Apple harvest has begun at the orchard! This past week we have picked a small amount of Early Harvest and Lodi apples. These two varieties are minimal in the orchard, just one tree of Lodi and four trees of Early Harvest and thus not enough for customer sales. However, it is the beginning of the season and in three to four weeks we will be busy picking our Ginger Gold apples.
While the Early Harvest and Lodi apples are personally used for my applesauce, I really look forward to the Ginger Gold for eating out of hand. This is one of the early “yellow” apples that has crunch, crispness and has a unique sweet/tart flavor. It ripens in our orchard late July and early August.
The Ginger Gold apple is a cross of the Golden Delicious and Abermarle Pippin apples. Under the greenish-yellow skin it has a fine texture flesh that doesn’t brown easily after slicing. The Ginger Gold is a versatile apple and does do well for pies and sauce. Its timeliness in ripening makes it an excellent variety to “kick-off” our “Apple Season” at our markets.
The origins of the Ginger Gold apple is rather interesting. Ginger Golds came about because of Hurricane Camille. In 1969 Hurricane Camille wrought devastating floods to Nelson County, Virginia and the orchards of Clyde and Frances “Ginger” Harvey were badly washed out. In recovering trees around the edges of one Winesap orchard another tree was found which Clyde Harvey recognized as being different. He planted it with the rest but found this tree to produce yellow rather than red fruit. An extension agent identified the parents of this tree to be a Golden Delicious, Albermarle Pippin and some other unknown variety. Clyde Harvey named this apple “Ginger Gold” after his wife, Ginger. It entered the commercial market in the 1980’s. We are fortunate enough to be able to offer this variety to our customers the first week of August. Give them a try. You will not be disappointed.