Apple Varieties


One of the first sweet apples of the season, Sansa ripens about a week before Gala.  It has a well developed flavor that is complex and not just sweet.  It has bright red stripes on a yellow background and has a similar appearance to Gala.  It was first introduced into the United States in 1986, from a cooperative breeding effort between New Zealand and Japan.  It’s parents are Gala and Akane.  Sansa picks in late August.


Zestar! is an early season apple with a sprightly sweet-tart taste with a hint of brown sugar.  It has a light, crisp texture unlike many other early season apples that have a more soft texture.  Released from the University of Minnesota breeding program in 1999, it came from a cross of State Fair and MN1691.  Picked in late August to early September.  We are just planting these trees in 2012, so won’t have a crop until about 2015.


A strong flavored, zesty apple that tends to be smaller in size.  The intense flavor reminds us of the sweet tart candy we used to get as kids.  First introduced in Germany in the 1930’s, this apple results from a cross of Cox’s Orange Pippen and Duchess of Oldenburg.  It has cream colored flesh and is crisp when first picked, but does not store well.  This is an apple often seen in Europe, but rarely in the United States.  Picks in early September.


An aromatic, sweet apple with a burst of flavor. The taste has hints of banana and strawberry. The dense flesh makes it lively and snappy when eaten. Gala is a premier fresh eating apple. While they can store well and retain their sweet flavor, some of their subtle flavor nuances disappear after several weeks off the tree.  We think they are best right off the tree.  They hold their shape when cooked, making them nice for sweeter pies, garnishes or dried. Gala’s are one of the first sweet apples of the season, starting around the first of September.

Golden Supreme

Sweet and very crunchy with a rosy blush. Golden Supreme is a completely separate variety from Golden Delicious and ripens earlier than regular Golden’s.  It has a higher sugar content than many apples. Great for eating on their own (make sure you have good teeth!) and for using as a “sweetener” in baked goods.  It has a bit of a “spicy” flavor that goes beyond just sweet.  Golden Supremes start picking the first or second week of September.


Tart, with a balanced sweetness when picked at full maturity. Colorado is famous for its Jonathan’s, a variety not grown in many parts of the United States. Our warm days and cool nights give this variety great flavor and color.  If cooked with the skins on, Jonathan apple sauce has a gorgeous rosy color.  Jonathan is incredible during September and early October, but it is not a good keeper. Eat it at its peak and then savor the thoughts of its flavor until next year.  Jonathan is a favorite of cider makers as a tart apple and is also a preferred apple at our local distillery for making gin an vodka.  Our several selections of Jonathan mean that we start picking them in early September and finish near the end of September.

Swiss Gourmet (Arlet)

Swiss Gourmet is a sweet, aromatic apple that isn’t commonly found in supermarkets, but is loved by consumers in Europe. Known as Swiss Gourmet in the United States, this variety is called Arlet in Europe.  This is one a variety we have the most difficulty describing to consumers.  Many people would call it sweet, but we have a number of folks that say it is tart.  It truly seems to strike each persons taste buds in a unique way.  Arlet is picked in late September or early October.


A popular variety in the Eastern United States and Canada, McIntosh is difficult to find in the West.  A tart, aromatic apple with an white flesh and an open texture.  McIntosh results from a cross between Fameuse and Detroit Red.  It was crossed on the farm of John McIntosh in Ontario, Canada in 1870.  While the apple is crisp first off the tree, it does not store well and tends to soften quickly.  We pick McIntosh in mid-September.


Sweet, with a tang! Jonagold embodies the sweetness of its parent Golden Delicious, and the tart zip of its other parent, Jonathan. Picked properly, its hard to beat a Jonagold for all around flavor. A favorite at our markets where couples that like both sweet and tart find a place to agree. Like Jonathan, it is does not keep well and is at its peak in September and early October.  Jonagold makes an excellent apple sauce that is sweet with a bit of tart.  Look for Jonagold starting in the middle of September.


Crisp, juicy texture with a sweet, honey like flavor. Honeycrisp has been an immediate hit with customers wherever it has been sold. Introduced in 1991 by the University of Minnesota, this is a brand new variety, but one that is likely to be seen on store shelves into the future. The flesh is less compact than some other apples, but when bitten gives a satisfying crunch.  When you rub your fingers over the skin, it is slightly bumpy unlike the smooth skin of many other apples.  Honeycrisp are picked in early October.

Ashmead’s Kernel

A strong flavored, tart heirloom apple.  Ashmead’s is strong on flavor and short on looks, making it difficult to sell commercially.  The color is greenish yellow with a mottled skin.  It is tart and puckery off the tree, but then mellows into a sweeter, juicy flavor as it sits.  It was discovered in Gloucester, England, in the 1700’s.  We pick Ashmead’s in late September.

Cox’s Orange Pippin

A tart, spicy, firm, juicy heirloom apple that has often been used as a parent for many modern varieties.  It has a light colored flesh and is very crisp off the tree, but can soften when over mature.  It is well know in Europe and has been one of the more popular desert apples there.  It is red and yellow striped over a green to yellow background.  One of it’s parents is the Ribston Pippin and it was discovered in Bucks, England in the early 1800’s. Cox’s matures in early October.

Esopus Spitzenburg

A classic American heirloom apple that has a sweet, yet spritzy, flavor.  This apple has a light, pale yellow flesh, a crisp texture and lots of flavor.  It is famous for being grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.  It was “discovered” in the 1700’s on a farm in New York, near the town of Esopus in the Hudson River Valley.  Great for fresh eating and also for baking. Esopus Spitzenburg are picked in early to mid-October.


A yellow heirloom apple that is sweet and has the distinct taste of licorice.  It’s tends to russet around the stem end, giving it a rougher appearance.  Some say it also has essences of other spices and pear.  It was developed in New Zealand in 1934 by J. H. Kidd, the same breeder who developed Gala.  It is a cross of Golden Delicious and Cox’s Orange Pippin.  Picked in early October.

Karminjen de Sonneville

A very spritely, tart, but balanced sweet flavored apple.  The flesh is dense and the coloration is similar to Esopus Spitzenburg.  The flavor is intense, but wonderful if you like full flavored varieties.  Karminjen was developed in the Nederlands at Wageningen University in the 1950’s.  One parent is Cox’s Orange Pippin and the other parent is unknown.  Supposedly this variety stores well, but we’ve never had them long enough to find out!  Picked in mid-October.

Pitmaston Pineapple

A unique, yellow-brown heirloom variety that lives up to it’s name with a pineapple flavor.  Some say it also has hints of honey.  This apple is small, imperfectly shaped and russeted, making it commercially unacceptable, but the unique flavor has kept it around.  It has long been loved in England as a desert apple.   It was discovered near Worcester, England, in the 1780’s.  Picked in late September to early October.


A deep red, sweet apple with hints of tartness that people fall in love with.  It has dense, crisp texture and is very popular in the Eastern United States.  Developed at the Geneva Experiment Station in New York and released in 1966, the apple was named for the Empire State.  Many people are surprised that the parents are Red Delicious and McIntosh, given the disfavor that Red Delicious has fallen into.  Picked in mid-October.

Golden Delicious

Goldens are a crisp, sweet, succulent apple with a creamy blend of tastes. The smooth texture makes it a delight to eat. Many people are jaded about Goldens because they can be bland when picked early or stored for a long period (i.e. supermarket, mass production Goldens). A properly picked Golden should have a flavor

Hubbardson’s Nonesuch

A sweet, mellow flavored heirloom apple with crisp texture.  The apple has a variable red color over a green background.  The flesh is white with a dense texture.  Discovered in Hubbardston, Massachusetts, in the early 1700’s.  Picks in mid to late-October.


Sweet, spicy and crunchy! A late season apple that has very dense texture, keeps incredibly well and is a delight to eat at any time. Fuji develops a deep red color in our Indian summer days and cool fall nights. The sweet flavor continues to develop even after the apple is picked. This apple is a wonderful keeper and can be used through the holidays for eating fresh or made into pies and sauce. When kept at 32 degrees, we often enjoy Fuji’s well into March here on the farm.  They are unique in that as they age, the skin may shrivel a bit – this always make us think they will be soft.  But, even then they still have a snap when eaten!  Fuji’s are picked in mid-to-late October.


Tart, with full luscious flavor. Braeburn is one of the last apples of the season to be picked, right after Fuji. The tart flavor makes your mouth tingle followed by its sugar that makes your mouth smile. A very good keeping apple that develops more sweetness as it is stored. To us, it is often better in late November than it is right off the tree.  A great Christmas apple that is wonderful fresh or in pies and sauces.  This is another favorite apple of our local distillery and makes a nice vodka and gin.  Look for Braeburns in mid-to-late October.

Granny Smith

Granny Smith is the last apple we pick here on the farm.  In Colorado, Granny’s often develop a rosy blush – something considered a defect in commercial circles, but beautiful in our book!  Granny’s are known for their tart flavor, but when allowed to fully mature on the tree, the tartness is balanced by a nice background sweetness.  They store well if kept cold.  This is another apple that has been “ruined” by the commercial industry – many Granny’s in the store are bland because they were picked too green.  Granny’s are a mainstay for pies and processing, but can be one of our family favorites for fresh eating through the winter.  Picked in late October.

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