Posts Tagged ‘Lady Williams apple’

Honeycrisp apples, Boothby's Orchard and Farm, Livermore, Maine (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

This will probably be the last weekend for picking late-season varieties like these Honeycrisp apples at Boothby’s Orchard and Farm, Livermore, Maine (Bar Lois Weeks)

THE LIST OF APPLES grown in New England that originated in Australia and New Zealand is short, with just two major varieties each from each country. But they are among the most well-known apples in the world. Three of the four are late-season apples, one of which, Granny Smith, is sparsely grown in New England due to its long growing season.

Find these and other mid- to late-season varieties at your favorite New England orchard. Visit New England Apples and choose “Find an Apple Orchard” to search by map, state, zip code, or variety.

Braeburn apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Braeburn apple (Bar Lois Weeks)

Braeburn is a slightly conical, late-season apple, crimson red overlaid on thin, yellow skin. Its yellow flesh is dense, aromatic, and juicy, and it flavor is nicely balanced between sweet and tart, with hints of citrus. Braeburn is good for both fresh eating and cooking, and it has three to four times as much Vitamin C as the average apple. It keeps well in storage.

Though it was widely planted through the 1990s, its popularity appears to have peaked. Braeburn was discovered on the farm of O. Moran in Nelson, New Zealand, in 1952 and named for the apple’s first commercial distributor, Braeburn Orchard. It is probably a seedling of Lady Hamilton; by some accounts, it is a cross of Lady Hamilton with Granny Smith.

Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Gala is a medium-to-large, conical, mid-season apple, red-orange in color with yellow highlights. Its cream-colored flesh is crisp and juicy. It is a sweet apple with hints of pear, and it is outstanding for all uses, especially for fresh eating.

It tends to have yellowish color early in the season and becomes a darker red-orange as the harvest progresses and in storage.

Gala was discovered in New Zealand in 1934, and introduced in the United States in the 1980s. It has since become one of the most widely grown apples in the world. Its complex parentage includes Cox’s Orange Pippin, Kidd’s Orange Red, Red Delicious, and Golden Delicious.

Royal Gala, a sport variety of Gala resulting from a mutant limb discovered at the New Zealand orchard of W. M. McKenzie, has deeper color than its parent.

Granny Smith apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Granny Smith apple                     (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Granny Smith has been the most popular green apple in the world since its arrival in the United States in the 1970s. Medium-sized, round, and slightly oblate, it has solid green color with an occasional pink blush (New England-grown Granny Smith apples are especially apt to have a pink or sometimes red blush).

Its white flesh is crisp and juicy, and its flavor is tart with hints of citrus. It is good for both fresh eating and cooking, and it stores well.

Maria Ann Smith, who emigrated from England to Australia, discovered the first Granny Smith seedling in the 1860s in a marsh on her property in Sydney. Its parentage is unknown, but it may be from the seed of a French Crab. It was first exported to England in the 1930s.

Granny Smith has reached its commercial peak but remains popular around the world. Only a few New England orchards have had success with Grannies, but as the climate warms, that number may increase.

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks)

Pink Lady, also known as Cripps Pink, has a lot going for it: distinctive color, intense flavor, a beautiful shape, and a glamorous, campy name evoking the grenadine-laced cocktail of the same name, stirred by Della Street, perhaps, in a 1960s Perry Mason mystery.

Pink Lady is large, conical, late-season apple with a deep pink blush over green skin. Its cream-colored flesh is dense, and its flavor, more tart than sweet, is citrusy. It is good for both fresh eating and cooking. It holds its shape when cooked, and it stores well.

Originally named Cripps Pink, Pink Lady in 1989 became the first variety to be sold and marketed under a trademarked name. It was developed in the 1970s by John Cripps at the Department of Agriculture and Food in Western Australia. Lady Williams, an Australian apple from the 1930s, gives Pink Lady its characteristic shade. Its other parent, Golden Delicious, supplies its conical shape.

If the apple has too much of the green base coloring, Pink Lady reverts to Cripps Pink — the apple must be two-thirds pink to qualify for the premium name. To heighten pink color, some growers remove leaves from the tops of the trees to admit more light, or place reflective strips on the ground beneath the rows of trees to increase sunlight to fruit on lower branches.

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'Apples of New England' by Russell Steven PowellAUTHOR RUSSELL STEVEN POWELL, senior writer for the New England Apple Association, will talk about apples and read from his new book, Apples of New England, at four sites in the next five days.

Photographer Bar Lois Weeks, executive director of the New England Apple Association, will appear with Powell on Friday, October 24, at Lyman’s Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut, and will co-present with Powell at the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Connecticut on Saturday, October 25.

Here is the lineup:

Wednesday, October 22, 7 p.m.

Goodwin Memorial Library

50 Middle St., Hadley, Massachusetts


Friday, October 24, 1 p.m.

Lyman Orchards

32 Reeds Gap Rd., Middlefield, Connecticut


Saturday, October 25, 2 p.m.

White Memorial Conservation Center

80 Whitehall Rd., Litchfield, Connecticut


Sunday, October 26, 2 p.m.

River Valley Market

330 North King St., Northampton, Massachusetts


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Pink Lady apple (Russell Steven Powell photo)

Pink Lady apple (Russell Steven Powell photo)

PINK LADY has it all: a highly distinctive color; rich flavor; a glamorous name evoking the grenadine-laced cocktail of the same name; and legal intrigue worthy of Perry Mason, Erle Stanley Gardner’s famous fictional attorney. Pink Lady is a firm, crisp, sweet-tart apple with beautiful pink coloring over a yellow-green peel. The level of its pink color symbolizes the controversy over this variety, as its intensity separates the premium from the pedestrian — even the name.

If you are confused, you are not alone. The variety’s original name is Cripps Pink. The marketing brand available only to licensed growers and sellers is Pink Lady. Either way, it is the same apple. Yet Pink Lady commands a premium in the marketplace, primarily because of its distinctive solid pink color, one of the main criteria for licensing (along with sugar content and acidity).

Pink Lady was one of the first varieties to be trademarked and then “managed” by being licensed to a limited number of growers, or “clubs.” The trend has accelerated and been refined since Pink Lady was introduced, further limiting the availability of new varieties to only growers who are admitted to the club. Seen as a way to maintain quality, control production, and return more money to the university-based breeding programs that develop the apples, managed or club varieties shut out many growers.

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Pink Lady was developed in the 1970s by John Cripps at the Western Australia Department of Agriculture and introduced commercially in 1989. It is a cross of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams. Lady Williams is not well-known in North America, but this chance seedling from the 1930s is widely grown in its native Australia.

It is probably from Lady Williams that Pink Lady gets its characteristic pink blush, layered over a yellow base supplied by Golden Delicious. Pink Lady also owes its conical shape to Golden Delicious.

But if the apple has too much of the Golden’s base coloring, Pink Lady reverts to Cripps Pink (the apple must be two-thirds pink to qualify for the premium label). To heighten the pink color, some growers remove leaves from the tops of the trees to admit more light, or they place reflective strips on the ground beneath the rows of trees to increase sunlight to fruit on the lower branches.

Pink Lady is an outstanding all-purpose apple, good for fresh eating, cooking, and in sauce. A firm apple, Pink Lady holds its shape during cooking, making it a good apple to pair with softer varieties like McIntosh or Cortland. Pink Lady is a late-season apple, not ready for picking until mid- to late October, and it stores well in refrigeration.

If you’re out shopping for a Christmas tree in the Belltown Hill Orchards, South Glastonbury, Connecticut area, they are running a special through December 24: buy a Fraser fir Christmas tree and receive free Pink Ladies! Visit belltownhillorchards.com/farm-market/specials-of-the-week. Call 860-633-2789 for details.

Here is a delicious salad in which Pink Ladies excel. Feel free to substitute with other New England apple varieties, as long as they are on the firm side.

Pink Lady Stir-Fry Salad 

2 T sesame or olive oil

1 T tamari sauce (or soy sauce)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, chopped fine

1/2 c vegetable or chicken broth

2 c broccoli florets

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 t dried thyme

2 New England Pink Lady apples, unpeeled, cored, and chopped

1/2 c fresh basil or parsley, chopped

5-oz box arugula, arranged on serving platter

2 oz bleu cheese, crumbled

In large skillet, heat oil on medium, being careful to keep it from smoking. Add tamari, garlic, and onion. Stir-fry two minutes. Stir in broth, broccoli, red pepper, and thyme; cover and continue cooking five minutes. Remove from heat; stir in apples and basil/parsley. Place on platter over chilled arugula. Top with crumbled bleu cheese.

Option: Serve with Fakin’ Bacon tempeh or strips of chicken from two broiled chicken breasts.


NOW THAT THE FRESH APPLES are picked, see what happens when they enter the packinghouse:


'America's Apple' coverLOOKING FOR AN APPLE GIFT for the holidays for the apple-lovers in your life? Here are two suggestions: the 2015 New England Apples wall calendar, and America’s Apple, the new book about apple-growing by Russell Steven Powell. Both the calendar and book feature photography by Powell and Bar Lois Weeks.

2015 New England Apples wall calendar

2015 New England Apples wall calendar

For information on how to order book or calendar, visit Brook Hollow Press.

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Lady apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Lady apples (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

LADY APPLE PROVES THE ADAGE that good things come in small packages. Lady is small but intense! Its bright white flesh is crisp and juicy, with hints of citrus. Some liken it to the flavor of dried fruit. Lady’s red and green color varies depending on the amount of sunlight it gets; the green can lighten to yellow.

Lady is a late-season apple, ripening in late October into November. Because of its size, festive coloring, and ability to withstand a freeze, Lady is often featured in Christmas wreaths, and is also known as Christmas Apple. Lady is a brilliant sight in the orchard during late summer and fall, cascading in thick clusters.

Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

But Lady first and foremost is a culinary apple, packing a powerful punch of sweet-tart flavor. Its small size make Lady less than ideal for cooking, but they are popular in salads, eaten fresh, and pickled sweet or sour, in the latter case sometimes served with a hot sauce.

Lady is one of the oldest known apple varieties, having been cultivated in France since the 1600s during the reign of Louis XIII. It may be even older, dating back to ancient Rome.

The term “lady” has been a popular one when it comes to naming apples. The classic 1905 volume, Apples of New York, lists Lady Finger and Lady Sweet in addition to Lady, while the more recent Old Southern Apples (2010) lists Lady Skin plus four extinct varieties (Ladies Blush, Ladies Choice, Ladies Favorite, and Lady Lyons).

The Apple Book, also from 2010, describes primarily European varieties, especially apples cultivated in the United Kingdom; it adds Lady Sudeley and Lady Henniker, named for the wives of British lords.

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

Pink Lady apple (Bar Lois Weeks photo)

This tiny heirloom is sometimes confused with Pink Lady, another late-season — but very new — variety. Pink Lady is a firm, crisp, tart and honey-sweet apple with a deep pink flush over a green skin. Pink Lady is an outstanding fresh-eating apple, and it is also good for cooking and in sauce. They keep several months with refrigeration.

Pink Lady, introduced in 1989, is the trademarked name of an Australian cross of Golden Delicious with an Australian apple, Lady Williams. It was originally named Cripps Pink.


We’ve made a few alterations to this recipe credited to Martha Stewart.

Pickled Lady Apples

2 lbs Lady apples

2 c cider vinegar

1/2 c brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

1-1/4 c cider or water

1-1/2 t salt

2 cinnamon sticks

1-1/2 t allspice berries

3 whole cloves

1 bay leaf

3/4 t black peppercorns

1/2 c raw cranberries

Prick apples in a few places with a fork. Bring vinegar, sugars, water, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves.

Add apples and return to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until  a fork inserted in the center of an apple meets slight resistance, about 8 minutes. Stir in cranberries, transfer to a bowl, and let cool. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours (or up to 1 month). Serve apples cold or at room temperature.


2015 New England Apples wall calendar

2015 New England Apples wall calendar

THERE’S STILL TIME to order the 2015 New England Apple wall calendar. Each month features a different New England orchard and apple variety. The 12”x12” full color calendar makes an ideal gift for the apple lovers on your list.

To order your calendar, send $12.95 ($9.95 plus $3.00 shipping) to New England Apples, P. O. Box 41, Hatfield, MA 01038. Make checks out to New England Apple Association. We’ll send your calendar out within 24 hours of receiving your order.


IF YOU ARE LOOKING Lady apples, follow the “Find An Apple Orchard” link on our New England Apples website, click on “Lady,” and then “Find Orchards” at the bottom of the page.

To view photographs of more than 120 New England apple varieties, go to Apple Varieties. For a description of each one, click on the image, or watch our three-part series on New England apple varieties, featuring Chuck and Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord, New Hampshire.

Part two, “New England Varieties—Old and New” includes Lady, and is featured here.

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