It's Apple Harvest Time in the Mid-Atlantic!
The apple harvest in the Mid-Atlantic states lasts from August
to December and peaks in October. Many varieties of apples are grown.
If you come to the area, you may want to visit one of the many orchards
in the mountains. Several hold festivals at various times during
the harvest season and most offer pick-your-own opportunities as
well as fresh apple products like cider and apple butter.
The varieties of apples you should buy depend on what you plan
to do with them. Some are more versatile in their uses than others.
All varieties can be eaten out of hand fresh of course, depending
on the flavor and texture you prefer. Most varieties are recommended
for baking with the exceptions of Gala and Red Delicious. Most people
prefer apples with a more tart taste such as Granny Smith, Rome
or York for pies and other desserts requiring the addition of sugar.
The following are just a few of the many varieties grown in the
Mid-Atlantic region. Varieties will vary from area to area. Please
call the orchard you'll be visiting before you go to inquire about
the particular varieties available at that time. Not all apple varieties
ripen at the same time. Some ripen early in the season and others
A very crisp textured apple with a taste that is more sweet
than tart. It is a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh.
It is an excellent variety for desserts, salads or snacks.
Empire apples have a longer shelf life than other varieties.
They are usually available in September.
Fuji apples are especially sweet with a crisp texture. They
are a good all purpose apple. First discovered in Japan, they
are a newer variety that have become popular for desserts
and eating fresh. They last well when stored and are available
Sweet flavor and a light texture make Gala apples a great
choice for eating fresh or in salads. They are more heart
shaped and smaller in size than other varieties. They are
perfect for kids as a snack. Gala apples are an earlier variety
that ripen in August.
An old favorite, Golden Delicious apples have a mellow sweet
flavor. They are another great all purpose apple known for
keeping its shape when baked. The flesh will stay white when
the apples are cut open longer than other varieties making
these apples a great choice for salads. Golden Delicious apples
are usually ready for picking in September.
The perfect cooking apple, Granny Smiths have a tart yet
slightly sweet taste and firm crisp texture. Wonderful for
baking into pies or eating fresh in salads, Granny Smith harvest
peaks in October.
Juicy and slightly tart, these apples are perfect for pies
and fried apples. They hold their shape very well during cooking.
Idared apples are ready for harvest in September.
Jonagold apples are a cross between the tart flavored Jonathan
variety and the sweet flavored Golden Delicious apples. This
apple is prized for its flavor. It does well when used fresh,
baked or in salads. The Jonagold variety is harvested in September.
Mutsu or Crispin apples are prized for their sweet, slightly
tart flavor and very firm but juicy texture. They are great
for baking, in salads or fresh. They are available in October.
Red Delicious apples are probably the all-time favorite for
eating fresh out of hand. They are also popular in fruit salads.
They are sweet, tender and juicy with a fine grained flesh.
The world's most often planted apple, they are ready to eat
An excellent baking apple, Rome is a firm and slightly tart
variety. It is very smooth with slightly juicy flesh. Its
flavor shines through when cooked, but they are also popular
for eating fresh. They hold up very well in storage too. Rome
apples are available in October.
A firm and juicy apple, Stayman or Winesap apples have a
sweet and slightly tart wine-like flavor. Another all purpose
variety, they are most often pressed for cider or used in
cooking. They hold up well when stored and are ready for harvest
York apples are a wonderful all-purpose cooking apple. Use
them in applesauce, when baking, for fried apples, in pies
or eat them fresh out of hand. They have a crisp, firm texture
and tart flavor. York apples are ready for picking in October.
Apple variety images in this article provided by the free image
bank of the U.S. Apple® Association.