STAYMAN WINESAP was a seedling of Winesap raised in 1866 by Dr. J. Stayman of Leavenworth, Kansas, and was introduced in 1895 by Stark Bros. In Virginia, it is often called just Stayman, and at one time, was a major commercial dessert variety in the state, especially in the Valley. Medium to large in size, the greenish-yellow skin of the fruit is flushed a dull-red with darker red stripes. The surface is covered with a light russet, and often there is heavy russet in the stem cavity. The skin is subject to cracking from possible environmental conditions, and this has discouraged commercial production. The white flesh is tinged a greenish-yellow and is firm, tender, and fine-textured. The subacid flavor is distinctive because of its tart and vinous qualities. Stayman is a triploid that requires a pollinator and is a poor pollinator for other varieties. Because it will bloom slightly later than many other varieties, it is suitable for frost prone areas. There are 170-175 days from full bloom to maturity. The moderately vigorous tree bears early and heavily, and the growth is straggly with long shoots that have few lenticels. Sometimes, there is a characteristic brownish and roughened “rust” at the base of vigorous shoots. The medium green leaves are average size, broadly oval, with coarse sharp serrations. Interestingly, one-year-old trees grow in the nursery in a slanting direction. Stayman will scald in storage, but the flesh quality will remain high for a long period, and in Virginia, it ripens the first week in October.
WINESAP is also named American Wine Sop, Banana, Hendrick’s Sweet, Holland’s Red Winter, Pot Pie Apple, Potpie, Red Sweet Wine Sop, Royal Red of Kentucky, Texan Red, Winter Winesap and Refugee. There are dozens of strains, including the Virginia Winesap, a darker sport, found at the Garland Orchards in Troutville, Virginia, in 1922, and marketed by Stark Brothers. Winesap was first described as a cider fruit by Dr. James Mease in Philadelphia in 1804, and in 1817, William Coxe illustrated and described it in A View of the Cultivation of Fruit Trees. It was known during the colonial period in Virginia, and Coxe wrote of it as popular for cider making in New Jersey, but there is no documentation at this time of its place of origin. Small to medium in size and round to oblong in shape, the skin is a deep-red or maroon in color with the yellow background showing on the shaded side. Indistinct flushes and stripes of a darker red, and sometimes a netting of russet, overlay the lighter red. The yellow flesh is sweet, crisp, and aromatic, with a vinous flavor. The seeds are brown, short and ovate in shape. Small, folded and oval in shape, the leaves are a medium to round and dull. The new growth bark is a dark-red with few lenticels. A dependable bearer, it produces heavy crops annually and is suitable for cooking, dessert and cider making. The blossoms of the Winesap are pink instead of the white of most varieties. An exceptional keeper, it ripens in Virginia in October.
Eating apples raw should be an aesthetic adventure, from the unforgettable sweet smell of the rind to the crunch or crack as you take your first bite. Some of these apples need to be eaten almost as soon as they are picked, as they can mellow rapidly in storage. Others reach peak flavor only after a period of storage, during which some of the starches convert to sugar, and flavors become more concentrated. Treat yourself this summer and fall to the taste of real apples: no refrigerator scent, no waxy rind, no bland sameness
ALBEMARLE PIPPIN, the most famous of Virginia apples, originated in 1700 near the village of Newtown on Long Island, New York.
Col. Thomas Walker of Castle Hill brought scions of the variety back to Albemarle County as he returned from service under General Washington at the battle of Brandywine in 1777. It was grown widely in Virginia by the end of the18th century by agriculturists, including George Washington, John Hartwell Cocke, and Thomas Jefferson.
The crisp, juicy, firm flesh and very distinctive taste, along with its excellent keeping qualities, made the Pippin the most prized of American dessert apples from the early 18th century. It grows especially well in the Virginia Piedmont and attracted great notoriety when Andrew Stevenson, the American minister to St. James, presented the young Victoria with a gift basket of the apples in 1838 from his wife’s Albemarle County home, Enniscorthy. “Never did a barrel of apples obtain so much reputation for the fruits of our country,” Sallie Coles Stevenson reported.
As a gesture of appreciation, Parliament permitted the Virginia apple to enter Britain duty-free, and the Albemarle Pippin became an important export, commanding premium prices in the English market. After World War I, Parliament levied duties again on non-Commonwealth fruit, and the Pippin’s market waned.
It is difficult to find today, but when well-grown, remains one of the world’s finest apples. Unfortunately, the Pippin is not easy to grow, and as its export market shrank, and food distribution came to be dominated by large chains, it was superseded by easier to manage crops such as the now ubiquitous Delicious varieties. For the connoisseur who prizes a rich, complex flavor and firm, juicy texture, this apple has is all,