Author: Russell Powell

Russell Steven Powell has worked for the nonprofit New England Association for more than 20 years, much of that time in his current position of executive director. He is the author of 'America's Apple' and 'Apples of New England,' and a weekly blog, now in its 10th year, from mid-August through November.
CrimsonCrisp (1971, New Jersey) is one of the best of the newer varieties, with brilliant color and crisp, sweet-tart taste. Sunnycrest Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

THE TIME FOR PICKING apples fresh off the tree is fast coming to a close.

Many New England orchards operate year-round or have farm stores that remain open well into the fall. But some orchards that specialize in pick-your-own could close as early as this weekend. Either way, most of the New England apple crop has now been harvested.

Yet in many ways apple season has only just begun. Apples store extremely well, remaining crisp if kept cold throughout winter and spring. They can be eaten fresh and baked and dried and pressed for juice throughout the year.

Growers rely on two main methods of preserving their fruit: cold storage, and controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage. In cold storage, apples are stacked high in bins in chilled warehouse rooms until they are ready to be washed, sorted, and packed. Cold storage keeps apples fresh for several months, into the new year.

Wickson (1944, California) apples are small, tart, and excellent in ciders. Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

In CA storage, apples are sealed in refrigerated rooms as soon as they are picked. The oxygen level is reduced from 21 percent to less than 3 percent in the sealed rooms, and carbon dioxide is added to slow respiration, enabling the apples to remain crisp until the room is opened months later.

Thanks to CA storage and other improvements, during most years quality New England apples can be found in grocery stores year-round.

Apples must still be kept cold wherever they are sold to ensure crispness, and the same is true at home. A bowl of apples on the kitchen table is a beautiful sight, but the apples should be eaten or returned to the refrigerator at night.

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AS APPLE SEASON reaches its crescendo, late-season varieties are plentiful. Get them at the orchard while you can, but take comfort in knowing that there will be plenty of these and other locally grown varieties for months to come.

Here are 30 varieties still on the trees in October at New England orchards, apples from around the world and across the centuries in a wide range of flavors, textures, colors, and shapes.

There are many more. Explore! There are more than 200 locally grown apple varieties described and photographed at newenglandapples.org. Use our Orchard Finder to see who grows what, and call ahead to confirm availability.

Click on the apple or orchard’s name for more information.

Going Green

Mutsu (1930, Japan) also known as Crispin, is excellent for baking. It often turns to yellow when ripe. In doubt? Check the seeds. They should be dark brown, almost black, when the fruit is ready. Mack’s Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Shizuka (1949, Japan) is another large, yellow apple from Japan similar to Mutsu, with a rarer name but more apple flavor. Sunnycrest Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
The tart Granny Smith (1860s, Australia) apple, outstanding in pies, is becoming more common in New England orchards despite its long growing season. Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

Classics

Cortland (1898, New York) is one of the best all-purpose apples. It is excellent for fresh eating, juicy with a sweet-tart taste a little milder than its McIntosh parent, and slow to brown when sliced, making it good in recipes like Waldorf Salad. Its large size and firm texture, traits of its Ben Davis parent, make Cortland good for baking, where it adds great flavor, fewer are needed, and it holds its shape. Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
McIntosh (1801, Ontario, Canada) has outstanding sweet-tart flavor and aroma, eaten fresh or baked, excellent in crisp and pies. It is often mixed with other varieties for extra firmness. Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Many consider Macoun (1909, New York) the best fresh-eating apple, for its spicy, sweet-tart taste. Another offspring of McIntosh, Macoun also makes a great pie or crisp. McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
Empire (1945, New York) has never lived up to its ambitious name, but it continues to be a fine apple for both fresh eating and cooking, tangier than its Red Delicious parent, firmer than McIntosh, its other parent, with a deep purple hue all its own. Butternut Farm, Farmington, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Golden Delicious (1890, West Virginia) is a great pie apple for its large size, firm texture, and pleasing, pear-like taste. Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Red Delicious (1870s, Iowa) is so beautiful it almost has to look better than it tastes. A stunning apple in color, size, and shape, it is good eaten fresh or cooked. Yet this iconic apple is mostly sweet, with less apple flavor than newer alternatives like Gala. Mack’s Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

Red, Red, Red

Despite its bland name, Jonagold (1943, New York) offers much of Honeycrisp’s explosive crunch, with more apple taste. An outstanding all-purpose apple, Jonagold does not store as well as some varieties, but it is now in its prime. Mack’s Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Red Jonaprince (1994, Netherlands) a stunning Jonagold offspring, is juicy, with outstanding flavor. Its development reflects the trend toward ever-redder varieties. Stone Mountain Farm, Belmont, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Jonamac (1944, New York) is another McIntosh red strain crossed with Jonathan, Jonagold’s parent. A flavorful blend of sweet and tart, Jonamac is generally harvested in September, but some remain on the trees at orchards like Mack’s Apples, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Red Cameo (1987, Washington) has a firm texture despite its strawberry-like appearance. Sweet and crunchy, it was discovered as a chance seedling near an orchard rather than developed in an apple breeding program. Stone Mountain Farm, Belmont, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Aztec Fuji (1996, New Zealand) is another strain of a popular apple with deeper and more uniform red color. Its taste is similar to Fuji, more sweet than tart. Stone Mountain Farm, Belmont, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

GoldRush (1973, Indiana) is large and flavorful, a little more sweet than tart. It is good for all uses, and it stores well. McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)

Newer apples

Ambrosia (1980, Canada) is a gorgeous apple, with sweet, pear-like taste and texture similar to Gala. Stone Mountain Farm, Belmont, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
EverCrisp (2008, Ohio) has rich flavor, explosive crispness, and dense flesh. One of the newest apples released, EverCrisp is outstanding for fresh eating. It ripens late in the season, and it stores well. Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Rosalee (2020, Ohio), the newest of the new, is a Fuji-Honeycrisp cross that ripens in October. It is sweet with crisp texture similar to Honeycrisp. Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Cripps Pink (Pink Lady) (1970s, Australia) is one of the last apples to ripen. With their crisp texture, sweet-tart taste, and elegant color and shape, they are worth the wait. Brookdale Fruit Farm, Hollis, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Hampshire (1978, New Hampshire) is a McIntosh-type apple with sweet-tart taste. The Hampshire trees are loaded at Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Braeburn (1952, New Zealand) has been surpassed by varieties with better reputations and names, but it remains an outstanding apple, high in vitamin C, crisp with a nicely balanced taste. Sunnycrest Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)

Heirlooms

Lady (1600s, France) apples are small and citrusy tart. They can be eaten fresh, pickled, or used to decorate wreaths. McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)
Howgate Wonder (1915, England) is best used as a cooking apple due to its large size. Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Melrose (1944, Ohio) is good eaten fresh, better when cooked. Its Jonathan parent gives it more tang than its Red Delicious parent. Sunnycrest Farm, Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Golden Russets (1840s, New York) light up in the morning sun. They are sweet to eat, and excellent in ciders. Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Its large size makes Blue Pearmain (1800s, New England) a good cooking apple, although its flavor is mild. Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Hudson’s Golden Gem (1931, Oregon) has a graceful shape and rich, pear-like taste. Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire. (Russell Steven Powell)
Brock (1933, Maine) is a good fresh-eating apple, combining size and texture from its Golden Delicious parent with McIntosh’s sweet-tart flavor. McDougal Orchards, Springvale, Maine. (Russell Steven Powell)