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Old 11-03-2009, 03:25 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,462 posts, read 21,527,544 times
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Apples, especially for cider, used to be a huge industry. Apple cider (hard that is) was probably a more common drink than beer ever was earlier in our history. It's also very telling, that many, many varieties have gone extinct as it's declined. Many very good ones too. One of Thomas Jefferson's favorites is probably gone (but the others are still around...a small orchard I know of grows some of them for cider, delicious cider apples). But maybe not...there's many old apple trees in the mountains and hills where orchards got overgrown, I've found some pretty good apples hiking in the woods here, but usually they're too overgrown and damaged by wildlife...
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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Last year my husband put me on a hunt for an antique apple he cherished called the Wolf River, known for its large fruit. Funny thing , when we found an orchard that grew them they weren't quite as large as remebered(he was probably 4 when he ate one last!).
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:27 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
... Does anyone know what makes these beverages different (types of apples used) and what's your favorite? I know the season's over, but I can't help but think that next year I may find something even better!
The apple tasting events sponsored by FEDCO at their tent each year at the Common Ground Fair is wonderful. They always have at least 40 different varieties of apples to be tasted.

I picked up a book there a couple years ago on cider making. There are so many different varieties and ratios of how to combine them, that the resulting mixes are nearly endless.

For any one specific orchard, depending on the varieties that they are growing; I would think that they would produce nearly the same year after year.

If they have 20 acres of one variety, and 20 acres of a second and 10 acres of a third variety; then that right there may well determine the ratio they use when combining the juices.

No two orchards are going to have the same exact mixture.

I attended the apple tasting, got this book, and spent that winter really fretting over how to choose which varieties of apples we wanted in our orchard.

I even posted my dilemma here on CD, which varieties I was looking at, and if anyone had suggestions.

I do like cider.

There are hundreds of really good ciders out there.

I have a friend who has four apple orchards, he sells apples at Farmers Markets. He does not have a license to be making cider, so he gives a few tonnes of his apples to a friend who does have the appropriate license. That friend mixes the juices, bottles the cider and gives it back to the first guy who then sells the bottled cider at his FM stand. So even though he produces apples, sells apples and cider; he does not get involved with making the cider he sells. It is still good cider.

I am just waiting for our trees to get big enough.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Way South of the Volvo Line
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Bummer! I just drank the last of our cider again.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:31 PM
 
8,760 posts, read 16,138,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arctichomesteader View Post
Apples, especially for cider, used to be a huge industry. Apple cider (hard that is) was probably a more common drink than beer ever was earlier in our history. It's also very telling, that many, many varieties have gone extinct as it's declined. Many very good ones too. One of Thomas Jefferson's favorites is probably gone (but the others are still around...a small orchard I know of grows some of them for cider, delicious cider apples). But maybe not...there's many old apple trees in the mountains and hills where orchards got overgrown, I've found some pretty good apples hiking in the woods here, but usually they're too overgrown and damaged by wildlife...
There are a zillion different varieties of apples growing around the woods in this area. Every farm had apple trees and hundreds of old farms have overgrown back to forests. These varieties are fascinating. We picked a pile of them growing locally and made a blended cider that was the best I have ever tasted. Yes they're blemished and most of them are small but they sure are tasty. I'm sure some of these trees around here are close to 100 years old. Climb a tree and try a few . If they're good take some home and make a pie or press some for a delicious cider. It's easy and the apples are free!
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:09 PM
 
Location: The Woods
16,462 posts, read 21,527,544 times
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The trick is beating the critters to the apples. If I had the land to do it I'd be collecting them and trying to grow some of these old apples, under good conditions to get good crops from them. No telling what rare or nearly extinct apple varieties are hiding in the woods. I've come across some very good ones I've never seen before.
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:02 AM
 
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You guys are going to HATE me. My farm is expanding at a 400% rate, which is good, but with big equipment on the farm, I just can't have small fields anymore. One of the places I expanded was into an old an orchard. The trees were 12 inches to 18 inches in diameter, so they had been there a long time.

I emailed FEDCO about testing the trees to see what variety they were. I know back in the day grafting apple trees was equivalent to the GMO stuff they do today, it was just fun for our forefathers to dabble in seeing what trees they could produce and what traits they could give the apples. But the guy never got back to me. I was a bit bummed, but life goes on and the excavator went in and ripped out the majority of the orchard. I later found out at the common ground fair that the apple guy had cancer and did not test many trees this year. :-(

I still have some left though. One tree produces a big yellow apple and was the tree we always went to as kids for apples. Its the only yellow apple tree on this farm. It would be intereting to see what kind of apple that is. The other varieties though would be just as interesting. The orchard was several acres in size so someone put some serious time, thought and interest in it...it would be interesting to see what I got.

As for uses, the sheep pretty much get the benefit of the apples. I'm still clearing land, so yesterday while cutting around an apple tree I noticed it was teeming with apples still. I cut the tree down and dragged it out into the pasture so the sheep could eat the apples, leaves and twigs. For them its a treat.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Maine
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I have yellow apples on very old trees and don't know what they are. This was an old homestead years ago. Any ideas?
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:14 AM
 
Location: The Woods
16,462 posts, read 21,527,544 times
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Well, Brokentap, I won't hate you too badly, farming is tough and you do what you have to, to stay afloat...but you should of done some grafting to plant them elsewhere...too bad no one did the testing.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
29,760 posts, read 47,638,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maine Writer View Post
I have yellow apples on very old trees and don't know what they are. This was an old homestead years ago. Any ideas?
There are a lot of varieties of apples.

If your apples are edible then they were likely planted and not wild. ID'ing which variety they are will largely tell you which decade they were planted in also.

Each decade from the late 1700's until now, has had favorite varieties that were planted.

One variety that I planted here [Esopus Spitzenburg] was a favorite of T. Jefferson, though he did not live long enough to see his own orchards of them in production.

The FEDCO apple guy has a few buddies; I have stood in their presence as they have discussed the distinctions between varieties. So I am aware that there does exist a great deal of knowledge on this topic. However I am not the holder of that knowledge.

Fedco Trees :: Heirloom Apples



When your yellow apples are ripe, you need to take them to FEDCO.

There is a scion exchange that I attend in the spring. If you still had a bushel of apples still good in the spring, you could take them to the scion exchange and get them ID'ed. But few varieties will hold good until then.

Also there is a picture thing where you might be able to ID your apples online.

Maine Apples :: Browse by Photo
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