Let’s talk about apples! Apples come in a surprising range of flavors, textures, and colors. What you are able to find at the grocery store is a very limited selection of what is available in the apple world. However, if you have space to plant a few trees, you can enjoy the delight and satisfaction of picking and eating fresh apples off your own trees in your own backyard, from the tried-and-true to the unique and rare.

Older “heirloom” varieties have been preserved thanks to those who came before us, and they are incredibly diverse. Many of these have rich, complex flavors that can’t be found in modern types; often they fell out of favor because they bruise during shipment or because they have an unusual appearance (lumpy shape, cosmetic brownish patches, etc.). These complex flavors make for unforgettable fresh apples, apple cider, apple pies, apple butters, and more. Additionally, in the days before refrigeration, apples that were reliable “keepers” were critical to household food supplies and were kept in cold cellars or other cool locations. The heirloom apple trees that have been passed down to us are sometimes triploidy, which means that they cannot pollinate other trees, but will require two other apple trees blooming around the same time nearby in order to produce any fruit. 

Modern apple trees have been bred to have superior disease resistance compared to older types, which makes for  naturally healthier and lower maintenance trees. For people who have limited time or energy to spend in the garden, these can be a great option, and apple breeders have been working hard on breeding new and tasty apple types.

Here at Reems Creek Nursery we get very excited about apple trees and bring in a large selection to choose from, as they are an excellent choice for edible gardening in Western North Carolina. There is a long history of apple cultivation in this region, and the apple trees enjoy how cool we get in the evenings.

There are many wonderful nearby apple orchards – notably down in Henderson County – which can be a great way to “taste test” varieties.

Some examples of heirloom varieties we have in stock as of this writing: Arkansas Black, Golden Russet, Newtown Pippin, Roxbury Russet, Stayman Winesap (Stayman), and Wolf River.

Some examples of modern varieties we have in stock as of this writing: Crimson Crisp, Enterprise, Honeycrisp, Liberty, and Pristine.

Click here to see our live inventory for apple trees.

Click here to see our Apple Garden Guide.