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Northern Spy
Harvest late October
Season October through January
Quality tangy, robust, juicy, firm
Use baking, fresh eating, all-purpose
“Spies are for Pies!“ One of the oldest American varieties, it is the quintessential baking apple. Overlook the irregular shape and variable coloration, this apple is not for display. A little too robust as a fresh-eating apple for many, it still has many fans who enjoy it in hand. If you live in the north, don't make the mistake of passing on Northern Spy in favor of a prettier apple.

Paula Red
Harvest late August
Season September
Quality mild, juicy apple with a little tang
Use fresh-eating, cooking
Paula Red may be the best early fresh-eating red apple widely available, especially in the northern states. A little like McIntosh, from which it is presumed to have descended, Paula is an attractive small to medium apple that fares well in the kitchen.

Red Astrakhan
Harvest late July
Season August and September
Quality brisk, refreshing taste
Use cooking
An early cooking variety presumed to have originated in Russia, and imported her from Sweden by way of England in 1835, it was at one time avery popular apple for home use. Its superior culinary qualities are its claim to fame. When it has ripened properly and aged a bit it is also a brisk, refreshing apple in hand. This variety has fallen a long way in popularity through no fault of its own, a victim of the cultural shift to fast food and processed food. A local grower told me that in the 60's he had over 400 Red Atrakhan trees and that the buyers used to line up and haul bushels and bushels of this variety out of his market. As the years went by, the lines got shorter and shorter, and each year he took trees out. Finally he was down to one tree and couldn't even sell that one tree's production. If you should see Red Astrakhan, by all means pick some up for the kitchen, but don't complain if the grower doesn't have it on hand. Ask for his or her recommendation on an early kitchen apple that he does have available.

Red Delicious
Harvest late September
Season September through November
Quality sweet flavor; tough, bitter skin
Use fresh-eating, salad
The most controversial and widely distributed American apple. Red Delicious stores and ships so well, while retaining its shiny deep-red good looks, that it is sold in every possible state of internal disintegration. Too often, store bought Reds are little more than cardboard flavored, mealy mush beneath their glamorous skin. Still, Americans continue to buy it more than all other varieties combined. It can be a pretty good apple under the right conditions. Look for locally grown apples in season, and don't insist on a uniformly dark red color, and the chances of getting a better apple will improve in your favor. Many growers are now growing strains that have been developed more for flavor than for looks. Don't defeat their efforts by rejecting apples that don't look as though they came from a plastic injection molding machine. Remember this simple rule- art is a matter of visual esthetics and food is a matter of taste- not the other way around.

Rein des Reinette
Harvest late September
Season November through January
Quality sweet, rich, crunchy, aromatic
Use fresh-eating, culinary use
 Award Winner Another famous French gourmet dessert apple, we don't know much about this one. The samples we got last fall had spectacular flavor that seemed to improve over time in storage.

Rhode Island Greening
Harvest late October
Season October through March
Quality tart, strong, sweet flavor
Use fresh-eating, cooking
Rhode Island Greening, an old American variety that was discovered in the 1600's, is a large, green tart apple of very high quality. It is an superlative baking apple which for decades was the best-selling variety for kitchen use. The complex and strong flavor of this variety makes for a satisfying and adventurous fresh-eating experience as well.

Rome Beauty
Harvest late September through October
Season late September into November
Quality thick-skinned, mildly tart and crisp
Use fresh-eating, sauce, pies, baking
Good keeper, fair for fresh-eating and reliable in the kitchen, Rome is one of those varieties that owes its popularity more for its looks than its taste. This variety still looks good long after its prime, so watch for out of season Romes and avoid them, as they have often turned mealy.


Roxbury Russet
Harvest late September
Season October through January
Quality very crisp, dense, coarse, tart
Use dessert, cider
Dull green, russeted, and rough-skinned, Roxbury Russet is the antithesis of what modern consumers expect in fruit. It was a popular dessert apple in this country for 300 years, until appearance became more important in an apple than its taste. Like most russets, this variety has rich, dense flesh that stays crisp all winter. This is one that we never pass up when we see it available.

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