Friday, 9 November 2012

An Introduction to the Trees

When I decided to start this project, I had a hard time sourcing trees that would be sold when tiny. It seems that most nurseries want to ship trees that are ready to bear fruit the year after they are planted. It took a lot of work to find someone selling young trees that could be trained. When I found Siloam Orchards, I basically told them to ship me whatever trees would work best, and trusted their judgement.

I drove past their driveway twice while looking for this sign - Its not out at the road.

They suggested 3 varieties of trees - Canada Red, Cole's Quince, and Golden Russet apples. The reasoning for these types is that:

1) I need different varieties to encourage cross pollination.
2) I need apples for baking, eating, and storing.
3) I need trees that are hardy in a Canadian winter.
4) I need apples that are distinctly different so I can identify them at harvest time.

Here is your introduction to my apples... Shamelessly stolen from Siloam's website. I hope they bloom close to concurrently so the cross-pollination thing works. Fingers crossed.

Canada Red

CANADA  RED   The fruit is medium to large in size, mostly uniform.  An apple of disputed heritage, likely first grown in New England and brought from Toronto, Ontario into western New York state where it was raised commercially as Canada Red. Described as being of good quality for a mid winter apple in ‘FRUITS OF ONTARIO, 1906’.  Skin is yellow background covered with deep red blush and darker red striping. Flesh is whitish with green or yellow tinting, firm, crisp, juicy an fine grained. Late fall harvest. 

 Another apple website has an even better description with a picture. Here's a link: Adam's Apples - Canada Red

So it looks like the Canada red could be a Rousseau - or not. It doesn't really matter to me, I just want nice red apples. Also, some sites I read said that this variety is prone to crop failure if the soil isn't right and the weather is wrong. Sounds like it could be a little finicky. All I can do is cross my fingers and hope for the best at this point.

Cole's Quince

COLE’S QUINCE  From Cornish, Maine , as early as 1806.  Also known as Pear Apple or Quince Apple due to its high quince or pear flavor and aroma. Raised by Captain Henry Cole, and described by his son S.W. Cole in his text “American Fruit Book”, in 1849. A summer apple ripening in August, used for culinary purposes when ripening and dessert when fully tree ripened. Yellow skin that may have a sunny side red flush, yellowish white flesh that is mildly acidic, crisp, tender, juicy. Small to medium size, somewhat flat and ribbed. 

Here is another description with a picture from a seller in the US. I have no affiliation with them. I just found this as an early hit on google. Cole's Quince at Fedco Seeds

Cole's Quince looks cool because its an apple that tastes kind of like a pear, except that it tastes like an apple. I love weird stuff, so it fits nicely. I hope they are tasty.

Golden Russet

GOLDEN  RUSSET  RUSSET VARIETY      The most famous of the russets; when most speak of russets they mean this one and are often unaware of the others in the large russet family. This is of American origin, a seedling of English Russet, known in the 1800’s and likely earlier, possibly originating in Burlington County, New Jersey in the 1700’s. One of the latest to fully tree ripen in October, notable for its storage ability. It can keep all winter in cold storage. It may shrivel in storage yet retain good flavor. The mistake is often made in harvesting Golden Russet too early; it must be left to hang on the tree almost as late as possible, and provided with humidity in storage to prevent breakdown and shriveling. Excellent for eating and prized as a cider variety, known to produce a hard cider of up to 7% alcohol due to its high sugar content (hic!); also good for drying. The skin is the typical russet, a  greenish yellow background with a covering of bronze / copper/ orange coloring. The flesh is fine grained, crisp and sugary. Some resistance to apple scab.

The Nova Scotia Apples website has some good info on the Golden Russet here: NS Apples - Golden Russet

My Dad used to buy Russet apples whenever he saw them, almost like they were a delicacy or something. Lately I haven't seen them in stores, which is too bad. Their leathery skin and sharp taste were part of autumn for me as a kid. I think its funny that almost every website I have found them on lists them as a good choice for making strong cider. Hmmmm. Maybe a distillery can be incorporated into the espalier plans.

Once the plants are planted, more photos will follow.

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