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Varieties & Harvest Dates - Arranged in order of harvest
Weather conditions often cause ripening dates and fruit availability to vary from year to year. During some harvest seasons, some apples are available before or after the dates shown in this schedule. This schedule shows typical dates and is posted for customer reference, but please don't depend solely on it.
Update March 31, 2016
Peach trees started blooming the last week of March, which is about 2 weeks earlier than usual. If this holds true for apple trees also (later in April), fresh apples will potentially be available a week or two earlier as well. Disclaimer: Of course, we can't and don't guarantee this. Weather swings will potentially affect the harvest timing (again) later this spring.
For best satisfaction, we recommend that you contact us for accurate fruit inventory details before you come to our market, or subscribe to our blog and/or our Facebook page (Facebook.com/KauffmansFruitFarm) for notices we may post there.
Most of July
The earliest-ripening variety of them all and one of the oldest, and still a popular favorite of local applesauce makers who prefer a tarter, full-of-flavor apple with that smooth, light texture and wonderfully attractive light color (just ask older Kauffman ladies like Minerva, or younger ones like Tony’s wife Jody).
Best Alternate: Earligold or Summer Rambo
Late July - Late August
This is a new and improved Transparent-type variety that has "caught on" fast with Lancaster County applesauce aficionados like our orchard manager Ken’s wife Ellen - Earligold is her favorite! We think that you too will greatly enjoy the light-textured, light-colored and full flavored applesauce that are hallmarks of this cultivar which originated in Washington state a number of years back.
Best Alternate: Yellow Transparent or Summer Rambo
Late July - mid-August
A grass green-colored Lancaster County favorite for applesauce and apple pie "from way back" (Rambo was first grown in France in the mid-1500's). They may not be the most handsome apples of all, but the flavor of Summer Rambo apple products will surely win you – and everyone around the table – over quickly!
Best Alternate: Earligold or Smokehouse
Early August - Early September
Easily our top-selling applesauce variety, Ginger Gold's crunch and flavor are sure to please when eaten "out-of-hand" too. This apple is almost as sweet and tasty as Golden Delicious, but ripens six weeks earlier! It maintains its white flesh well when sliced. Ginger Gold was discovered by a fruit grower in Virginia after a tragic storm in 1969 and named after his wife.
Best Alternate: Earligold or Golden Supreme
Early August - Early September
Here’s the first "real" eating apple of the season. An "offspring" of Gala and also related to Jonathan (now you know why everyone loves this apple!) that originated in Japan, Sansa is well positioned for success with its tremendous flavor, juice, and crunch. You needn’t just take our word but can read this article to see what a “foodie” blogger says about this variety. Harvest time of this variety is always welcomed as the official start of "Apple Season".
Best Alternate: Zestar or Gala
Zestar!® (Minnewashta cultivar)
Late August - Early October
“Finally, an early season apple with a crisp, juicy texture and an exciting, zesty flavor with a hint of brown sugar! Its outstanding texture, flavor, and storage life are sure to make Zestar an early-season winner.” So say the folks at the University of Minnesota, who developed this NEW variety. If you doubt their word, you need only stop in at our market in September or October to give this selection a try! Helpful Hint: The U of Minnesota people know a few things about outstanding fresh-eating apples – they introduced the world to Honeycrisp a few years ago, you know!
Best Alternate: Sansa or Honeycrisp
Late August - mid-September
Golden Supreme is the improvement to Golden Delicious that you may have been looking for! This apple features a flavor and texture as impressive as its perennially popular Golden Delicious parent and is a most beautiful, golden-colored apple. Perfect for out-of-hand snacking – consider these reviews - and excellent for drying & baking and for making cider.
Best Alternate: Ginger Gold or Golden Delicious
Late August - Christmas
Gala is well on its way to becoming the most popular eating apple in the United States and there are, website sales staff Ann Fisher, maintenance supervisor Ken Weaver, and deli employee Monica Kauffman want you to know, plenty of reasons why! Gala has a glowing red-orange appearance, sweet & wonderful taste, and an excellent "crunch quotient." This variety originated in New Zealand and includes both Red Delicious and Golden Delicious in its ancestry.
Best Alternate: Zestar or Sansa
Late August - Early October
The Apple of the Future in our opinion; Honeycrisp is an "explosively crisp" apple, one that people say, "WOW" over! You'll love the light, crunchy texture and excellent sweet flavor that are hallmarks of this variety! Introduced in 1991 at the University of Minnesota. Honeycrisp is also a fine baking apple.
First Half of September
This variety originated as a chance seedling behind the smokehouse of a Bird-in-Hand farm in the 1800's and has been a Lancaster County specialty ever since. Its green skin color and tart flavor invites comparison with Granny Smith, but Smokehouse ripens eight weeks earlier. Any local old-timer can vouch that this apple is ideal for all cooking, baking, sauce, or salad purposes.
Mid-September - Thanksgiving
This is a mildly tart and quite aromatic apple that's great for snacking, drying, most cooking purposes, and applesauce - Sam Kauffman's wife Mattie and their branch of the Kauffman family think a Mcintosh + Summer Rambo blend is the way to go for applesauce, and have thought so for decades! McIntosh has for many years been the premier apple grown in the New England states.
Mid-September - Early-December
One of Grandpa Kauffman's favorite eating varieties - he likes them tart and spicy! Jonathan is one of those old favorites that just doesn't go away, and we're not surprised. They're one of the best all-around apples we grow. This variety is especially valuable as a source of "stay firm when baked" flesh for pies and dumplings.
Mid-September - May
The best known apple on the planet, Red Delicious' primary usage is fresh eating. The original tree was discovered on a farm in Iowa in the 1870's. Red Delicious was originally called "Hawkeye" before Stark Brothers Nursery bought the rights to the apple and renamed it.
Mid-September - Early December
An excellent all-around apple prized for its mellow texture, "stay-white-longer" flesh, and red-colored applesauce. Cortland originated in New York State as a cross between McIntosh and Ben Davis over a century ago and its popularity continues unabated, and for good reason!
Crimsoncrisp, true to both parts of its name, is the newest taste and texture sensation here at Kauffman's Fruit Farm! Its bright, attractive coloration invites a lot of attention. But, wonderfully, this variety may taste even better than it looks! If a CRUNCHY sweet-tart fresh-eating and salad apple is what you're waiting on and Honeycrisp is out of season, Crimsoncrisp is the one!
Late September - Spring
Red Delicious and McIntosh are the parents of this variety and Empire combines the best traits of each. This apple has been a taste test winner in our market so it will surely be a winner in your snacks, desserts, or salads and will perform equally well as the main ingredient in your apple pies!
Mid-September - Spring
This variety is, year in and year out, our best-selling apple. In 2010, our hard-working orchard crew harvested 5084 bushels of Golden Delicious in four weeks' time! We have not heard of anyone who's gone wrong in using Golden Delicious for any purpose in which apples are needed since we began growing this variety back in 1927!
Late September - Spring
This very large apple features a mellow texture and a great taste - just what one would expect from a Golden Delicious + Jonathan cross! It has quickly become a popular variety since we began growing it on our orchard in 1989. Try blending Jonagold apples with Golden Delicious or Crispin for a great no-sugar-added applesauce combination.
Early October - Spring
Here's a sweet, juicy, firm textured and crispy, white-fleshed variety that was developed in Japan, where they call it Mutsu. These are the ones for you if you enjoy Golden Delicious but wish they’d be a bit firmer. And, there are Lancaster County folks who declare that applesauce from Crispin apples is the best. You'll enjoy trying these in your salads and cooked apple dishes, too.
Mid-October - March
Discovered around the close of the Civil War by J. Stayman of Leavenworth, Kansas, this seedling of Winesap has long been one of the most popular cultivars we grow. "Rich," "snappy," "distinctive," and "closest thing to bullets we grow" are all terms that describe Stayman's taste and texture very well.
Mid-September - Spring
Unusually sweet and extra crunchy, Fuji was developed in Japan and claims Red Delicious as a parent. This is one of the best new varieties to come along in quite a long while! Fuji is a classic apple for fresh eating and salads and is an outstanding keeper.
Late October - January
Here's the famous green baking apple that was discovered by Margaret Smith in Australia sometime before 1900. The finished product of this variety is always hard, juicy, and tart - it's perhaps the world's best cooking apple!
Thanksgiving - January
Another new variety, one we have high hopes for. You’ll enjoy experiencing this apple both as a fresh-eating winner and in your baked apple dishes. Goldrush is a disease-resistant apple, therefore needing fewer spray applications in the orchard. With its firm texture and spicy taste, Goldrush is a great apple to rush to Kauffman's for.
Early November - February
An explosion of taste and exploding in popularity! Pink Lady is sweetish-tart and very crisp. Pretty pink skin and very white flesh. Really good for eating and, without doubt, a top contestant for the nod for baking's winning apple.
Frequently Asked Questions About Apples
What is the best variety for fresh eating?
We are constantly looking for the "perfect" apple. We haven't found it yet, but we think some of the varieties we grow get really close! Although everyone has their own preferences, there are some apples that seem to "have it all" when it comes to fresh eating.
- I want a sweet, crunchy apple.
Try Sansa, Golden Supreme, Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, Crispin, Cameo, or Fuji.
- I want a mildly tart and crisp apple.
Try Honeycrisp, Empire, Jonagold, Braeburn, or Pink Lady
- I want a tart and crunchy apple.
Try Smokehouse, Jonathan, Stayman, Granny Smith, or Goldrush.
- I want an apple that is flavorful with a more mellow texture.
Try McIntosh, Cortland, Idared, or Jonagold
How many quarts of applesauce can I expect from a half-bushel basket/bag of apples?
What is the best variety for applesauce?
Our most popular applesauce apple is Ginger Gold; however, personal preference comes into play quite a bit on this question. The opinions we hear generally fall into one of these categories:
- I want a thin, smooth sauce.
The early varieties - Transparent, Earligold, & Summer Rambo - supply this texture.
- I want a mildly tart and crisp applesauce.
Try Honeycrisp, Empire, Jonagold, Braeburn, or Pink Lady.
- I want a naturally sweet sauce that doesn't need a lot of sugar added to it.
This category is continually increasing in popularity. Use Jonagold, Fuji, Cameo, Gala, Golden Delicious, Golden Supreme, Ginger Gold, or Crispin. Some of the Kauffman wives cook the apples in apple cider instead of water to add natural sweetness.
- I like a tart applesauce and don't mind adding sugar.
Varieties listed in category #1 are good options. You may also want to try Smokehouse, Cortland, McIntosh, Stayman, Goldrush, or Granny Smith.
Is it a good idea to blend varieties when making applesauce?
We recommend it! Just as the flavor, body, smoothness, and sweetness of apple cider are enhanced by using a mix of varieties, so it works for applesauce. We suggest using at least one tart and one sweet apple.
Which apple is the best variety for baking?
Again, this depends heavily on your preferences. Most people use a tart or slightly tart apple for optimum flavor. Our top-selling baking apples are Jonathan, McIntosh, Idared, Rome, Stayman, and Granny Smith. New varieties that are baking favorites of our employees are Ginger Gold, Empire, Jonagold, Cameo, and Goldrush. Give these a try, you'll love them!
What is the life expectancy of an apple tree?
Our orchards are replaced roughly every 20 years. This is not necessarily so much because of the trees' health, but rather to stay abreast of trends in varieties, orchard training systems, and customer preferences.