Q. Do you have a list of heirloom apples that originated in Pennsylvania?

I am in the planning stages for a small apple orchard in York County. I want to include heirloom apples that originated in Pennsylvania (especially ones that are uncommon now). Do you have a list of heirlooms that started in Pennsylvania?


I am not aware of a single list of heirloom apples that originated in Pennsylvania, but I can suggest a few references for you to check.

Butz, G. C. Apples in 1895.  Annual report of the Pennsylvania State College for the year 1895, pp. 132-35. Harrisburg Pub. Co., 1896.  In this report, on p. 132, the author writes: "About 200 varieties are recognized by Downing in his American Fruits as having originated in Pennsylvania, including...Ewalt, Fallawater, Smokehouse, York Imperial, Smith's Cider, Krauser, Jefferis and Pittsburgh Pippin, the remainder having more or less of a local reputation."  See link below to this report.

We have several editions of the Downing reference cited above in our library. Editions are also available in Google books and one link is referenced below.

Downing, Andrew Jackson. The fruits and fruit trees of America: or, the culture, propagation, and management, in the garden and orchard, of fruit trees generally. J. Wiley & sons, 1859.

Another recommended book is Creighton Lee Calhoun’s Old Southern Apples: a comprehensive description of varieties for collectors, growers, and fruit enthusiasts. This book includes many Mid-Atlantic varieties. We have a copy in our library. Also, for background information on the issues around preserving apple heirloom varieties, see  Apples :   forgotten fruits : manual & manifesto /   [Brooklyn, NY] : RAFT Alliance, 2010 – this is a PDF, link below.

You may wish to join NAFEX - North American Fruit Explorers - a network of individuals throughout the United States and Canada devoted to the discovery, cultivation and appreciation of superior varieties of fruits and nuts. (link below)

You might also try googling “heirloom apples Pennsylvania” to see what you get. We have many books in our library on apples,  that you may wish to consult, if not here in our library then in a library near you. See link below for our online catalog.

Once you come up with a list of varieties, you will need to determine which ones are extant and which ones are extinct. The Calhoun book is helpful for this, as well as  Fruit, berry and nut inventory :   an inventory of nursery catalogs and websites listing fruit, berry and nut varieties available by mail order in the United States /   Decorah, IA : Seed Savers Exchange, c2009. SB362.3.T48 2009  -- which you can see we have in our library – and perhaps you have a copy closer to you. Good luck with your project.

---- Janet Evans

  • Last Updated Jan 08, 2019
  • Views 276
  • Answered By Janet Evans

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