By Leslie Toombs
In trying to grow bigger, better, hardier, and earlier fruit it is exciting to acquire and plant each new apple variety as it is released from the experiment stations. While new fruits suitable to our Alaskan climate will be discovered in this way, we should not overlook the historic apples suitable for/the north. These apples have withstood the most difficult test facing any product-the test of time.
The Apples of New York, published by the State of New York Department of Agriculture in 1905; is still considered by many to be the most comprehensive publication available describing hundreds of apple varieties. The Apples of New York, available for loan from the NAFEX library, is split into two (2) volumes. Volume I describes the winter apples, and Volume II the summer and fall apples.
Each variety is described in detail, with its virtues and faults outlined. The volumes provide the history of the variety, known synonyms for the name, and beautiful half-tone and color photo engravings of the fruit The photographs are especially useful, as you get a good look at the size, shape, and general appearance of the apple. The Yellow Transparent shown even had a worm hole in it which I especially enjoyed as this is something you would not see published today.
I have photocopied the pages describing what the book labels as “the four pioneers among Russian apples in America and hope that these can be featured in our newsletters as space permits. The apples featured are Alexander, Duchess of Oldenburg, Tetofsky, and Red Astrachan. All of these apples should thrive in our climate. Even the smallest the Tetofsky, is over 2 inches.
The Alexander and Duchess of Oldenburg may be purchased from Bear Creek Nursery, P. O. Box 411, Northport WA 99157. The Duchess of Oldenburg, Tetofsky, and Red Astrachan are available from St Lawrence Nurseries, R.D. 2, Potsdam, NY 13676.
(*Editor’s note: I will be sure and make room for these extracts in the coming months-and thanks, Leslie!)