At Whittier Fruit Farm, we grow 26 varieties of apples. Here's a full description and photo of each variety plus the prime picking season for them.
Mark’s Guide to Apple Varieties
August To Early September
The earliest good eating apple. Full, tart flavor with crunch, similar to Cortland. Paula Reds don’t store well so eat them quick.
Fresh eating, sauce, pies. Introduced in Michigan, 1967.
Outstanding well-balanced flavor and feather-light crunchy texture, extraordinary in an early apple.
The side of the fruit facing the sun develops a sweet spot that’s brighter red and wildly flavorful.
Introduced in Minnesota, 1998.
Looks like a Golden Delicious, but the two are not related. Sweet, spicy taste with a light texture and a pleasant crunch.
Good for fresh eating, and slices stay white in salads. Introduced in Virginia, 1982.
Firm but tender flesh, juicy, sweet. A surprise for those of us who might expect Japanese varieties to be Fuji-sweet.
Sansa has a complex aromatic flavor. This apple ripens in early September. Introduced in Japan, 1988.
If you like McIntosh, you’ll love this Mac x Jonathan cross. While not as sour, it has that wonderful Mac flavor,
with the look and crispness of Empire. Great right off the tree, not a keeper. My wife, Jill MacKenzie, says this is her favorite.
Fresh eating, sauce. Introduced in New York, 1972.
A new standard for crispness and flavor. This rock-hard apple has a mild sweet flavor and yellowish flesh.
Good eating out of storage. Fresh eating, salads. Introduced in New Zealand, 1965.
Autumncrisp (also known as Newcrisp)
Balanced flavor, multi-purpose fruit. Its large size, firmness, and pleasant tartness might bring Twenty Ounce to
mind, as its performance in the kitchen surely will. For those who like some acidity along with their sugar, Newcrisp
is very nice eaten out of hand, as well, with good juiciness. Introduced in New York, 2004.
The Clydesdale of apples, this workhorse’s giant size means less peeling and coring for you. Mighty tart for fresh eating—
I wouldn’t pick and eat one on a dare, but some find its tartness refreshing. A great cooking apple, used for sauce, butter,
pies, and big baked apples. Introduced in New York, around 1840.
Granddaddy of the New York apple industry. Sweet to tart, highly aromatic flavor. Fresh eating, sauce. Some people bake
with Macs; however, the slices lose their shape when used in pie, crisp, and other baked dishes. Discovered in Ontario,
1811; introduced 1870.
Extremely, explosively crisp and juicy with a well-balanced sweet/tart flavor. This one-of-a-kind apple gets its
great eating character from its uniquely oversized cells. While the flesh of other apples cleaves between cells,
leaving the cell walls intact, when bitten, Honeycrisp’s extra-large cells burst open, releasing a mouthful of juice.
Flesh is slow to turn brown when cut. Fresh eating, cooking, salad. Slices hold their shape in pies. Stores for months
and months and stays crisp. Introduced in Minnesota, 1991.
This apple is pretty to look at and a treat to eat. The creamy-yellow flesh if crisp and juicy, the flavor is
sweet. But wait, there's more! Sweet Sixteen has a distinctive flavor, variously described as anise, almond,
bubble gum, spice, or cherry candy. Try it and see! Introduced in Minnesota, 1977.
of the similarly colored Winesap. Judy’s favorite apple. Not a great keeper, so eat them as they ripen, then
wait for next year. Introduced in New York, 1923.
Sweet to tart, very aromatic flavor reflects Mac parentage. Pure white flesh is slow to turn brown when cut.
Great range in size makes for lots of snack-sized and cooking apples. Cortland is the apple I use to make pies.
Fresh eating, cooking, salad. Introduced in New York, 1915.
Rich flavor with a balance of sweet and tart, juicy and crisp. Our U-pick customers’ favorite variety,
its character changes throughout the harvest like no other. Empires you find in grocery stores are always
om the arliest pickings, and can be bland. Allowed to ripen fully on the tree, Empires develop a glorious
aroma and bold taste. Late on the tree, Empire is my favorite apple. Keeps well. Multi-purpose apple good
for fresh eating and cooking. Introduced in New York, 1966.
Macoun is another apple that benefits from full tree ripening, with an aromatic, Mac-family flavor that
can’t be found in store-bought specimens. Our juiciest apple by far, a northeastern rival of the similarly
colored Winesap. Judy’s favorite apple. Not a great keeper, so eat them as they ripen, then wait for next year.
Introduced in New York, 1923.
Coarse textured, firm and sweet. Not recommended for baking, but a traditional favorite for fresh eating,
salads, and dried apples. Can you say “damning with faint praise”? This Western standard will always be
popular. It’s fun to grow, and we endeavor to produce as fine a Red Delicious as you can find anywhere.
Introduced in Iowa, 1894.
We are learning to produce better Fortunes! We're picking later, when the flavor has developed more. Fortune
is a multi-purpose apple with a sweet/tart flavor. The skin is so tender and thin it sometimes splits on the tree.
A lingering faintly astringent aftertaste is a challenge for some, others like it and are very loyal. Its size makes it a
great late-season alternative to Twenty Ounce for cooking, but don't bake them whole, as the skin bursts.
Introduced in New York, 1995.
An amazing combination of high sugar—the highest of any apple—with a perfect balance of acidity is what
makes Jonagold a boldly flavorful apple. Juicy, crisp, and often very large. Of the truly two-colored apples,
Jonagold is the prettiest by far, with beautiful creamy-yellow flesh. Brings great flavor to apple dishes, but
the sauce can be thin. My brother Dave’s favorite apple. Not a long-range keeper. Introduced in New York, 1968.
Fine-textured, sweet and juicy, with a mild flavor and a super-thin skin. Excellent for fresh eating and good for baking,
too (use less sugar than with other varieties in recipes). An excellent subject for dried apples. Stores well and shares
no parentage with Red Delicious. Introduced in West Virginia, 1912.
Crunchy, juicy, tasty, sour flavor. Reminds me of some sweet/sour candies, as the sugar hits before the acid, and
then suddenly there's a big tart explosion! A funny-looking fruit, kind of bumpy. Introduced in Czech Republic, 200
An all-purpose apple with a balanced, tangy flavor and good crisp texture. Bright red skin and red-streaked
white flesh. Idas make the most beautiful deep pink applesauce if you leave the skins on during cooking and
then process it through a food mill. Most late apples are good keepers; Ida Red is no exception, good for winter
baking. Introduced in Idaho, 1942.
The ultimate for apple crisp, this truly local variety has a loyal cult following. Northern Spy is large and pink-fleshed
with a snappy tart flavor. Unlike other cooking apples, this one is tasty enough to be eaten out of hand or sliced and
spread with peanut butter. The slices stay firm in pies and hold their shape. Try it baked, too. Found in East Bloomfield, NY,
This big, crisp, sweet dessert apple is a shelf-life champion. Leave it in your fruit bowl for a week,
and it’ll still be firm and juicy. A sub-acid variety, its flavor is almost entirely sugary. Fantastic winter-long
keeper. Introduced in Japan, 1962.
This yellow descendant of Cox’s Orange Pippin ripens with a bright orange face. The skin is often russetted
and not too pretty. Inside, though, the flesh is firm, juicy, and very full-flavored. This is a big, big taste, great
for fresh eating, and really special for pies, sauce, and dried apples. Promises to be a superior winter keeper.
Introduced in New Jersey, 1994.
Looks like its parent, Golden Delicious, but don’t let looks fool you. This large and bulbous variety packs a
zippy, flavorful punch, a good, full blend of sugar, acid, juice and crunch. Flesh stays white when cut—partner
it with Empire for a great fruit salad. Ray’s favorite apple. Introduced in Japan as ‘Mutsu,’ 1930s.
Very tart, very firm: the classic sour green apple. Too sour for me, but some say they’re perfect with cheese
and walnuts, or in salads. Don’t be tempted to pick them early. Flavor in apples develops through conversion
of stored starch to sugar and acid, so the longer they stay on the tree, the fuller the flavor will be. Don’t worry,
they won’t lose their tartness! Introduced in Australia, 1868.
Chestnut Crab apple
Small and sometimes quite russetted and ugly, this cute little crab packs great flavor and surprising juiciness. Sliced with cheese it's quite wonderful. More than just a gnome-like novelty, Chestnut is a cult favorite in Minnesota, where it was introduced in 1949.
Apple images courtesy of The New York Apple Association.