Mixed Apples in RowsApple Varieties

When if comes to apples, everyone has their favorite. Some like them crisp, some like them soft. Some like them sweet, some like them tart. Some demand "eye-appeal," others only want taste. Apples come in many colors: red, green, orange, yellow, purple, and "black." Sometimes solid, sometimes striped or mottled. Apples come in a number of shapes: round like Liberty, oblong like Red Delicious, or elongated like Sheepnose! And apples come in different sizes, too, from tiny crabapples to "20 Ounce," which may or may not weigh 20 ounces, but is very large. More than 7500 apple varieties are grown worldwide, but 15 varieties account for 90% of United States sales. So, when it comes to apples, everyone has their favorite, but there are also lots of new favorites to be discovered!

Learn more about them below and then check the Availability page for current availability.

Black Gilliflower   Cox Orange Pippin   Empire   Enterprise   Esopus Spitzenburg   Fuji   Gala (Crimson)   Gala (Fulford)   Golden Delicious   Golden Russet   Goldrush   Granny Smith   Gravenstein   Honeycrisp   Liberty   Northern Spy   Rhode Island Greening   Sheepnose   Smokehouse   Spitzenburg   Suncrisp   Washington Strawberry   Winesap   Yellow Newtown Pippin   Yellow Transparent

Cox Orange Pippin

Cox Orange Pippin

Cox Orange Pippin is an English variety discovered around 1825.  It was, and still is, known as a consumate dessert apple, and it has been the progenitor of many modern varieties.  While still popular in Europe, it is all but unknown in the United States, owing partly to the difficulty in growing it.  The fruit is firm, juicy, aromatic with a cream-colored flesh.  By the way, the term, pippin, means that the original tree was a chance seedling that grew from an apple dropped from a tree.


Empire ApplesIntroduced in 1966 by Cornell University's Geneva breeding program, Empire is a cross between Red Delicious and MacIntosh.  It is red, round, medium sized and full of eye-appeal.  It is most similar to MacIntosh in flavor, with juicy, creamy white flesh that is nice and crisp.  Empire is more sweet than tart for those who shy away from a tart apple.


EnterpriseEnterprise has a large, red, juicy fruit and is good for fresh eating as well as in salads, and stores well.  It is ready approximately 3 weeks after Delicious, putting it in the early October timeframe.  Moderately acid at harvest, the quality is outstanding after 1 to 2 months of storage if you like a milder apple.  The flesh is fine-grained, pale yellow to cream colored, firm and crisp.  The fruit is round to moderately elongated with a bright, glossy finish and moderately thick skin.


Fuji ApplesFuji sounds Japanese for a reason, it was developed in Japan in the 1930s and made it to market in 1962.  However, Fuji is all-American when it comes to its origins.  Its parents are Red Delicious and Ralls Janet, American apples with a long history.  Ralls Janet dates back to the late 18th century and was reportedly named by Thomas Jefferson.  Fuji is very popular in Japan and China, and is becoming more popular in the United States.  The flesh is firm and fine with a cream color.  It is sweet and juicy and consistently scores high in taste tests.

Crimson Gala 

Crimson GalaThe original Gala apple is native to New Zealand.  It comes from a cross between the Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious.  Gala was introduced to the United States in the 1970s. Because of its popularity, many different "sports" of Gala have been propogated, each having some beneficial characteristic.  In general, Gala is a very "safe" apple.  Not too sweet or tart, no unusual tastes or textures, but offering a very pleasing aroma and eating experience.  Crimson Gala is characterized by intense coloring and striping.  It was discovered in a block of Royal Gala in Milton-Freewater, Oregon and is a patented variety.

Fulford Gala

Fulford GalaThe original Gala apple is native to New Zealand.   It comes from a cross between the Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious.  Gala was introduced to the United States in the 1970s. Because of its popularity, many different "sports" of Gala have been propogated, each having some beneficial characteristic. In general, Gala is a very "safe" apple.  Not too sweet or sour, no unusual tastes or textures, but offering a very pleasing aroma and eating experience.  Fulford Gala hails from New Zealand.  Its color is a bright orange-red with yellow background. Fulford Gala is a larger sized Gala, with a blush red rather than stripe.  Like Crimson Gala, Fulford Gala is a patented variety.

Golden Delicious

Golden DeliciousGolden Delicious is currently the second most popular apple in the US, after Red Delicious.  Unlike Red Delicious, there is a good reason for the popularity of Golden Delicious, and the two are related in name only.  It originated in Virginia in the early part of the 20th century and was popularized by Stark Brothers.  Golden Delicious is great for just about any use and makes a great sauce.  The flesh is yellowish, moderately firm, very juicy, and sweet with a bit of tang.  Golden Delicious also has a wonderful, spicy aroma.

Golden Russet

Golden Russet thumbnailIn the 1905 book, The Apples of New York, Volume I, Golden Russet was said to rank second only to Roxbury in terms of commercial importance for russet apples.  Nowadays, most people don't even know what a russet apple is.  Russet is a rough scale on the surface of the apple.  It can occur in many varieties, but is the norm in some - the russet apples.  The importance of russet apples in the 19th century was long keeping quality.  Today, this characteristic has been replaced by cold storage.  Golden Russet is good for cooking, drying and cider, as well as eating.  Due to the russeted skin, it is best peeled before eating.  The fruit is smallish, round and generally oblate.  The flesh is yellowish, fine grained, moderately crisp, tender, juicy, rich, agreeably subacid, and aromatic.  Golden Russet is a fairly late apple with a season from October to April.


GoldrushGoldrush is a recent, patented variety, coming to market in only 1992.  Best known for its remarkable keeping qualities (10-11 months) and sweet/tart very crisp flavor. GoldRush resists oxidation when cut, making a very yellow sauce or firm crisp slices for baking.  One of the last apples to be picked, usually in early November, Goldrush starts out with a very "sweettart" character.  If you like a tart bite that ends sweet, this one is for you.  And if you don't, this one is for you, too, because it gets nice and sweet after beings stored for a while.  We call this "the Christmas Apple" because it keeps 'til then with no effort and is at peak flavor.  This is one of our favorites for all uses, fresh eating, sauce and baking.

Granny Smith

Granny Smith AppleGranny Smith is what everyone thinks of when they think of a green apple.  Granny is a native of New Zealand.  The real "Granny Smith" was Maria Ann Sherwood Smith who discovered the apple in a chance sport from some French crab apples grown in Tasmania.  It was first noted in 1868, but did not gain notariety as a commercial strain until the late 1890s.  The Granny Smith apple is large, firm, crisp and very juicy with a tart, sprightly taste.  It is not aromatic. Granny bakes very well.


GravensteinGravenstein is a very old variety, originating about 1669 in Denmark.  It is an early apple, coming into season in early August and is adaptable in it's uses.  Gravenstein is often "lumpy" in appearance and may run from lightly striped with red to orange over green depending on what sport is cultivated.  It has a sweet-tart flavor and is very good for cooking as well as fresh eating.  Because it is a summer apple, it does not last long, but can be preserved as sauce due to its cooking qualities.


HoneycrispHoneycrisp is a patented cross between favorites Macoun and Honeygold produced at the University of Minnesota in the late 1970s.  They describe Honeycrisp this way (taken from honeycrisp.org and edited for length): Honeycrisp apples are oblate to roundly oblate in shape. Skin color is mottled red over a yellow background. A nearly solid red coloration develops only if the fruit is well exposed to the sun.  Honeycrisp fruit is exceptionally crisp and juicy. Its flesh is cream colored and coarse. The flavor is sub-acid and ranges from mild and well-balanced to strongly aromatic, depending on the degree of maturity. It has consistently ranked as one of the highest quality apples in the University of Minnesota sensory evaluations. Honeycrisp fruit has shown excellent storage characteristics.  Honeycrisp really is a delicious apple and does have a honey-like aftertaste.  It is hard to grow, but that is my problem, not yours!


LibertyLiberty is a cross between Macoun and Purdue 54-12 from Purdue University and released through Cornell University in 1978.  A 1978 Cornell University publication describes Liberty, in part, like this: 'Liberty' is a deep dark red over a yellowish background. The red is striped rather than blushed. The shape of the fruit is oblate to oblate conic, and the size averages 2 3/4-3 inches.  The flesh is yellowish in color, juicy, crisp, fine. The flavor is subacid and good.  'Liberty' is considered to be primarily a dessert apple.Liberty is a really tasty apple for eating out of hand.  I think the flesh is more white than yellow.  My only crisicism of Liberty is that the flesh browns quickly in the air.  This is a cosmetic issue and isn't a problem for eating out of hand.  If served cut at the table or in fruit salad, slices can be dipped in water containing a bit of lemon juice and the "problem" is solved.

Northern Spy

Northern Spy ThumbnailNorthern Spy is what my grandmother used to make applesauce.  I know, because as a child I tasted her fresh-cooked applesauce and, after exclaiming that it was the best I had ever tasted, she told me it was the Northern Spy apples.  Need I say more?  The fruit is large and attractive, red to orange and speckeled with a waxy bloom.  The flesh is yellowish, very juicy, crisp, tender, sprightly, aromatic, subacid and excellent for dessert or cooking.  Northern Spy is thin-skinned and tender-fleshed, requiring gentle handling, which is why it isn't found in many markets today.  It keeps well, but not as well as many varieties.  Northern Spy dates to seedlings started about 1800 in New York and gained commercial favor in the 1850s.

Rhode Island Greening

Rhode Island Greening thumbnailYou might guess that Rhode Island Greening is a green apple.  It does turn a bit yellowish as it ripens.  And, actually, the Greening part might have come from a Mr. Green from Green's End near Newport, Rhode Island, as early as 1748.  It was extensively cultivated in New York and other areas in the 19th century.  Rhode Island Greening is an excellent cooking apple as well as a dessert apple.  The fruit is above medium to large, sometimes very large and is round to roundish oblate.  The yellowish flesh is very firm but tender, juicy, sprightly subacid to somewhat acid.  It has also been described as "peculiarly flavored."

Sheepnose (Black Gilliflower)

Black Gilliflower thumbnailSheepnose, or Black Gilliflower, is one of those apples I began growing due to family history.  One day in my grandad's later years, when he was beginning to suffer from memory loss, I sat with him and told him about the beginnings of my apple orchard.  He was a lifelong dairy farmer and had always had a few apple trees around, and he perked up as I talked.  Then he told me how he remembered those "sheepnose apples" from when he was a boy.  That sold it, I was going to plant Sheepnose, and I did.  Now, having grown Sheepnose, I have to say that they are not a good eating apple.  However, they are a great baking apple and they are also good for drying.  Sheepnose is shaped a bit like a sheep's nose.  It is elongated and smoothly round.  And it can turn a dark purple in color, giving it the moniker of "black" in its other name.  "Gilliflower," by the way refers to a spicy or aromatic scent.  The flesh of Sheepnose is creamy white, moderately fine and very dry.  It is the dryness that makes them hard to eat out of hand, but excellent for baking.  They hold their shape in pies and have a very nice flavor.  If you like a dryer apple, try one for fresh eating.  Otherwise, I highly recommend this old (about 1841) apple for baking, or try slicing and drying in the oven for a snack.


SmokehouseSmokehouse originated with William Gibbons at Lampeter Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where the original tree grew near his smokehouse.  It was brought to commercial notice by 1837, although it had been locally propagated prior to that.  It is thought to be a seedling of Vandevere.  The fruit is medium to large and roundish oblate.  Coloring is varied, often varying between green and red with patches of orange.  The skin is thin, easily allowing bruising.  The flesh is tinged with yellow, firm, fine and crisp.  It is juicy, mild subacid and delicately aromatic.  In plain terms, it has a "different" flavor and the bruised apples make a welcome addition to cider.

Spitzenburg (Esopus Spitzenburg)

Spitzenburg thumbnailSpitzenburg is widely associated with Thomas Jefferson.  So I think it apt to use this description of the apple by Peter J. Hatch, Director of Jefferson's Monticello Gardens and Grounds, January 1995 (from the Twinleaf Journal of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation):

Although Jefferson never planted the Spitzenburg in large quantities, there are more documentary entries concerning its planting than for any other fruit variety. The Esopus Spitzenburg was discovered early in the eighteenth century at Esopus (pronounced today as "Eee-soap'-us") along the Hudson River sixty miles north of New York City, presumably by one of the horticulturally astute Dutch settlers named Spitzenburg. Lady Jean Skipwith, an avid and proficient eighteenth-century Virginia gardener, proclaimed it "the finest American table apple next to the Newtown Pippin." In the nineteenth century, the Spitzenburg was the most universally acclaimed of all apple varieties. America's first published pomologist, William Coxe, said it "possesses great beauty, and exquisite flavor;" A. J. Downing, a singular figure in the history of United States horticulture, described it as "a handsome, truly delicious apple . . . unsurpassed as a dessert fruit;" and S. A. Beach, author of The Apples of New York and usually frugal in his praise, said the Spitzenburg was "unexcelled in flavor and quality."  The Spitzenburg is easily identified by its vivid, orangish-red skin. Biting into a Spitz produces an explosion of flavors. The yellow flesh is crisp, firm, spicy, and juicy with an extremely rich, aromatic flavor: the ultimate gourmet apple.


SuncrispSuncrisp is a patented variety out of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Apple Breeding Program. It comes from a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox Orange Pippen and retains the best qualities of both.  The fruit color is golden with an orange blush. This dual-purpose apple has a sweet, mildly subacid taste, and typically stores up to six months. It is very juicy like Golden Delicious and has some of that apple's spicy aroma as well.

Washington Strawberry

Washington StrawberryWashington Strawberry, like Sheepnose, has a family connection for me.  After a hot, crazy Independence Day (July 4) family reunion one year, I went home with my grandparents for a visit.  In the calm of that evening, I talked with them about my new apple orchard.  My grandmother mentioned that  when she was a child she had enjoyed the "strawberry" apples that were grown in the area, saying that they tasted like strawberries.  So in her honor I planted some.  Washington Strawberry originated in New York around 1849.  It is a colorful, roundish apple with a waxy skin colored with reds over yellows and some striping.  The flesh is creamy yellow, crisp and juicy, somewhat coarse, but tender.  The name "strawberry" comes from its slight strawberry-like taste but you may or may not agree with that comparison.  Otherwise, the taste is sweet and spritely.


Winesap thumbnailWinesap is one of the oldest and, at one time, most popular apples in America.  It is thought to have originated in New Jersey and was commercially important there as early as 1817.  These days, it is known synonymously with it's child, Stayman Winesap.  Winesap is not a large apple.  It is conical to roundish with a medium-thick skin that is deep red with some striping and blotching or dark purple.  The flesh is tinged yellow, very firm and coarse, and moderately crisp.  It is very juicy and sprightly subacid in flavor, which some say has a hint of wine flavor.

Yellow Newtown Pippin

Yellow Newtown Pippin thumbnailYellow Newtown Pippin is a very old variety of apple.  It was the first American apple which attracted attention in Europe and was sent there commercially by Benjamin Franklin as early as 1759.  Thomas Jefferson wrote of it in his "Garden Book" in 1773 and noted in 1778 that he had Newtown Pippin growing at Monticello.  Yellow Newtown Pippin is a long-keeping variety, but is difficult to grow due to its high susceptibility to apple scab (a fungal disease).  The fruit is medium to large and shape is variable, usually roundish and oblate.  Flesh is yellowish, crisp, tender, moderately fine-grained, juicy, subacid, and aromatic.  The term, pippin, refers to the origin of the tree being from a chance seedling rather than from a deliberate cross of varieties or grafting of a sport (mutation) from a known tree.

Yellow Transparent

Yellow TransparentYellow Transparent is an old, early-ripening variety from Russia (1870), ready in late July to early August.  The fruit is tender, juicy, and mildly acid, making it a favorite for homemade applesauce.  If you don't eat them right away, best to make applesauce, as they do not store well.  Yellow Transparent has a large round fruit and, as the name suggests, the skin is somewhat transparent.

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Apple Image Credits:
* Photos of Crimson Gala, Fulford Gala, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Liberty, Suncrisp, Yellow Transparent, courtesy of Adams County Nursery.
* Photos of Cox Orange Pippin, Smokehouse, Washington Strawberry, courtesy of Boyer Nurseries and Orchards
* Illustrated images are from, The Apples of New York, Volume I, 1905, by S. A. Beach.
* Photos of Empire and Fuji from USDA Agricultural Research Service.
* Photos of Gravenstein and Granny Smith from wikimedia.org under GNU Free Documentation License (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gravensteiner.poupou.JPG, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Granny_Smith_Apples.jpg)
All other material, unless noted, (c) 2007 Richard Stuby