with chemical, so it’s good to hear you don’t spray your orchard. Lovely images …

    • Karen says:

      Hi B, I’m happy that you enjoyed the photos…thank you. There are organic chemicals that can be used but you decided naturally grown was best for us.

  63. I know of the pippin apples (love that word!) and am so pleased you don’t spray. We don’t do any of that to our veggies either – some are pretty, some less so but they taste great. Would love to sink my teeth into some of your apples and I know Big Man would love a glass of cider!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, I knew my English friends would be familiar with pippin apples…Cox’s being so well known. Taste is what it is all about as far as food goes, I’m glad you agree that it does have to be pretty.

  64. Larry says:

    Wow that’s a lot of different varieties and I can just imagine the apple good time you have with them. I love fresh cider where it’s pressed directly into my glass.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, We do indeed have a lot of different varieties of apples. I wish we were neighbors…you could help my husband press the cider and stick your glass under the spout as it came out of the press. :)

  65. I love apple season, beautiful photos!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, One of the nicest things about fall is picking apples straight off the tree, giving a little bit of a polish and taking a bite. Delicious and so juicy.

  66. Juliana says:

    Can you believe that I never went apple picking? The apples hanging from the tree are awesome…
    Great post Karen…
    Enjoy your week my dear :D

    • Karen says:

      Hi Juliana, Until we moved to New England, I had never picked an apple either. I had a crash course when we bought our home and it came with 300 trees. :) I’m glad you enjoyed the post…thank you!

  67. I knew the Baldwin apple! Such great pie making or apple dumpling making fruit. Thanks for the tour of your orchard.

  68. hotlyspiced says:

    I think your apples are very pretty. Pretty because they look just the way they’re supposed to look. I hate seeing all the rosy shiny apples in my grocery store. You just know they’re up to no good. How wonderful to have such an abundance of apples and I would love to walk through your orchard smelling their fragrance and eating a few of course, too! xx

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie, Too bad you are halfway around the world because you would definitely enjoy walking through the orchard and tasting, of course. I can make my apples shiny too but not with wax…just rubbing on the leg of my jeans when I’m out picking. Thank you for your nice comment. :)

  69. Hi Karen,

    Reading about your orchard definitely made me want to go apple-picking this year! I hope we have time to go! Love your orchard and thanks for introducing these varieties of apples. It was really neat reading about them!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ming, I’m happy that you enjoyed the post…thank you for your nice compliment. I hope you get a chance to pick apples and bake an apple pie in the kitchen of your new home. :)

  70. okay note to self to go apple pickin this fall! Like soon too! A million things pop in my head when thinking of cooking with apples. the possibilities are endless! love your pictures

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Jessica, for your nice compliment…I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I do hope you get to go apple picking soon…I know you will make some delicious dishes with them.

  71. aslansfriend says:

    Thanks for sharing that nice slice of American history. Please please please do everything you can to categorize , name , and reproduce these apple trees. I wouldn’t want us to lose any of these heirloom varieties as these trees die out. Maybe there’s an apple seed bank somewhere in this country?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tim, Thank you for stopping by for a visit and your nice compliment. I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the post. Orchardists don’t use seeds to save an heritage apple tree as you will not get the same tree or fruit from seeds. Budding or grafting onto rootstock is how the trees are saved. Thank goodness there is new interest in these old varieties since artisanal cider has become popular. :)

  72. Sissi says:

    Karen, the stories of your apple orchard make me sigh and dream of visiting you one day when the harvest season comes. Do you know “king of the pippins” variety? It’s called “reine de reinettes” in France and it’s my favourite apple for apple sauces. I don’t even season it with anything; sugar and this aromatic apple are just enough. I prepare lots of jars in the autumn because everyone in my family loves this sauce.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I’m glad you enjoyed learning a little bit about our orchard. I have heard of the apple, it is grown here in New Hampshire but I don’t have any in our orchard. When you have an exceptional apple, it doesn’t need a lot of seasonings. I’m sure the sauce has to be wonderful.

  73. What a lovely orchard Karen! I’ve heard of some of the English one having grown up in England. They are just beautiful and I am so glad you don’t spray them with chemicals.

    Nazneen

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Nazneen, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of our orchard. Yes, many of the apples that are now grown here originally came from England. My husband and I are happy with our decision not to spray our apples. Since they have blemishes, people don’t want to buy them but we certainly make our friends happy with free apples that are delicious.

  74. Oh, how I miss picking home grown apples… they are the best and would love some!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gintare, I’m happy to know that you enjoy apples straight from the tree. I wish you were a neighbor…you could help me pick apples and go home with a big bag. :)

  75. Hi Karen, I am glad that you all never spray your lovely apple trees with chemicals. Your pictures make me want to go and walk through an apple orchard. wonderful!

  76. we’re planning to go apple picking soon- this post was perfect timing!

  77. Liz says:

    I think we all envious of your beautiful orchard, the variety of apples and your pristine practices. I wish I could sample them all…and bake with some of the baking varieties. Lovely post. Happy autumn!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Liz, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. I don’t know how envious all my friends would be if they saw my up on a ladder in with a saw in winter when it is time to prune. This is the time of the year when I at least get to “enjoy the fruits of my labor” literally. :)

  78. I can almost hear you crunching on those apples all the way in Hong Kong. So many types and many of them I have not heard of before. I can’t wait to see your recipes using your harvest pick of apples.

    • Karen says:

      You gave my a smile, Bobbie. Some of the apples are so crisp that you can hear yourself crunching when eating them. I have two varieties that I bet you see in Hong Kong, Mutsu and Fuji.

  79. Unfortunately where I live apple trees are not performing well. I have a small apple tree but the poor thing doesn’t grow and remains small giving just a dozen apples. But these ones of yours are gorgeous and it is good you don’t spray them. I don’t either.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Katerina, I’m sorry to hear that apple trees have not been doing well in your area of Greece. Sometimes it is weather related or the soil being depleted of nutrients and sometimes it is just the age of the trees. I’m sure that you enjoy the dozen or so apples that you do get.

  80. I just spent last week running around looking for an organic apple for my apple tart. I would not care if they were not pretty if they would just stop spraying and doing unethical things to our food source. How wonderful to have an orchard. Your photos are so enticing.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Madonna, for your nice compliment…I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. One thing I should have mentioned in this post is that organic farming is not pesticide free. Instead of using synthetic pesticides, they use natural pesticides that are heavily refined, processed and toxic substances that can kill plant, fungal and animal pests. It is why we decided to use no sprays or fertilizers of any kind in our orchard as it surrounds our home.

  81. Liz says:

    That was a good lesson on apples although I’m afraid I’ve never eaten most of those apples. I only buy in store so not so much to chose from. However, the photos are lovely too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liz, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post about the different varieties of apples in our orchard. Before we moved to New Hampshire, I was just like you and only could buy a few varieties that our local store carried.

  82. Hi Karen, I always enjoy your posts but this one was also so enlightening. I did not know about these antique varieties. Our three apple trees were lost to the hurricane/blizzard combos of the last two years, and I do miss seeing them fill with apples (may of which were eaten by the deer). Our apples looked like yours–very natural! Thank you for the wonderful post. Linda

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Linda. I’m happy that you enjoy my posts. We have lost a lot of our trees as well…the ice storm a couple of years ago as well as when it snowed in October of 2011 while the trees were full of apples and the weight pulled the trees over. Yes, the deer do love our apples but we have plenty to share. :)

  83. Those are gorgeous looking apples Karen. I’m jealous you have access to all those delicious apples. Do you ship them? :D Great photos, btw.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Anne, We do have a lot of apples…I’m glad you like the looks of them. I tried shipping some apples to my parents once but without refrigeration they didn’t do very well.

  84. Joanne says:

    I’m not sure I’ve heard of any of these but I’d love to try them!

  85. Beautiful–and just at the time I’m reading “American Terroir” and dreaming about having an apple orchard from which to make old-fashioned cider. Have you tried doing that?

  86. Barbara says:

    I have Joni Mitchell’s song on my iPod. It’s one of my old favorites. What a marvelous post, Karen. Informative and fun to read. I can almost smell the apples. We used to have an apple orchard in our yard when I lived in Michigan. Have no idea what kind they were, but they sure made delightful applesauce and pies! We never treated them with anything…they just grew and grew!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your lovely compliment, Barbara. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. I know you must have enjoyed having apples in you own back year.

  87. Rachel says:

    There is nothing quite like the smell of ripe apples in the fall sun. Heady… mmmmmmmm! Oh and cider… slurp and mmm! :-)

  88. What a glorious and informative post! Sharing on the Hot, Cheap & Easy FB page….I love apples!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Natalia, for your nice compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post. How nice that you are sharing it on FB…I appreciate that very much.

  89. Raymund says:

    Apple pie, apple crumble, tarte a tin, apple sauce, pork and apples are just one of the few things that comes into my mind when I saw those delicious looking apples

  90. well done on you for not spraying Karen, we have all become sanitised when it comes to food – looking and only accepting what looks perfect. Nature gives us bumps and bruises and twists and odd shapes. I love it that way! And I only recognised one apple name – the coxes one :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Claire, I’m glad that you agree with me about not spraying. We certainly don’t need to have all fruits and vegetables look perfect. Their taste is still good even with some bumps or spots. I know my English friends would recognize the Cox’s.

  91. Misky says:

    I just turned 15kgs of Discovery and Cox into applesauce this morning. I need more jars! We never spray our apple trees, and oddly it’s only the “youngsters” who select based on appearance. I cut out where birds pecked them, where bees sting them, I wash off mud and baby slugs … Etc. it’s all perfectly good for applesauce!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Misky, It sounds like you have been very busy with your canning. I totally agree with you about using apples that are not perfect. They are great in many recipes.

  92. Karen, I envy you for each and every heirloom variety that you have growing in your orchard – how wonderful it must smell when you walk through there – you already know how much I appreciate all those forgotten varieties of fruits and vegetables – so your orchard would be a dream come true for me.
    Hope you will have a wonderful time in Germany and Austria – we will be welcoming guests from France and Canada tomorrow and I will have to cook up a storm for the next two weeks with ten hungry peolple at our table then. I think a few moments of peace and quiet in your orchard is what I need most right now!
    Liebe Grüße – kinds regards,
    Andrea

    • Karen says:

      Hi Andrea, The orchard is wonderful this time of the year when the apples are so red and fragrant. It sounds like you will need some rest after your guests depart. I know one thing…they are going to have a wonderful time and enjoy your great cooking. Thank you for your kind wish, my husband and I are so looking forward to our trip to your beautiful country. Germany and Austria are two of our favorite countries in Europe to visit. :)

  93. megtraveling says:

    Going to an apple orchard in the fall is a very pleasant pastime and your apples look wonderful!

  94. Hannah says:

    Karen, your apples are just beautiful and I love all the heritage variety. Your harvest weekends sound like so much fun! We’re living in the midst of apple and pear orchards now here in Washington and we’re going thru lots of cases. Such a marvelous season! Happy autumn to you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Hannah, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post about the apples we grow in our orchard. This is a wonderful season and I’m happy that you are making the most of it. Enjoy your apples and pears. :)

  95. mjskit says:

    Look at all of those apples!!! What a fun season for you and your friends! I bet your cider with all of those different varieties is the best ever! I buy “no name” apples from a local farmer every fall. They got the name because the great grandfather planted an orchard and had no idea what he was planting, so the family calls them “no name”. They are crisp, sweet – tart apples and so good! Love all of the names for your apples, and no, I’ve never heard of any of them. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi MJ, I enjoyed your story about the “no name” apples and they sound great. You are right…the cider we press is the best I have ever had.

  96. Hi Karen! We’ve already been out twice this year picking and love all of the cider and apple delights. This is our favorite time of year:) Thanks for sharing your orchard and I agree with a couple of your readers- you definitely need to share some apple recipes. Happy Fall!

  97. Amy Tong says:

    Your apples are beautiful! Bravo on not using chemical. :) I don’t mind if my apples have blotches and bumps, as long as I know they are chemical-free. To me, that is beautiful! I’m baking some spiced up apple chips in the oven now….and wish I have some of your apples to baked with!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Amy, I’m happy that you enjoyed the post about our orchard. I wish I could share some of my apples with you…this year has been a bumper crop. I know that your spiced apple chips will be delicious.

  98. cabinet stew says:

    Fall is simply the best time of year and I just went apple picking myself (post to come) and I love tasting all different apples but my favorite is Macoun!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Fall is an especially lovely time in New England. Macoun seems to be a popular apple here…it is always a favorite of many of the people who pick in our orchard.

  99. What a lovely orchard! The apples look beautiful!

  100. Kudos to you Karen for growing pure fruit. Wish I lived closer, I would come pick and bake some of my favorite apple recipes with you! Diane

    • Karen says:

      Hi Diane, I’m happy that you like the way we go our apples…they are much better than even organic. If you were a neighbor, we would enjoy our orchard.

  101. Ruth says:

    I love apples fresh from the orchard! They went fast here in Virginia and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pick any this year, but luckily I found a lovely place. I even got to try two new apples I’d never heard of before, Nittany and Ida Reds. Super yummy. I have a half a bushel (well, a little less now), and I still want to go pick more!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ruth, I sounds like you found a nice place to pick apples. I grow Ida Reds but have not hear of Nittany…there are so many varieties of apples.

  102. tobyo says:

    what a fascinating post! I want to walk in your orchard and smell the apples! and I didn’t know that about people drinking cider in the 1700s. how interesting! and nope, never heard of most of those apples. wow….’round here, a favorite is the honeycrisp, created by the U of MN. it’s so sweet and delicious!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Toby, for your nice compliment. I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post about our orchard. Honeycrisp is a very popular apple in large portion of our country but not too popular here in New England.

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