10 Antique Apple Orchard Varieties You Can Grow | askBAMLand

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases. The images and content on this page may be created by, or with the assistance of, artificial intelligence, and should be used for entertainment and informational purposes only.

Taste history with every crunch—antique apples are a timeless treasure!

Fancy growing a slice of the past in your backyard?

Antique apple varieties offer unique flavors and storied histories that modern apples can't match.

You're in for a treat with these orchard gems that are not just fruit but heirlooms.

With every bite, you're eating a piece of history, and what's more, you're helping to preserve it.

These varieties offer complex tastes and textures that supermarket shelves have forgotten.

By choosing to plant and nurture these ancient apples, you're contributing to biodiversity and keeping these important cultivars from disappearing.

So, shall we turn back the pages of the apple history book and plant an orchard that's brimming with tales and tastes?

Key Takeaways

  • Antique apple varieties bring unique, rich flavors to your garden.
  • Planting these apples helps preserve agricultural heritage.
  • These heirloom fruits offer fascinating stories and unmatched tastes.

Table of Contents

Grimes Golden

Ever bitten into an apple and thought, "Wow, that's a flavor bonanza!"?

If not, let me introduce you to the Grimes Golden, a true antique charmer in the apple world.

Guess where this spicy little number originated from?

If you said West Virginia, around the early 1800s, you'd be right on the money!

These apples aren't just a treat to eat; with their rich, spicy, and sweet flavor, they're the go-to choice for an authentic, zesty apple cider.

Want to hear a fun secret?

Many people believe that the Grimes Golden is a direct parent of the ubiquitous Golden Delicious apple.

Yep, it's basically apple royalty.

Key Facts:

  • Origin: Brooke County, West Virginia
  • First Grown: 1804 by Thomas Grimes
  • Great For: Eating fresh and hard cider making
  • Sugar Content: A whopping 18.81%
  • Potential Alcohol: Can ferment to 9% alcohol
  • Disease Resistance: Cedar apple rust and fire blight

But it's not just good eating; the Grimes Golden shines in versatility.

Whether you're munching it fresh or whipping up a classic apple pie, this apple won't let you down.

Plus, they store beautifully, so you can savor them well into the winter months.

Picture this: a bright yellow skin when ripe, a crisp bite, and a sweet flesh with a creamy texture.

Now imagine biting into one.

Amazing, right?

The leave are a stunning, shiny dark green, and the trees?

They're hearty, but remember to give them a little love with some thinning to produce the largest fruit possible.

So, if you're looking to spruce up your orchard with a taste of history, the Grimes Golden is your perfect pick.

Trust me, you won't regret it!

Arkansas Black

Have you ever stumbled upon an apple that looks like it danced in a pot of paint at midnight?

Meet the Arkansas Black, an antique apple with a striking, dark hue that's as rich in history as it is in color.

Picture this: Deep crimson to midnight black skin, isn't that a sight?

Originating from the orchards of Benton County, Arkansas, in the 1800s, these apples are more than just a pretty face.

Let's cut to the core: The texture?


The taste?

A perfect balance of sweet and tart, which, like a fine wine, improves with time.

After a few months in storage, you'll notice their tartness mellows into a more complex and sweeter flavor.

Are you thinking about baking or making cider?

Brilliant choice!

The Arkansas Black apple is a baker's dream and a cider maker's best friend, thanks to its distinctive flavor profile.

Here's what you need to know about growing these beauties:

  • Maturity: This tree is not just a pretty sight in your garden; it reaches about 12-15 feet tall and just as wide.
  • Fruit size: Imagine large, softball-sized apples adorning your tree.
  • Harvest time: Patience is key! From seed, it takes roughly five years for fruit production to kick off.

Want a standout apple that not only adds charm to your space but also brings a rich history and a burst of flavor to your table?

Arkansas Black is a top contender in the antique apple arena, and just might be the touch of midnight magic your orchard needs.

Happy planting!

Ashmead's Kernel

Have you ever crunched into an Ashmead's Kernel apple?

If not, you're missing out on a heritage treat!

This English variety, dating back to the early 1700s, has certainly stood the test of time.

What makes it so special?

A russeted exterior that may not win beauty contests but hides a treasure trove of flavor within.

Fancy a bit of history?

This antique variety was planted from seed by a certain Dr.

Ashmead in Gloucester, England.

Known for its intense, sweet-tart taste, the Ashmead's Kernel comes into its own following a little ripening on the tree, or even after some storage – much like a fine wine!

Let's peek at its standout traits:

  • Origins: Gloucester, England, 1700s
  • Ripening Season: September to October
  • Flavor Profile: Sweet yet intensely aromatic, improves with storage
  • Uses: Eaten fresh, divine in cider, or great for cooking

Growing your own might test your patience, though.

It's not the most prolific early on, often taking 3-4 years to bear fruit.

And even then, it's known for its light to average yield.


The Ashmead's Kernel is a bit unpredictable, flowering at times erratically.

Despite these quirks, it's worth the wait.

Once mature, these trees are robust and moderately scab-resistant.

They're still grown commercially in England today, which speaks volumes about their enduring popularity.

So, are you keen on giving this variety a spot in your orchard?

Remember, it's not just an apple; it's a slice of history, and it may just be your fall favorite for years to come!


Ever stumbled upon a striking red-skinned apple and wondered, "What's this beauty?" Chances are, you've met a Baldwin!

Discovered way back in the 1700s in none other than Massachusetts, Baldwins bring a splash of color and a burst of flavor to any apple lover's palate.

You know what?

They aren't just about good looks.

They've got a history as rich as their taste!

Let's take a bite into what makes them special:

  • Bright Red Skin: It's like they're blushing, just for you!
  • Crisp Texture: Sink your teeth into that satisfying crunch.
  • Juicy Flesh: Perfect for quenching your apple-induced thirst.

Fun fact: These apples aren't just for admiring.

They can do it all!

Fresh eating, cooking, and cider-making – Baldwin apples are your go-to.

Imagine biting into a fresh one on a sunny day, or better yet, enjoying a home-cooked apple pie with that irresistible aroma wafting through your kitchen.

Their versatility in the kitchen makes them a darling of both amateur and professional chefs.

And let's not forget the cider enthusiasts – these apples add that perfect zesty kick to your beverage.

But wait, there's more!

Not only do they have an enduring legacy, but they also boast resilience.

Have you got your gardening gloves on?

Considering their New England roots, you can trust Baldwins to be robust and ready to brave the colder climates.

Feeling tempted to add some Baldwin charm to your orchard?

Remember, these red beauties look just as good on the branch as they do in your fruit bowl!

Keep it upbeat, and happy apple growing. 🍎

Esopus Spitzenburg

Have you ever bitten into an apple and thought, "Wow, now this is an apple!" That's the Esopus Spitzenburg for you.

Dating back to the 1700s, this heirloom variety hails from the Hudson Valley in New York.

What's so special about it?

Well, it's said to be a top pick of none other than Thomas Jefferson!

Imagine strolling through Monticello's orchards, plucking these beauties right from the tree.


  • Skin: A beautiful red-orange hue that seems to whisper "autumn."
  • Flavor: A rich, spicy zest that truly stands out. It's got that perfect combination of sweet and tart that makes your taste buds dance.
  • Texture: We're talking crisp and juicy. It’s the apple that leaves that satisfying crunch echoing in your ears.


  • Fresh Eating: Snack on it just as it is.
  • Cider Making: Transform it into a delightful cider that warms you up on a chilly evening.

Why should you consider growing this antique variety?

Its uniqueness!

Unlike those common varieties you find lining the supermarket shelves, the Esopus Spitzenburg offers a tasty window into America's apple heritage.

Plus, it's a showstopper in any dish, from a rustic pie to a fancy tarte tatin.

Who wouldn't want a piece of history in their backyard, especially one that tastes this good?

Planting Esopus Spitzenburg trees is more than gardening; it's preserving a slice of Americana.

So, why not give it a go and see what Jefferson was raving about all those years ago?

Cox's Orange Pippin

Have you ever wondered about an apple that captures the very essence of English orchards?

Meet Cox's Orange Pippin, a time-honored favorite that's been around since the 1800s.

Imagine sinking your teeth into an apple with a symphony of flavors—yeah, that's the Cox's Orange Pippin for you.

Rich, aromatic, and bursting with a complex taste that hints at orange and mango notes, it's no wonder this apple is often the talk of the orchard!


  • Grown from seed between 1825 and 1830
  • Developed by Richard Cox in Colnbrook, England
  • Parentage includes 'Ribston Pippin' but the full lineage, well, remains a juicy mystery


  • Has that striking orange-red coloring that turns heads
  • Skin: A sunny canvas speckled with reddish hues
  • Flavor: A melodic blend ranging from pear to melon

Tree Appearance:

  • Grows to about 30 feet tall and 15 feet wide
  • Adorned with pinkish-white blossoms come spring

Growing your very own Cox's Orange Pippin can be a bit of a challenge, but don't let that deter you.

They're famous for being trickier than your average apple, yet the rewards are oh-so-sweet.

Whether you're munching it fresh off the branch or swirling it into a cider, this apple's fame is well-earned.

Plus, nothing beats the satisfaction of pulling off a horticultural feat right in your backyard.

Ready to grow a piece of history?

Rhode Island Greening

Ever wondered what tart apples your great-great-grandparents enjoyed?

Meet the Rhode Island Greening, one of America's heritage apples with roots tracing back to the 1600s in Rhode Island.

Imagine biting into the dark, waxy green skin of this apple and tasting its vibrant tartness — an absolute treat for your taste buds!

  • Origin: Rhode Island, circa 1650
  • Skin: Dark, waxy green, turning greenish-yellow when ripe
  • Flavor: Crisp, juicy, and tart
  • Use: Ideal for baking and cooking

Curious about the genetics?

The Rhode Island Greening is a triploid, meaning it has three sets of chromosomes rather than the usual diploid two.

This makes it a bit of a loner in the pollination department — it can't pollinate other apple varieties.

But that's okay!

Its uniqueness means you get an apple that's not just old but filled with character.

You should know it's not an early bearer.

This apple takes its sweet (or should I say tart?) time to mature and start bearing fruit.

But your patience will be rewarded with large, round apples that are just perfect for that pie you love to bake.

Old recipes sometimes call for Northern Spy or Baldwin apples, but trust me, swapping in a Rhode Island Greening will give your desserts a lip-smacking zing.

What's really cool?

This apple was once a celeb in New York, second only to the Baldwin apple in the 19th century.

It's even the official state fruit of Rhode Island!

If you're eyeing a heritage orchard, this apple is a must-grow.

Not only will you be preserving a piece of American history, you'll also get to enjoy some seriously delicious apples — the kind that make you think store-bought ones just don't compare.

Northern Spy

Ever stumbled upon a vibrant apple with a touch of history?

Let me introduce you to the Northern Spy, a tried-and-true favorite that dates back to the 1800s.

This heritage apple variety, first discovered in New York, is not just another pretty fruit; it boasts a winning combination of red and yellow skin, paired with crisp and juicy flesh.

Now, why should you pick a few Northern Spies for your garden or orchard?

  • Taste: Can you imagine biting into an apple and experiencing a refreshingly tart and rich flavor? That's the Northern Spy for you, perfect for savoring fresh off the branch.
  • Baking: Want to be the star at your next pie-baking contest? These apples hold their shape beautifully when cooked, making them your secret ingredient for a legendary apple pie.
  • Cider: Love DIY projects? The Northern Spy's nuanced flavor profile also makes for a delightful apple cider, bringing a unique twist to your homemade brews.
  • Storage: One more thing—planning ahead for those long winters? Northern Spy apples are known for their excellent storage life, staying crisp and tasty well into spring. Pop them in a cold store and forget about running to the market for apples every other week.

Remember though, patience is key!

These apple trees may take their sweet time to bear fruit, typically longer than most, but the wait is well worth it.

Once they start, be aware of their tendency to alternate bearing years.

So there you have it!

Whether it's the joy of munching on a fresh apple, baking a heartwarming pie, or brewing some cider, the Northern Spy has got you covered.

Isn't it time you brought a piece of apple history into your own backyard?

King David

Have you met the King David of the apple world?

Plucked straight from the pages of history, this antique variety dates back to the late 1800s in Arkansas, and trust me, it's a timeless treasure.

King David apples are something special.

Your taste buds will thank you for the complex sweet-tart flavor they deliver.

Not just a one-trick pony, their deep red allure is perfect for spicing up your fruit bowl and the rich flavor equally enhances any dessert, pie, or cider.

Growing King David apples?

You'll need to buddy up!

These trees are self-sterile, which means they'll need at least two other apple varieties close by to successfully pollinate.

But don't worry, when October rolls around, you'll be rolling in delicious apples that offer more than just a snack:

  • Fresh Eating: Bite into the crisp, juicy flesh and let the flavors dance on your tongue.
  • Baking: Craving a pie? The King David holds its own, giving your desserts a delightful twist.
  • Cider Making: A rich, yellow hue in the cooked fruit hints at the superior flavor this apple contributes to ciders.

Remember, the King David blossoms in late midseason, so if you're in Virginia or similar climates, that's your cue to get excited for harvest time.

It's not just about growing fruit; it's about reviving a slice of apple history.

So, why not give the King David a space in your orchard?

It's more than growing apples; it's cultivating stories, flavors, and traditions that your grandkids will relish!

Winter Banana

Have you ever bitten into an apple and thought, "Wow, this almost tastes like a banana"?

Well, let me introduce you to the aptly named Winter Banana apple.

It's like Mother Nature played a little joke on us by mixing flavors in a most delightful way!

This Indiana native popped onto the scene back in 1876, boasting not just a unique flavor but a lovely look as well—with its pale yellow skin and a tempting blush of red.

Now, you might wonder, what makes the Winter Banana so special?

First off, its mild, sweet flavor makes it a hit for fresh eating.

And if you're an aspiring cider maker, this apple is your friend for crafting that perfect brew.

The Winter Banana's good looks aren't just skin deep, either.

Imagine seeing those showy blooms in spring—an enticement not just for the eyes, but they also make the tree an excellent pollinator for your orchard.

Let's talk about the nitty-gritty of growing this antique variety.

The Winter Banana is cold-hardy and manages late spring frosts like a champ.

You'd want to plant it in full sun and well-draining soil to see it truly thrive.

If patience isn't your strongest suit, no worries.

This variety is known to bear fruit relatively young and annually, with medium to heavy crops, and fruits ripen come fall.

Here's a quick cheat sheet for your orchard notes:

  • Origin: Indiana, circa 1876
  • Skin Color: Pale yellow with a red blush
  • Flavor: Mild and sweet, reminiscent of bananas
  • Use: Fresh eating and cider making
  • Bloom: Showy, great for pollinating
  • Climate: Cold-hardy, tolerates late frosts
  • Sunlight: Prefers full sun
  • Soil: Well-draining is a must
  • Ripening: Ready to harvest in the fall

So, do you think you're ready to add a little humor and history to your orchard with the Winter Banana?

I'd say go for it—your taste buds and your garden will thank you!


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

Read More About Brittany Melling