Heirloom Apples and varieties for Western Washington

This is a cut and paste from a very old website. All of the trees mentioned were grown either on my property or on Verle Miner’s mini farm in Sequim WA. z7-8. Climate zone yardsticks do not always work as his property was at 600 ft. and had totally different growing conditions than my own. 

I hope more people grow old heritage fruit trees and join local clubs that provide scion wood and advice in grafting. My weather zone link! Dedicated to Verle. Somehow I doubt he would approve of the new Genetically modified ones. “No significant risk … Americans already consume food that is modified – 80 percent!

Apples Descriptive KEY T Triploid (unsuitable for pollinating) B (Biennial bearing) Vg Vigorous grower, De Desert apple. * Best Flavor Pollinators
AKANE * Disease resistant apple that produces medium size apples, fine for fresh eating and drying. Early, reliable and self fertile. This is a great apple for the maritime Northwest — seems to bear no matter what manner of spring pollinating weather we have. None needed. This is a good choice for a pollinator for others!
ASHMEAD’S KERNEL * De This apple is a connoisseurs favorite. Relatively un-attractive apple, that is scab resistant and is an excellent keeper. The Sweet-tart flavor is simply superb.
BELLFLOWER (YELLOW)  De A medium large apple, greenish-yellow spotted apple. Semi-firm, great texture and good quality dessert apple. Good for applesauce as well! September – October An old time apple, often recognized for its big spreading form. Not recommended for the Pacific Northwest.
BRAEBERN Nice tree with good quality fruit.
BRAMLEY’S SEEDLING T, VG Probably one of the best apples for cooking! Large green fruit, sometimes flushed with red. This tree is a poor pollinator for others!
CHEHALIS A large greenish yellow apple, similar in looks to a Delicious, except for its scab resistant properties. Soft fruit, but bakes well. Early fall. Pollinates from most  except for Gravenstein.
CORTLAND A medium large apple good for baking, with a deep purple red color. Also used for fruit salads as their white flesh doesn’t brown. Mild flavor, firm, moderately juicy and fairly sweet. Related to McIntosh. Ripens in late Sept. Pollinates from most except for Gravenstein.
COX ORANGE PIPPEN * The queen of dessert apples. Dull red russet apple. Flesh firm and juicy. Superb flavor. Very disease prone and needs spraying. Oct.
DAYTON Large attractive red apple with great disease resistance qualities. Spicy flavor and crisp flesh  make this a great desert apple.
EMPIRE* The Empire (McIntosh-Delicious cross) is a mildly tart-sweet apple and has a juicy crisp white flesh. A high quality dessert apple. Aromatic, subacid, stores well.   Red skin brushed with gold and green. Nice tree structure! Late Sept.
ENTERPRISE A very large red apple that is crisp and flavorful. Flavor improves with storage. Harvests late October and will keep for five-six months. Disease resistance makes this one of my top choices. All but King and Gravenstein.
FUJI Not recommended for the maritime Pacific Northwest. Tapered form, red striped apple. Large, firm flesh, sweet and excellent flavor. A good keeper. Grown in eastern Washington.
GALA Not recommended for the maritime Pacific Northwest. Medium sized apple with a beautiful red on yellow color. Firm,crisp yellow flesh that is very sweet. Good apple to store.
GOLD RUSH Excellent keeper! Great disease resistance make this apple one to look for. Ripens in early November and will improve in quality after 2 months in storage. Can keep for six months! Yellow crisp apple.
GRANNY SMITH DE Large yellow green crisp apple for pies and dessert. Very late ripening, good keeper. Self-fertile but scab susceptible. Not recommended  for the maritime Pacific Northwest.
GRAVENSTEIN * T,B Flavorful, crisp and juicy. This apple is great for fresh eating, sauce or pies. Like the King, standard tree are very large and vigorous. Aromatic Susceptible to mildew! Spartan, Akane, Prima, Liberty
JONAGOLD T, VG Large, red striped yellow apple. Firm, subacid, juicy and great flavor. Resembles Jonathan. Stores well. Often a favorite amongst blind taste tests! Heavy producer.
JONATHAN T,VG A  favorite apple it seems. High-colored red apple, Sprite, Juicy, moderately tart, crackling crisp. All purpose apple, but is prone to scabe and mildew
JONAFREE An improved Jonathan dessert type apple. Less acid and better disease resistance. Very productive! Pollinates from most except for Gravenstein and King.
HONEYCRISP * One of my own favorites! Very large reddish-yellow apple with sweet very crispy, juicy flesh. Excellent for fresh eating and for cooking. Stores well, Ripens mid-season. Great for pies, crisps and applesauce. Hardy to Zone 3!!!! -40 degrees.
KARMIN DE * SONNAVILLE An intensely flavored red russeted apple, high in sugar as well as in acids. One of my own favorites! A cross of Cox’s Orange Pippen and Jonathan. Highly flavorful and aromatic. It is a good keeper as well. Grows well in the Pacific Nortwest
KING Large waxy apple. Red striped, green apple. Sweet and crisp dessert apple that ripens in October. Baking Good Keeper! Large tree. Needs pollinator and will not pollinate others.
LIBERTY With great qualities for disease resistance, Liberty is similar to the Macoun, which is a Macintosh type. Crisp, sweet, sprite and juicy, Liberty ripens in October. Very Red and very productive! Liberty is also a great cooking apple. Mildew prone west of the Cascades. (Rust and fireblight resistant.) Akane, Prima, Spartan, Dayton
LODI B Very early ripening tart, crisp, yellow apple. Cooking apple that doesn’t keep very well. Good pie, applesauce apple. Pick early as it gets overripe quickly. Most apples except for King and Gravenstein.
MACOUN B Great appearance and flavor. Wine-red with gold accents, Macoun’s have a wonderful aroma and are valued for their sweet-tart flavor. Desert apple! Often a taste test winner where it is grown well. Large tree! Ripens in Mid-Sept.
MELROSE  De Medium to Large red apple. White flesh, aromatic A Jonathan and Delicious cross. This desert apple is a great keeper — Stored it can keep until May!.
MUTSU * De,T,B,VG  Not recommended for the maritime Pacific Northwest. Large, greenish yellow apple blushed red. White crisp flesh, more tart than Delicious. Frequent taste-winner in the Northwest. This dessert apple is also a good cooking apple as well as a keeper Needs pollinator
PINK PEARL  A beautiful apple with red flesh. Crisp and juicy. This sweet apple makes a great pink apple sauce. Good keeper as well.
PRIMA Resistant to most fruit tree diseases. Prima ripens in early September, like the Jonathan var., one of it’s parents. Juicy and firm. This is a great dessert apple.
ROME BEAUTY A medium large apple, bright red that’s slightly tart. Widely considered to be one of the finest baking apples available. Ex. baked apples. Ripens in Mid-October.
SPARTAN * Small to medium scab resistant apple. Dark red skin and white flesh. Crisp flesh, excellent flavor. Dessert quality and good for cooking as well. Some feel this apple rivals McIntosh in flavor?  Good keeper! Self-fertile
SPITZENBERG Old favorite. Round, reddish orange fruit with crisp, slightly tart flavor. Aromatic, makes a spicy addition to cidering. Great keeper! (subject to fire blight and mildew)
SUMMERED Medium sized tart apple. Valued as an early cooking apple. When fully ripe it is a good desert apple too. Does well in western WA and Oregon. Gets overipe fast in hotter regions.
SUNCRISP High quality fruit.
SUNRISE * An early season apple that is harvested at the end of August. Large round shaped fruit with a brilliant red color.  One of the best flavored apples!
WINESAP Large, round lively flavored apple. (Stayman Winesap is larger) An old time favorite. Most Winesap trees sold are actually Stayman Winsesap. Poor pollinator
WOLF RIVER Large cooking apple! Good keeper.
WHITNEY CRAB One of the best crabapples for pickling. Not a good keeper.
WINTER BANANA Large attractive fruit. Pale yellow blushed pink. Waxy skin. Tender, tang and aromatic. Needs pollinator
YELLOW TRANSPARENT I originally didn’t even post this apple until two people told me they liked it! EARLY cooking apple. Soft, sour and good for applesauce! Short season and doesn’t keep!


Maling 9 Dwf. Very Dwf. Roots brittle, trees need staking forever!
Maling 26 (M26) Dwf. Very Dwf 8-10ft. As above, but recommended for poor soils.
Maling-Merton 106 Dwf  Very Dwf.
P 22 Rootstook Very Dwf.
EMLA27 Very Dwf.
Mark Dwf. 8-10 ft.
M7A Semi-Dwf. 10-17ft.
Maling 2 Semi-vigorous Widely-used, Gives small trees on poor soils.
Maling-Merton 111 Semi-vigorous Drought resistant. May replace Maling 2
Maling25 Semi-vigorous For standard trees where ample room is available.
Antanovka Standard Standard tree, very hardy.
Ottawa 3 Standard
P-18 Standard  Very winter hardy rootstock  25 ft.

(c) Herbert Senft 1993

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Heirloom Apples and varieties for Western Washington — 12 Comments

  1. We have bought Honeycrisp apples from Christiansons in Skagit County. From your website, we like to hear that they grow well here in the N West of Washington. Great!

    We like Pink Lady (organic is a plus) apples. I buy the apples at Costco.
    I eat them in a Waldorf salad. They are a perfect apple. We also like to make cider from any apple that we have.
    Can I grow those apples also in my orchard?
    We live on Fidalgo Island, the first island of the San Juan Islands.
    I appreciate your response and I would like to talk to you in an email.


    • I believe some people are growing them here in Sequim so it should be about the same for you.

      1. Wind protection needed.
      2. Pollinator needed. Graft on some other early blooming varieties.
      3. Perhaps not enough heat degree units on Fidalgo. Fox island/Tacoma they do fine. We simply have too much maritime night cooling IMO. The parent Macon apple does fine of course.


      Check with the fruit tree supplier and ask about the heat degree issue. Many of the new apples like Gala will not do well here.

      There also is a Northwest Fruit Tree Growers Association that you can check out. Sure the San Juan’s have some members.

  2. Hello,
    Many years ago we lived in Lakebay, WA on a finger of the Olympic Peninsula. We owned a small homestead that was first built in the early 1900’s. There was a large, old but thriving, Washington King apple tree that yielded an abundance of sweet, crisp, highly flavorful apples that were good for eating, apple cider, pies and crisps, applesauce – and kept very well. I have never found this type of apple again but would like to buy a tree. Do you have any information regarding this heirloom apple?
    Thank you for your help!

    • Hi Dawn. Yes I remember that apple. Sadly, that with many others seems to be dying off unless you can find it in a local Heirloom fruit tree club. Locally, I just finished talking with a local grower (organic) who has some old varieties. Was unable to get scion wood and considering the age of these guys … these farms will soon disappear into more tract homes. Sad.

    • Kaijas in Chehalis, Wa. sold them this year. I believe they are sold out but I know they get their bareroots from Raintree Nursery so you could see if they have any or put in an order for a fall shipment. Also, Stark Bros and Trees of Antiquity are top notch bareroot and potted tree sellers. My husband bought this for me for Valentines Day (because that’s the kind of girl I am) when he saw it because I too was harvesting apples from a tree that must be 40 years old on a rental propery we lived on in Oakville, Wa 5 years ago. I too made apple butter, apple sauce, pie filling and cider from it. Great all purpose apple. Hope this helps.

      • Thank you Heather,

        I cannot speak to most suppliers but I do think Stark Bros. offers some unusual fruit trees and the trees have always come in fine.

    • Hello Dawn, I bought a place in Home, WA, next to Lakebay, that has an orchard. One of the trees is supposedly a Tompkins King. My guess is that it was planted in the ’70’s. It’s not a huge tree, so I’m sure it’s not the same one. You are welcome to come take scion wood if you’d like.

      BTW, there is also a very large and unusual pear tree. I think it might be a Kieffer pear. Hoping to have it ID’d somewhere.

  3. This WWFRF (Research Foundation) has some great links.

    Fruit tree suppliers and other links as well.

    Fruit tree ripening E Early, M Mid, L Late.
    BEST EATERS for flavor
    Honeycrisp, Holsein M Cox, Macoun, Rubinette ML Cox, Esopus Spitzenburg L. Jonagold.

    Gravenstein, (problems) Elstar EM, Karmijn de Sonnaville M Cox, Jonagold, Belle de Boskoop. Bramleys is also in there.

    LAID BACK Orchardist – Easy care, disease resistant and good yields.
    Williams Pride, Akane EM Liberty M (mildew) Spartan ML, Enterprise L
    Sunrise E, Chehalis M (mildew)

    Karmijn de Sonnavilel ML, Melrose L, Braeburn VL.

  4. There are many, many old apple trees on Orcas Island. Probably on Lopez and San Juan Island as well. Owners may allow propagation from their trees if asked.

  5. I recently moved to a Sequim property with more than a dozen apple trees of unknown varieties. I’d love to know what they are, would you be able to help if I brought you apples?

    • Hi Ellen, I probably could ID a few of the trees, but you would do better to photograph them, whole and halved so the core and seed is shown.
      Bring to the local fruit tree society. Olympic Orchard Society. They usually have a Fall show at Carrie Blake … not sure about this year with COVID.
      But it is full of knowledgeable fruit growing fiends and usually display over a 100 fruit varieties every year.

      You certainly can come by and drop off an apple or two for me to take a stab at it. Good nurseries like the one at Sunny Farm might also be helpful.

  6. I first moved to Sequim four years ago and am (over)filling a two acre former cow pasture with as many different kinds of trees and berries as I can (probably far too many already and counting). Discovered your site when considering whether to add Gravenstein to my Rosy Glow, Ellison, Honeycrisp, Beni Shogun Fuji, Akane and Sansa plus a bunch of crabapples. I’d already established that my Dolgo would pollinate the Gravenstein, and your chart notes that my Akane will as well, so I may have my required triploid pollinators. Appreciate the tips.

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