We grow over 100 varieties of apples in our Sebastopol Estate orchard on the Gold Ridge Loam. These are a few of the apples highlighted in our Harvest and California Farms Series.
Season: Late October/mid November
Origin: This variety was found in Benton County, Arkansas in the mid 1800's and is believed to have come from a Winesap seedling.
Tasting Experience: With deep red, almost black skin the Arkansas Black is one of the darkest skinned of all varieties. The taste is sweet, tart and wine-like. The flesh is yellow, hard and crunchy. The apple stores very well and gets sweeter with time. This variety is very good for baking (although does not hold shape) as well as cider making. Be sure to check in with us to see when the Arkansas Black are here; they are a crowd favorite and go fast!
Season: Late October/early November
Origin: Discovered in Tennessee around 1830 as a seedling and some sources say it was introduced into Arkansas in 1868.
Tasting Experience: This variety became a popular dessert apple in the 19th and early 20th centuries and is rumored to have been President Andrew Jackson's favorite apple. It has a very firm and crisp flesh that is both sweet and tart, yet has a tannic finish. The flavor is robust and has spice undertones. Cider makers love them! The variety keeps well and is great for eating and baking.
Growing Notes: It tends to bear every other year and it is susceptible to worms, since it is a very late apple, one of the last to be harvested in Sonoma County.
Season: Early August
Origin: Discovered in 1669 in South Denmark, although it may have come from Italy first. First brought to the US in the early 19th century, probably by Russian fur traders into Fort Ross, California. The Gravenstein was declared "National Apple" of Denmark in 2005. The apple industry soared around Sebastopol, given the suitability of the Gravenstein for processing. During WWII, american troops were even supplied with dried and canned apples from Sebastopol. Today, the number of acres in Sebastopol that are planted with apples particularly Gravensteins, has decreased dramatically. The Slow Food USA movement is trying to help the variety keep its place in Russian River Valley's local agriculture.
Tasting Experience: A ripe Gravenstein is orange with dark stripes. The fruit is tart, very flavorful, and perfect for cooking: sauce, pies, cider, etc... We have three strains/sports of Gravenstein: standard Gravenstein, Red Gravenstein and Rosebrook.
Season: Late September/mid October
Origin: New York, 1759. The Newtown Pippin is one of the oldest American varieties and was probably raised as a seedling in Long Island by settlers. The Pippin was made famous by well-known figures of its time, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. By the 19th century it was a big commercial export to England.
Tasting Experience: The flavor is very unique: aromatic, with a firm, dense, and crisp texture. It is a versatile apple that is excellent for baking and eating. It is green during early harvest and eventually turns a crimson-gold color in later harvest. The variety has rough-looking skin and tends to russet in our climate.
Growing Note: A variety originally planted in Fort Ross gave the scion wood for our Fort Ross Pippins. It does great in Sebastopol climate! We have the two strains, but it is difficult to tell the them apart.
Rhode Island Greening
Season: Late September
Origin: Very old American heritage variety, known since the 17th century. It has been grown commercially on a large scale in the North-East USA.
Tasting Experience: Beautiful green, with a golden blush and some russet marbling, this variety ripens in the 3rd to 4th week in September. It is a firm apple and not only retains its shape very well in cooking but also gains an incredible flavor. The Rhode Island Greening is also good for apple pie and drying.