Recent studies have linked eating apples to the lowering of "bad" cholesterol and improved lung functioning, as well as reduced risk of developing heart disease, lung, colon and liver cancers, stroke and Alzheimer's disease. Eat an apple after a workout or for breakfast to restore energy reserves in the liver.
Apples are a healthy choice at any time of the year eaten whole from the hand, sliced, in salads, cakes and of course pies.
The more pressure you use to pick the apple off the tree the more likely you will bruise it. Hold the apple in the palm of your hand and lightly grasp the apple. Roll the apple up towards the sky until the stem breaks from the tree. Place it into your bag carefully.
Growing an apple tree is much more complicated than planting a seed in the ground. Since apples do not grow true to their seeds, young trees that have been grown in a nursery from cuttings are transplanted to the orchard site. These trees have a desired apple variety grafted (attached by tissue splicing) on to a root stock selected for characteristics of size and vigor. Most apple trees in our orchard are on dwarf stock, allowing for more efficient use of valuable land and labor. You can still find some old stock in the main orchard. We refer to it as our nostalgia block and it gives us room to park cars. It takes another 3 to 4 years before any apples are produced from a newly planted tree. Apple trees can live for over 100 years.
Very cold temperatures (below zero F) can damage the roots if we have no snow cover. Snow is an insulator and keeps the ground at just below 32 degrees. The winter of 2003/04 we had a cold snap, -20 for a week with no snow, and we lost around 1,000 trees during the spring and summer. In 2005 there were still signs of trees that were affected by that one cold snap.
In late winter or early spring the apple trees are pruned. Branches are cut off to allow for better sunlight coverage to the fruit. A copper nutrient spay is applied in early spring. In mid May the apple trees come into full bloom and are covered in apple blossoms. It is quite a beautiful site to see. In order for the apple blossoms to become apples, they must be cross pollinated: the pollen from one blossom must travel to another before fertilization can occur. The bee hives across the road assist the wild bees in the cross pollination process. Cold and rainy weather can affect the bees as they tend to hang out in the hives until it warms up and stops raining.
After fertilization occurs and seeds begin to develop, the petals from the blossoms fall off, the core forms and the eating part of the apple starts to grow. There are generally too many apples on the tree so the apples have to be thinned out. This can be done using sprays or done by hand, picking individual apples off the tree. This process lets the tree put more energy into fewer apples. We end up with larger apples rather than a lot of smaller apples had the tree not been thinned.
We practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on the orchard. Red apple looking spheres with phenome paste are placed on the perimeter of the orchard blocks. Once a week an IPM scout or we count the bugs stuck on the red spheres. When a particular bug reaches a certain threshold (so many bugs per shpere) the trees are sprayed to remove these pests before they damage the apples. Chemicals are expensive, they take labor to apply which generally is done very early in the morning so the less spraying we do the better for everyone. (see About Us for more on our spray policy)
Some summer pruning is done, as the leaves are fully developed, to get maximum sunlight to the apples. Suckers from the roots are cut so the tree puts more energy into the apples. Summer carries the risk of hail during thunderstorms. Hail will dimple and bruise the apples. We hold our breath every time a thunderstorm passes. We do not irrigate the trees in the House Field but sometimes we water newly planted trees if we haven't had rain for awhile. Some of the trees can be irrigated in the Main Orchard as well as the stone fruit trees across the road.
Late August we open for early apples and continue picking different varieties of apples until late October. Generally after Columbus Day you need to hunt for apples but we usually have plenty of apples in the salesroom. We do sell wholesale apples to the Sanford and Wells Hannaford supermarkets. We supply the store with apples until just before Thanksgiving or until we run out of apples, whichever comes first.
Most apples you buy in the grocery store have been stored in controlled atmospheric (CA) storage rooms where the temperature is 32 degrees, and the oxygen is replaced with nitrogen to slow ripening. Apples come out of these rooms months later fresh as the day they were picked. We do not have any CA storage here nor do we ship any apples to CA storage.
Growing apples takes all year. If you look closely, you can even see the promise of next years apple at the tip of each branch. It is the bud that will become the apple which you might eat a year from now. Be careful when you are picking apples. If you pull off the fruit spurs you are removing next years fruit.
early - August,
Developed at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, in the 1950s. The name "Vista Bella" comes from the Guatamalan highlands where it is also grown. Vista Bella is a medium-sized apple, with a light yellow-green skin, flushed deep red where exposed to the sun. The color frequently changes to a solid crimson when ripe or over-ripe in good sunlight. For such an early variety the flavour is remarkably good, with a distinctly fruity taste reminiscent of slightly under-ripe raspberries. The flesh is light and juicy, and this apple is very easy and enjoyable to eat. If you have been surviving on old supermarket apples stored from the previous season, then Vista Bella is a revelation, with its full-on taste of the summer. Keep refrigerated as it ripens extremely fast.
Dark Color, bright red with yellow highlights, bloom of McIntosh, but ripening a month earlier, Perfumed with striped strawberry or vinous flavor, sweet, melting, snow white medium firm flesh, tough skin.
The earliest apple we grow. Always the first fresh apple pie of the season. Once picked the apples should be eaten within a couple of weeks. They should be kept refrigerated.
McIntosh type but ripens earlier. Solid red, strong vinous or strawberry flavor, sweet yet sprightly, quite firm white flesh.
An excellent early apple.
Sweet, tangy and juicy. Round with a smooth yellow-green skin that has a slight red blush.
Canada found c1811 by John McIntosh at Dundela, Dundas County, Ontario Propagation began c1835, more widely distributed by son Allan c1870.
Medium sized, bright red to deep purple over green, with a dust bluish bloom. In prime soon after picking with strawberry or even elderflower flavor and sweet, glistening, melting, juicy, white flesh. Cooks to sauce quickly.
John McIntosh was son of Scottish Highland family who had emigrated to NY state. After a family disagreement, John moved to Canada, settling in 1811 in Dundela. The McIntosh apple tree, the only one of several seedlings on his land to survive, eventually lead to Dundela becoming known as McIntosh Corners and a monument now marks the site of the original tree, which survived until 1908.
The McIntosh apple was introduced into Maine between 1875 and 1880 and, at first, was not well liked on account of its susceptibility to scab. In 1885, it was proved both of good quality and hardy in Arrostook County. It also proved to be a good market apple and, by 1910, was being (planted) set in increasing numbers. It eventually became the premier market apple in the state. The hardiness and good bearing qualities of the trees and the excellent quality and good color of the fruit made McIntosh the standard by which all other apples in Maine are judged even today.
Our apple pies are almost always made with McIntosh apples. We like the apple to cook down. We're not concerned about the apple holding its shape.
Carmine striped, deep bloom. Sweet, crisp, juicy, melting flesh in late September.
A larger apple with a deep purple-red striped color, McIntosh type. Very sweet, soft melting white flesh, vinous flavor, can be very good. Recommended for freezing. Cooked keeps shape. The white flesh doesn't brown when sliced so they are a standout for fruit salads, dipping in toppings, or eating with a plate of sharp cheddar cheese.
Cortland is another popular variety in Maine. A lot of our customers say Cortlands are the "only" apple to make a pie with.
Large, orange splash over pale yellow. Mellow, sweet and fragrant, crisp and juicy. Holds shape for baking.
Almost purple flesh with bloom. Very sweet, scented, hint of strawberry flavor, snow white, juicy flesh, tough skin. McIntosh type but ripening later. Esteemed by American connoisseurs. Excellent for snacks and desserts and good for all culinary uses.
Macoun has a very strong following and is an excellent, extremely crispy, eating apple. We have had people turn around and leave when told we are out of Macouns. A lot of our customers use Macouns for cooking
Red blush with green and yellow stripes. Honeyed sweetness of Delicious. Crisp, firm, juicy flesh.
BLONDEE mid - September
Blondee is a new, long-storing yellow apple variety that ripens five days before Gala.
Blondee was discovered by orchardists Tom and Bob McLaughlin of Portsmouth, Ohio.
Blondee has a clear, yellow skin and smooth finish with nonprominent lenticels. The flesh is exceptionally firm for an apple in that season and has a sweet, crunchy texture. It has some resistance to browning.
Red-orange, with yellow stripes. A sweet crisp flavor and texture. Very good for salads and sauces.
NODHEAD aka Jewwet Red) Late September - we no longer grow
According to the Maine record, it appeared, about 1850, at Bangor, Foxcroft and in northern Kennebec County. One of 9 varieties recommended in 1856 by the Maine Pomological Society as of high promise and worthy of extensive trial.
Quite rich, good taste, firm, crisp flesh.
GOLDEN DELICIOUS early - October
USA arose c1890 with A.H. Mullin's, Clay County, WVA. Poss Grimes Golden seedling. Originally Mullins' Yellow seedling. Introduced 1916 and renamed by Stark Brothers, Louisiana, Missouri.
Medium/Large size, bright yellow, sometimes highly russeted, blush. At best, honeyed with crisp, juicy, almost yellow flesh. Bunyard found it "very sweet with rich perfume". Cooked keeps shape, sweet, but very light flavor. Wonderful fresh and in salads.
Began rise to fame after Mullins sent fruit to Stark Brothers Nursery in April 1914, commending to them its excellent keeping qualities and heavy crops. Paul Stark was sufficiently impressed to come and inspect the tree which he bought for $5,000, erected a cage around it to prevent anyone else taking grafts and paid $100 dollars a year for it's maintenance. The tree survived until 1958, and was honored with photographs on centennial issue of Clay County bank checks.
Large, orange-red blush covering up to 80% over greenish yellow ground. Attractive with rich, honeyed, almost aromatic flavor, crisp, juicy, nearly yellow flesh. Acidity of Jonathan gives less cloying. Combines nutty Golden sweetness with tart Jonathan Fragrance. Holds shape for cooking. Good fresh, in salads, and for cooking and baking.
Attractive, covered in golden russet. Sugary, honeyed taste, firmly textured cream flesh.
Dense taste of fruit, plenty of sugar, acid, deep cream flesh. Mellows to become sweeter, almost aromatic.
Large, covered in blue bloom. Delicate aromatic quality in December, sweet soft cream flesh.
Greenish yellow to yellow. Sweet, honeyed, crisp, juicy flesh, similar to Golden Delicious but coarser textured. Can be quite scented. Good used in fresh in salads. Cooked tends to keep shape, sweet, light flavor.
Crimson, flushed. Honeyed, very sweet, crisp, juicy.
At best, sweet, rich, lightly aromatic and juicy
USA developed c1870 from seedling rootstock after scion had broken off, according to W.A. Taylor USDA. Arose on farm of Jesse Hiatt, Peru, Iowa. First named Hawkeye. Renamed, introduced 1895 by Stark Brothers, Missouri.
At best, densely sweet, not sickly, lightly aromatic, glistening cream flesh. Best for crunching out of hand and in fruit cups and salads.
Brought to prominence after winning prize at Stark Brothers show in 1893, when C.M. Stark bit into the apple he exclaimed 'My that's delicious - and that's the name for it'. He spent $750,000 advertising what proved to be the ideal commercial variety, producing heavy crops of sweet apples that remained shiny, bright red no matter how long they stood out on display. The original tree was almost killed in winter of 1940, but a shoot grew up from the roots, fruited and still stands protected by a fence. Also commemorated by a monument in Winterfest Park, Iowa.
Try a Red Delicious apple right from the tree. They are not mealy like the ones in the supermarket.
Golden Delicious and McIntosh cross at Highmoor farm in 1933 and designated as ME. 7-492. Released for public trial in 1966. The selection was named Brock after Henry Brock, an apple grower from Alfred, Maine, who tested ME 7-492 in cooperation with the University of Maine.
The fruit are uniformly large, rounded, conic, and somewhat angular. The flesh is cream colored, firm, crisp, juicy and sub-acid to sweet. High quality dessert type, blushed, golden apple.
NORTHERN SPY October
USA arose c1800 in seedling orchard of Herman Chapin, East Bloomfield, NY from seed brought from Salisbury, CT, Introduced 1840. Listed 1852 as new variety of promise by the American Pomological Society.
Large red and green skin, spicy tart flavor, rich, intense flavor, sweet, plenty of fruit, acidity, crisp, cream flesh. A favorite for apple pies.
Northern Spies make THE BEST apple pie, period. Not only does the apple keep well without shriveling, but holds its flavor to the last.
Pale greenish-yellow flushed with purplish-brown. Sweet, fruity, retaining crisp, lively character. Stores extremely well.
Stone apple on a pillar, erected in 1895 marks 'the estate where in 1793 Samuel Thompson Esq. while locating the line of the Middlesex canal discovered the first Pecker Apple tree later named the Baldwin'. Colonel Loammi Baldwin was also an engineer on the Middlesex Canal and his statue at North Wouburn is wreathed in apples and inscribed 'Disseminator of the apple in honor of him called the Baldwin apple, which proceeds from a tree growing wild about 2 miles north of this monument'
Scions from the original Baldwin tree were brought into Maine by Captain Thomas Coolidge, a son-in-law of Mr. Baldwin in 1872. Baldwin was the leading apple in Maine for many years.
Small, brightly flushed. Crisp, sweet, fruity.
For many years it was considered the best winter sweet apple. "Will stand any degree of cold." Fine cooking apple, makes good jelly, an excellent apple for baking.
Refreshing, crisp, firm flesh, can be perfumed.
Large, early and delicious. This semi-freestone peach features yellow skin with a red blush. Early-bearing, the tree produces clouds of blooms in spring followed by loads of juicy, medium-large peaches ripening in July. Pies, cobblers, fresh off the tree! A relative of Redhaven, it loves hot weather and is hardy, too.
One-of-a-kind! You've seen these distinctive "flat" or "donut" peaches in your grocery store; and have you tasted one yet? Red and freestone, Saturn peaches open up to tender, white flesh with a mild, sweet flavor.
This heavy cropper will produce an 80% red peach with yellow, non-browning flesh, great flavor and storage characteristics.
The fruit has 100% yellow skin color and picks clean. Flavor is wonderfully sweet.
This large, mostly red yellow freestone, good firmness, excellent flavor and size. It crops heavily an is hardy.
A firm, attractive, white fleshed freestone of good quality. The tree is vigorous, hardy and productive. The best early white peach for the roadside trade.
Developed in Canada, Harrow Beauty is a brilliant colored, firm freestone peach. Trees are medium vigor and winter hardy.
Blushingstar is a wonderful white peach that stores very well. It is 80 percent deep pinkish-red and averages 2 1/2 inches and larger with the wonderful distinctive flavor of a white peach. The flesh is white, tinged with pink and does not brown when cut. Blushingstar is completely freestone. The tree is consistently heavy producing, very hardy and open growing.
This variety is one of the most winter hardy varieties available. The fruit is medium to large, uniform in size and of exceptional quality. Madison is recommended for northern climates where peaches are sensitive to low winter temperatures.
This yellow-freestone nectarine is medium to large in size. Fruit is firm, nearly 100% dark red, with a very smooth finish. An excellent choice to start the season
An exceptional yellow fleshed nectarine, freestone, has medium size, good color and firmness for an early season nectarine.
A white nectarine, large, highly colored with excellent firmness. Emeraude is a low acid variety with good flavor and a very clean finish.
A very high quality yellow fleshed nectarine for the mid-season. Fruit is large and 75% red over a golden background color.
A very high quality late nectarine. Fruit is freestone and large, with excellent color and flavor. Flesh is yellow and firm, giving it excellent storage qualities. Fruit buds are considered to be very winter hardy.
Mild, slightly tangy freestone fruit with dark red skin and golden flesh.
Developed in California, Fantasia is an excellent quality, yellow fleshed freestone nectarine. Fruit is large, nearly full red with a smooth glossy finish. Trees are vigorous, hardy and very productive.
These are large and juicy, with flesh that is yellow, sweet and divinely delicious. Experts consider Flavortop to have the most highly rated nectarine for flavor available. These dessert quality fruit make for supreme pies and cobblers, and can even be popped in your juicer.
An early plum with fine quality and appearance. The fruit is purple with red, sweet flesh, very juicy with a distinctive flavor. Ripening in early to mid-July, Methley is self-fruitful.
A sweet, juicy yellow plum. Fruits are round, clingstone, and medium in size. The trees are spreading and very productive.
A giant! Great for the Ohio Valley, Northeast, Midwest. Semi-freestone plums are firm, sweet and juicy.
A New Yok State Experiment Station introduction and leading cultivar in the Great Lakes region. A fine prune-type plum with excellent quality suited for both home use or processing. Fruit is large in size with a dark blue skin. Flesh is greenish-yellow, juicy and fine grained.
A very large yellow pear, with a red blush. Clapp's Favorite is an early, high quality pear similar to Bartlett. Trees are very hardy and vigorous, but susceptible to fire blight.
A large, heavy-bearing variety with excellent quality. Long considered one of the choicest canning varieties. Bartlett accounts for about 75% of the pear production in the United States and Canada. A favorite for all uses. Bartlett is somewhat self-setting but does best planted with a cross pollinator.