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Apple Orchards | 7 Wonders of Fall

Yankee Plus Dec 2015


Apple Orchards | 7 Wonders of Fall
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‘Ashmead’s Kernel’, ‘Roxbury Russet’, ‘Belle de Boskoop’, ‘Pink Pearl’, ‘Winter Banana’ … The names of antique and rare apple varieties are part poetry, part history lesson. Many go back centuries, some as far as the Renaissance. The tiny ‘Lady’ apple, also known as the ‘Pomme d’Api’, was first recorded under that name in 1628, but may have been cultivated by the Romans. Most of the old varieties we know today, though, sprang up around the turn of the 19th century, when John Chapman (a.k.a. “Johnny Appleseed”) departed Massachusetts for the nascent Northwest Territory of Ohio and points west, planting nurseries as he went. By 1905, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture commissioned a report on all known American apple varieties, researchers counted some 14,000 unique types.

Today, only about 100 are grown commercially in any volume, but after decades of ‘Red Delicious’ dominance, the old apples are finding a new audience–especially here in New England, where more and more savvy growers are swapping some of their ‘Cortland’ trees for ‘Calville Blanc d’Hiver’ and ‘Cox’s Orange Pippin’. These antique stunners have flavors and aromas that run from toasted nuts to honeyed champagne to lemonade, and tasting them is like discovering an entirely new fruit species.

See our list of the BEST Apple Orchards in New England!

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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Amy Traverso


Amy Traverso


Senior lifestyle editor Amy Traverso oversees Yankee's Food and Home & Garden departments and contributes articles to the magazine. Amy book, The Apple Lover's Cookbook (W.W. Norton), won an International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) cookbook award for the category American. Follow !

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