Esopus Spitzenberg Apple

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Esopus Spitzenburg is an antique apple variety discovered by a Dutch Settler early in the 18th Century near Esopus, NY, along the Hudson River. For over 200 years this apple was the choice dessert, cider and culinary apple variety. Noted English author Hogg wrote at the end of the 19th Century that the Esopus Spitzenburg is "a most excellent dessert apple." Favored by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello, this apple, unexcelled in quality and pleasing appearance, is referred to as the first of the apples.

Esopus apple trees blossom in Mid-April with a light pink white flower. The apple's color is a commingling of light and dark red on a rich yellow background with a dark red blush on the cheek facing the sun. The apple is medium to large in size, nicely formed in an oblong-conic shape. The dense flesh is white yellow.

The exceptional taste of the Esopus is slightly sub acid, crisp and juicy. It is spicy and aromatic. The sugar content is high and balanced with floral acidity. Harvesting at the right time of season is crucial to capture the beneficial values of the fruit. The late season harvest is traditionally stored to let starch convert to sugar, the acidity drops and subtle aromatic compounds develop with storage. This is an apple variety that improves with aging and can keep three months or more.

Grown in New York Hudson Valley between 1807 and 1812, by the 1900's, the cultivation of the Esopus apple had spread throughout the United States, where climates allowed. This slow growing cultivar should be grown in full sun (6-8 hours a day) on a well-drained gentle slope. The tree adapts to a temperate climate tolerating cold winters followed by warm seasons.

Once widely cultivated, over time it nearly disappeared. It is not an easy tree to grow, challenged in vigor and health, yet with proper orchard management this uncommon apple variety is worth the challenges. Conservationists proclaim, "An apple a day keeps extinction away."

Currently orchardists are intrigued with the diversity and character of antique apple varieties. There is a willingness to meet the challenges of reviving these varieties, bringing back apple diversity prized by connoisseurs and consumers alike. In New York State, as of 2014, there are approximately 700 apple growers concentrated in the Lake Ontario and Hudson River Valley region.  As orchardists follow the demand stimulated by heightened awareness of local food culture, there is a willingness and recognized economic value to planting Esopus Spitzenburgs and other unique varieties to the landscape.

Apple varieties in the grocery store represent such a minute percentage of the varieties of apples grown. There are thousands of apple cultivars that are commercially extinct, but not biologically. As the consumer, culinary professionals, and spirit makers experience and then request Esopus, there is great potential to move the apple market away from the uniform, waxed, always-availabile varieties grown for shipping and long shelf-life. A rennaissance of historic apple variety production can revitalize our farming communities. Keeping alive the apples of our grand and great grand parents is essential.

Sustaining these tastes for future generations is indeed nourishment of mind, body and spirit.

Showing page 2 of 5 for 29 listings

Pairie Vews

  Chapman, KS

Our micro farm is on a mission to provide a diversity of delicious vegetables and flowers to our community through the Farmers Markets, local restaurants, and stores. We utilize bee and wildlife friendly methods, biodiversity, nutrient-dense farming, and soil health enhancement. (more...)

Paiges' Produce

  amanda, OH

Paiges Produce is 1000 miles fresher than the store! We operate a small family owned produce farm just south of Columbus Ohio. We are members of the following markets in Columbus, Pickerington, Reynoldsburg,Upper Arlington, and Clintonville. We are looking for volunteers to help with these markets, if you are interested please let us know. (more...)

North Star Orchard LLC

  Cochranville, PA    LocalHarvest Sponsor!

North Star Orchard is a small, family-run farm specializing in heritage and unique varieties of apples, peaches, plums and Asian pears, as well as an assortment of vegetables. All of our produce is sold directly to our customers at local weekly producer-only farmers' markets, at our on-farm store, or through our CSA Fruit Share.(more...)

Newhall Farm

  Reading, VT

Newhall Farm is committed to excellence and produces only the highest quality, natural products while using skilled animal husbandry and fostering responsible stewardship of the land. No growth hormones or fed antibiotics are ever used, and only organic sprays are used in our orchards. (more...)

Moon In The Pond Farm and Farm Education, Inc.

  Sheffield, MA    LocalHarvest Sponsor!

Right now, during the pandemic we have a farm drive-thru with an on-line order process. Go to our website, to the drop-down menu "Products", choose ""Food Order Form". Follow instructions there. We have loads of great food--meats, vegetables and specialties throughout the year. (more...)

Midway Farms

  Albany/Corvallis, OR

Midway Farms has a organic, free-range all gluten free local Family Farm Stand. We have certified organic & no-spray seasonal fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, herbs (cut and planted), jams, jellies, seasoned salts, gluten-free goodies, milk, eggs, cheese, chocolate, gifts and more. (more...)