Ott’s Orchard
345 Apple Farm Road
Hacker Valley, WV 26222



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Resource of Apple Knowledge

Apples are believed to have their most distant origins in central Asia, somewhere in the neighborhood of South Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan or Tajikistan. Seedlings were brought to America in the early 1600’s.

American apple varieties developed over the years, mainly to accommodate the country’s enormous appetite not for eating apples, but for hard cider. Eating, or “dessert” apple varieties didn’t gain real prominence until the late 1800’s.

The United States is the 2nd largest producer of apples in the world, harvesting close to 4 million tons of apples a year. The largest producer of apples in the world? China, of course. It harvests over 9 times as many apples as we do, at 37 million tons! 70% of these apple are Fuji’s. Fuji apples originated in Japan and is a cross between 2 American apples-the Red Delicious and the Virginia Ralls Janet.

The Red Delicious, in its current form is one of the most tasteless and waxy varieties available, shines as an example of how beauty overcomes substance, especially with the help of decades of advertising. It’s the most popular grown apple in the country, but its days of number 1 are limited. Golden delicious is in 2nd place. Originally appearing on a hillside near Bomont, Clay County, WV it is truly a great all-around apple for eating, cooking, canning and storing.

The Jonagold, a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious, will soon be the most popular apple in Europe. Although very popular here in the U.S., it hasn’t been as popular as it should be, perhaps confirming what some in the apple industry maintain, “Americans eat apples with their eyes”, which is why the Red Delicious is so popular. But that is changing.

An “heirloom” apple is considered to be one of the 10,000 or so varieties that had been named by the mid-nineteenth century. Generally speaking, they are considered to be any variety that is more than 100 years old.