Now that I live in Portland I felt it was time to get to know my local Apples better. I know the names of British Apples quite well, Ashmead’s Kernel, Beauty of Bath, Blenheim Orange. They all have lovely traditional names. But when it comes to Apple varieties here in the Pacific Northwest I’m a beginner.
I’d love to turn part of my new garden into a mini-orchard. In reality that probably won’t materialise for about a year but that gives me plenty of time to research and prepare the ground for planting next Autumn. So when I saw that my local nursery was holding an Apple Tasting event I had to be there. For research purposes you undersand!
I’ve had most success with fruit when I’ve grown what has evolved locally. By that I mean that the variety has been perfected for my local climate and may have even originated there. When I lived in Bath, UK I grew an Apple variety called Queen Cox that was perfectly suited to the wet weather there. It blossomed and we dined on Apple Crumble all Autumn. So I’m planning to do the same here and grow what the local farms produce.
I sampled a lot of apples! To be honest by the end of it I couldn’t discern the sweet from the tart. But there were a couple of varieties that stood out for me and I’ll be trying to incorporate them into my orchard plan.
Ashmead’s Kernal – the old favourite reins. Good all rounder for eating, baking and keeping
Brock – sweet and tart and good for eating and baking
Buckeye Gala (red) – great tasting eating Apple
Cameo – Super sweet eating Apple
Cortland – Tart and great for baking
Elstar – for its taste and amazing colour, good for baking
Honey Crisp – Sweet eating Apple and a good keeper
King David – Sweet and tart and good for baking
McIntosh – sweet, good for eating, baking and keeping
Rubinette – Great for Apple sauce
Spitzenberg – Sweet and tart and can be used for drying
Swiss Gourmet – A sweet eating Apple
Starkinson – for its sweet tast and amazing bright red colour
20th Century – this had a really interesting almost flowery taste.
How exciting! Every year I regret I can’t have more apple trees. I NEED an orchard!
I went to Marlborough Apple Day a couple of weekends ago. They had Wiltshire varieties to sample. I didn’t know we have 10 county specific varieties. And very tasty they were too :)
It feels good to be planning to plant that many trees. Like turning back the clock. There is a local orchard society here that I hope will help me when it comes to planting too. So exciting!
I’m so looking forward to all the ‘strange’ veg that you’re gonna be growing and showing us soon too…
So pleased to see you’re settling in so well…it’s always easier with little ones leading the way! :)
Been in the UK now for almost 5 years and of all the apples I miss most from Canada, McIntosh has got to be my #1. It’s the “bog-standard” apple of my childhood. My mom would buy 20kg bags of them in season and keep them in our cold storage room. They’d last ages, taste amazing in apple crisp (like a crumble but crunchy!!) and are really tasty to eat on their own.
I love apples!
How great to go to an apple tasting!
Have a wonderful day!
I never thought about apples being bred to do well in a specific area but a new apple, bred for London growing conditions, is about to be launched over here and I’ve been promised one for my garden! It’s a lovely idea to create a mini-orchard – I put in 8 trees when I started managing the veg garden. No fruit this last year but the apples in the previous year were very exciting! Looking forward to reading of your garden happenings.
Funny that. I’m from the states origionally, (family live in Grants Pass, Oregon even!) but if I had to move back tomorrow, I’d have to re-start most of my apple know how all over again!
I planted an apple tree (self fertilising) last year, too early for fruit but excited to watch it develop.