Here at NSO we’re known for our wide range of unique and flavorful apple varieties. We grow right around 350 varieties of apples that are anything from green, to red, to yellow, to russetted, to big, to small, to sweet, to tart, to heritage, to recent introductions, and everything in between! Some of these apples are our tried-and-true favorites that have been part of our orchard for many years. For those varieties, we have large trees and lots of them! However, at least 250 or so of those 350 varieties are in what we refer to as our “trial block”. That means we have one or two young trees that we are trying to determine if we like well enough to plant more of. Flavor is definitely our top priority but we are also looking for texture, disease resistance, growth habits (like spur types and if branches are upright or droopy), breeding potential, as well as storage life. We take lots of notes on taste and keep track of what day we start and stop picking each year to make it easier on ourselves the next year!
WIth 350 varieties to try, it stands to reason that some of them will be delicious while others fall a bit short. We try to weed out the truly bad flavors before they ever make it to market, but some of the “uniquely weird” flavors like banana, tangerine, and bourbon are interesting enough to let the customers decide for themselves. And some, like Knobbed Russet, are so ugly that even we are afraid to take a bite!
The Good (Golden Nugget)
Most apple trees don’t start producing fruit until they are three years old and then we will give them a few years to win us over. As you can imagine, this is a fairly large time and space commitment, but we think finding delicious and unique apple varieties is worth the wait! To help you keep track of your favorites from year to year, we even have a handy “Apple Passport” with 60 of our top sellers listed with space for purchase date and tasting notes.
The Bad (Schell)
Or you can check out our apple page for pictures and descriptions of most of the varieties we grow. Additionally, we host a number of Tasting Events (both a sit-down and tasting hike verson) here at the farm offering currated samplings, tours, and an opportunity to talk with the people who grow and pick the fruit. So if you think you’re brave enough, join us on one of our many Adventures in Flavor events! (reservations are required...these do fill up!)
The Ugly (Knobbed Russet)