Our Other Apple Trees

Each Newtown Pippin is paired with another variety of apple tree to pollinate. That means our city, while recognizing an official apple, will actually gain a greater variety of apple trees than ever before! Everybody wins! After all, how could one love NYC without also loving diversity?

Our Slow Food NYC partners have often reminded us of the importance of biodiversity in agriculture. We encourage you to learn more about the Ark of Taste, especially its American heirloom apple section.

We can’t promise a particular pollinating partner tree to a site, but here are the 2009 varieties:

Elstar by Fruitful.nl

Elstar by Fruitful.nl

ElStar apples are a Dutch variety developed after World War II by crossing Golden Delicious with Ingrid Marie. Its soft-sheen marbled gold and pink appearance is distinctive, and its flavor has won it fans across Europe.

As part of the Hudson Quadracentennial, the commemoration of 400 years of sustained European presence in New York Harbor and the founding of New Amsterdam, Green Apple Cleaners is donating this most popular of Dutch apple trees along with Newtown Pippins to at least one waterfront site in each borough. Some sites include the Inwood Canoe Club (Manhattan), Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden (Staten Island), and Astoria Park (Queens).

Honey Crisp by NY Apple Country

Honey Crisp by NY Apple Country

Honey Crisp apples are a huge favorite among kids and community gardeners. First grown at the University of Minnesota in 1974, the Honey Crisp took the culinary world by storm upon release in 1991. Some consider this to be the best straight-eating apple for both flavor and texture. It descends from the Keepsake and what seems to be another apple that was simply among the research labs’ numbered mix, and not a known commercial variety.

Pomme d'Api or Lady Apple by Vintage Virginia Apples

Pomme d'Api or Lady Apple by Vintage Virginia Apples

Pomme d’Api is the eldest of widely grown apples, recognizable as a variety since Roman times, and may have Etruscan roots. Also known as the Lady Apple (no relationship to Pink Lady), this apple was used by ladies of the French court as a breath freshener. King Louis XIV would grow nothing else, though one hopes his strong preference didn’t reflect an urgency for greater supplies, given that stated use.

Pomme d’Apis wreathes were popular and the fruit was a traditional Christmas sweet, French children sing of this apple. In America, the Lady Apple became a favorite crop planting in the Pacific Northwest and were grown by Henry David Thoreau.

St. Edmunds Russet by Trees of Antiquity

St. Edmunds Russet by Trees of Antiquity

St. Edmunds Russet derives its name, like the Newtown Pippin, from whence it hails.  This English apple, also known as St. Edmunds Pippin, is exceptional in its full expression of the sweet nutty flavor for which russets are known. All russets have blotchy, slightly rougher skin. Despite their superior taste, they fail in today’s commercial markets where cosmetic uniformity is a priority. It’s to russet apples that Shakespeare refers in Henry IV when he has one character speak to another the seemingly strange line, “there’s a dish of leathercoats for you.”

Winter Banana by Bishop Apple Orchard

Winter Banana by Bishop Apple Orchard

Winter Banana is an Indiana heirloom is as beautiful to see as to eat. It’s usually pure yellow on one side with a blush of pink wrapping around the other. Unlike Newtown Pippins, they can be eaten right from the tree. Some even claim that these apples carry a subtle banana-like fragrance. They are best sliced, and many suggest pairing with cheese.


2 responses to “Our Other Apple Trees

  1. I live near green bay wisconsin and have an old apple tree that I remember my parents saying it was a Dutchie apple tree. There is not much left of the tree and i do not know how much longer it will stand. However, it makes the best apple pie i have ever eaten. Do you know where I can purchase one of these trees? thank you.

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