New England Apple Varieties and Seasons
Typically, apple season consists of two months in New England. It begins in late August and runs through October. However, due to an unusually warm winter and spring, specifically the warm month of March, the apple season is running about 10 days early this year. Not all apple varieties in New England ripen at the same time. If you are going to go apple picking, be sure to follow the farm instructions on what the ripest, best tasting apples are when you visit the farm.
The apple varieties that are first to appear during the New England apple picking season are Paula Red, Sansa, Ginger Gold, and Jonamac. The Paula Red is an excellent apple for both eating and cooking because it is tart, juicy, and crisp. The Sansa is an apple that was originally developed in Japan. It’s a cross between the Gala and the Akane. The Ginger Gold is a firm, yellow apple with a sweet, mildly tart flavor that is great for baking in pies. Because it is very slow to turn brown, it’s great for fresh cut apple use. It is the highest quality early season yellow dessert apple available. The Jonamac is a cross between a Jonathan and a Macintosh, but it ripens a week ahead of the standard Macintosh and is great for sauce.
Early season apples in New England include the Fulford Gala, Marshall Mac, Honeycrisp, and Pioneer Mac. The Fulford Gala originates in New Zealand and is a large, yellow-orange apple with a blush red. The Marshall Mac variety is identical to the original Macintosh except it has a more intense red color associated with it. The Honeycrisp is a large, sweet and juicy apple. It has explosive crispness and is a cross between the Macoun and the Honeygold. It’s excellent for both eating and baking. The Pioneer Mac is a great all-purpose apple that is firmer than other Mac strains.
Mid-season apples include the Macoun, Cortland, Morning Mist Fuji, Empire, Snowsweet, and Golden Delicious. The Macoun is a high quality Macintosh-style apple that was developed in NY. It has a hint of crunch and is extra sweet and juicy. The Cortland is the number one baking apple. It is sweet with a hint of tartness and its pure white flesh makes it a top salad apple too. The Morning Mist Fuji is similar to the standard Fuji, but it ripens about six weeks earlier. The Empire is an excellent eating apple that is deep red, crisp, and sweet with a hint of Macintosh flavor. The Snowsweet is a new variety that has a sweet taste with a slight tart balance. The Golden Delicious has a honey sweet flavor and is great for eating, cooking, baking, and sauce.
The last apples of the season are the Fortune, Jonagold, Shizuka, Hampshire Mac, Red Delicious, Cameo, and Mutsu (Crispin). The Fortune variety is an extremely large, firm apple
that is great for baking. The Jonagold is a very popular eating apple in Europe. It stores well in the refrigerator and can be used for baking. The Shizuka is a sister to the Mutsu, but has a slightly milder flavor and ripens ahead of the Mutsu. The Hampshire Mac was discovered in New Hampshire. It is a Macintosh-type apple that ripens two to three weeks later than a standard Mac. The Red Delicious is a deep red, crisp apple that is popular for fresh eating. The Cameo is firm and crisp with a sweet tart flavor. The Mutsu (Crispin) is a derivative of the Golden Delicious and is a super crispy, very juicy, honey sweet apple. There is almost no better way to enjoy a beautiful, fall New England day with your family than going apple picking at a local farm. It is a great way to create those lasting family memories and bring home some of the best fruit on earth! Happy Picking!
About the Author: Parlee Farms in Tyngsboro, MA is a family owned pick your own fruit farm near Boston that offers apple picking, blueberry picking, pumpkin picking and more. For more information please visit http://parleefarms.com.