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Northern Spy apples

Does anybody grow these? My mom and her siblings talked about how they were one of the best apples on the farm where they grew up. When my mom died I wanted to plant a Northern Spy apple tree in her memory and found and ordered one. The grower said it takes 6-8 years before they produce fruit but with a more vigorous semi-dwarf root stock that I'm getting it'll be on the 6 year side of that estimate. still, that's double what other trees take. I suspect that could be why you don't see these apples around much anymore. thoughts?

Does anyone have nut trees? My former neighbor planted about 6 walnut trees when he was in his 60's and had already suffered a stroke and a few heart attacks. He said they're not for me. I'm guessing it was the same reasoning. it would be years until they produced.
 
Trudy Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abe Lincoln
I've grown them, and they're the best tart, crisp pie apple in the world. Unfortunately, they often fruit heavily only every other year. Ours were virtually pest-free for some reason. Anyone wanting one can check with the preservation orchard people at Sturbridge Village, MA. They used to grow these and dozens of other heirloom varieties. Good luck!
 
Live as though you'd die tomorrow. Learn as though you would live forever.
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I try to always use northern spy for tarts and pies.There the best.I had apple trees in my last house but they were in bad shape and required too much spraying,pruning and farting around with to bother.I tried and failed to bring them back.Never got an edible apple offa them.
I can get spys here no problem for eating and baking.Good luck growing them.Planting a tree in memory of a loved one is wonderfull.Hopefully the spirit will help you choose the right one.
Mavis
 
I LIVE in the garden ,I sleep in the house
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We have Prairie Spy, Honeygold and Haralred apple trees in our yard. The Prairie Spy did take longer to produce than the others. The commercial orchards tend to go with varieties that ship well (ie aren't easily bruised) and store well (even if they taste rather like moist styrofoam) and they need varieties with fruit that ripens at the same time with the traditional "apple" shape. Many of the heirloom type trees don't measure up to commercial standards, but they sure seem to taste better..hard to say if it is because we grow organic or due to the variety of apple...
 
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Speaking of apples, they never reproduce true from seed. Instead, you'll almost always get a genetic throwback to something like the crabapple. So how did Johnny Appleseed spread all those presumably fine apples through the midwest? Hmmmmmm. ?:|
 
Live as though you'd die tomorrow. Learn as though you would live forever.
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TrudyF,

I planted a Northern Spy apple tree in a place I had 35 years ago. As I recall it did take a few more years to produce but was well worth the wait. A bit tart but I like to eat tart apples and boy were they good in pies. :^O

Peterfoss,

I have always wondered about the apple seed thing too. ?:|
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LAUS DEO, Where ever I go, there I am. ..... major at nwi dot net ..... Zone 6a, Eastern Washington, sagebrush high desert, Columbia plateau.
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I have wondered about Johnny too.
 
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My dad grows Northern Spy in is orchard. They are great. It's true you don't find many any more. As for walnut trees, they do take forever and not worth it unless you plan to harvest the nuts--are you talking about black walnuts?
They also make a mess in your yard and attract squirrels.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

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I was happy to see so many are familiar with Northern Spys. Maybe they're more common farther north. I think when you plant these old varieties you have to accept that they have some drawbacks but their strengths make up for that. Waiting a little longer and maybe only every other year production vs crisp, tart delicious.

Another variety from Mom's farm was Wolf River. I've had them and they are all literally the size of grapefruit. Absolutely huge but not very flavorful. Uncle Fred disgustedly called them a pig apple and said when they needed a new pen they built it under the Wolf River tree. In a catalog they said it was good for drying. Concentrates what little flavor they have I guess.

There was also an apple called Sheeps Nose. Instead of 4 lobes at the bottom like a Delicious, it had just 2. Anyone familiar with them?

My old neighbor planted English Walnuts.

I heard Johnny (Chapman?) Appleseed got his seeds from cider presses and had several nursery orchards going. He would travel in circuits heading west. Like practicing cursive O's heading west. But I bet he ended up with a lot of crab apples. We had a crab apple tree in our city lot backyard growing up. We made SOUR apples sauce with it and Mom said everyone used to have crab apples for thickness in other jellies.
 
Trudy Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abe Lincoln
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My grandma used to say, "Son bring me a Wolf River. I'm making a pie...." Wink
 
Live as though you'd die tomorrow. Learn as though you would live forever.
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