|Us picking Northern Spy Apples at an orchard.|
First step was to decide where to get the trees. We knew we wanted heirloom varieties and the sooner we could get them producing the better! We could get one of the varieties we knew we wanted through a county agency. However, they could take 10 years to produce and we would still need to get another variety elsewhere. After lots of Googling we found Trees of Antiquity. We could get our heirloom apple trees and they should start producing in 2-4 years.
Now which apples did we pick!
From the start, this has been on the list. Why? Well, most importantly we like how they taste. Next, I found a reference that these were very common in Michigan at one time. One source said that if someone says they have an old apple tree on their farm, it is a safe bet it would be a Northern Spy. This is also an all around good apple. Meaning it is good for eating fresh, baking, applesauce, cider, and storage. Last, we wanted it to be a pre-1860s variety. Here is an excerpt from Trees of Antiquity site “An 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.
Northern Spy does need a partner variety that can cross-pollinate so what to pick? We turned to an expert. We asked for recommendations with the following criteria: existing in Michigan during the 1860s, pollinates with Northern Spy, and is a good cider apple. We know many cider apple varieties saw their demise in the Untied States during prohibition. We like the idea of helping in a small way to bring those back. Looking over the recommendations here is what we will be harvesting.
Also can be known as a Snow or Snow Apple because of its snow white colored flesh. It is a parent of the loved McIntosh. This is another variety that is great for eating and making cider. It is supposed to also make a “fluffy” applesauce! It came from French settlements in Quebec way back in the 1600’s! It then spread over the next 100+ years in every direction for 1,000 miles in Canada and United States.
|Snow Fameuse, Snow, or Snow Apple|
Three varieties of apples seemed like a good number to settle on! Newtown Pippin’s story started in 1750 and is said to be the oldest commercially grown and bred variety in the United States. This apple was grown by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson with Jefferson writing “They (being France) have no apples here to compare with our Newtown Pippin.” I was sold right there! For Felicia a selling point was it is said that Queen Victoria was a fan of this apple. She was presented with a basket of the apples in 1838. Afterward, British Parliament lifted import duties on the variety. This apple is known for cider making and develops more sugars while in storage.
|Newtown Pippin Apple|
The trees have been ordered and we await their arrival! We will write another post about getting them planted once that is accomplished!