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In Search of Apples

October 6, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

A visit to the apple orchard is a ritual of fall.

"Visiting a local apple orchard or pumpkin patch gives you an opportunity to enjoy the freshest locally grown produce and also help support these hard working families and give them the chance to showcase their farm," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "We are hearing reports of very good apple and pumpkin crops across the state and now is the time to get out and enjoy fresh, Iowa-grown produce and make great family memories."

There are more than 900 acres of apple trees in the state comprised of dozens of great varieties.

You can find anything on the internet, and it may have been on the Orange Pippin site that I came across this:

Top 10 highest ranked varieties

D'Arcy Spice King David Lady Apple apple Black Oxford Opal Grimes Golden Holstein Weirouge Court Of Wick Grenadier

Truthfully, those varieties didn't mean much to me.

Top 10 most voted on varieties

Pink Lady Granny Smith Honeycrisp Jazz Red Delicious Fuji Golden Delicious McIntosh Gala Jonagold

The apples on that list are all favorites of ours. Right now, Honeycrisp tastes great.

Then I remembered the apples from our tree at home:?Fireside. Believe me, I felt a little "old" when this apple came up under heirloom varieties.

The tab was Trees of Antiquity - Heirloom Fruit Trees For Your Home. There I found Fireside - Minnesota 1943:

The Fireside apple originates from Minnesota where it has many admirers. Developed in the early 1940's when the country listened to Roosevelts' "Fireside Chats" which likely beget its name. This large apple is extremely hardy. The crisp, juicy, sweet, greenish-white flesh is not flat or mealy. Flame orange striped skin over a rich yellow undercover. It is long keeping and flavorful. The Fireside aroma often fills the room when left out on the counter for the day. Has shown some resistance to cedar-apple rust and is an excellent keeper. Introduced: 1917; Developed by: Charles Haralson, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. The Apple Tree Guy, Carlton, MN writes, the Fireside is one of the most popular apples in Minnesota.

The descriptions of the Fireside apple trees stress the tree needs a pollinator. Somewhere along the line, I read the white blossom crab apples are good pollinators for this variety. We did have a flowering crab in the yard, and it may have had white blossoms. My mother, the gardener and avid researcher, probably knew this and that was why we had both.

I?Googled Iowa Apple Orchards, which sent me to Iowa Orchards Directory, which produced a map of Iowa originated by Orange Pippin. Apple orchards are pinpointed on this map, which is easy to read.

If you don't have your own apple tree, go find some fresh Iowa apples at an orchard or Farmer's Market. Nothing tastes better than an apple picked right off the tree. And, apples are good for you.

Nearest to us, there are orchards in Fort Dodge, and in the area between Forest City and Garner. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship's directory is at:



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