GOT CIDER TREES?
And scion wood, too, for specialty grafting.
Roots & Branches - Iron Root Orchards
Iron Root Orchards is part of our fourth generation, 109-year-old legacy orchard, run by us, Jim and Sandee Freese, and our son, Shea. It is located in Omak, Washington, where some of the finest apples in the world are grown.
Several years ago, Shea began to preserve and propagate heirloom varieties not only to protect them from extinction, but also to provide heirloom apples and trees for the production of hard cider. Shea was also the one to name our heirloom apple orchard:
"Iron" was chosen because it signifies the tenacity and strength that our pioneer family exhibited to start and keep the orchard operating to this day. It also represents an old anvil manufactured in the mid 1800's - Grandfather, Burr Breshears, used this anvil to forge and fix some of his farming tools, and it is still being used in the same barn where Burr used it. (Also, it so happens that this anvil was manufactured in England, the Queen Country of cider making!)
"Root" was chosen because it represents the legacy of ancient trees that had to send their roots deep in order to withstand the hardships of bark-chilling cold winters and sweltering hot summers to become genetic progenitors.
These words represent strong characteristics, and these characteristics are what has helped Iron Root Orchards propagate over 300 heirloom apple varieties which will, in turn, produce their own apples with specific characteristics for making outstanding ciders, brandies, and desserts!
These genetics await those entrepreneurs who see the value of growing sweet, bittersweet, sharp and bittersharp varieties. With more than 100 years of combined experience, Iron Root Orchards is here to meet your heirloom nursery and scion wood needs!
We have managed to garner some wonderful heirloom specimens. All the trees are good for cider, and many are good for fresh eating and desserts. It is amazing that some of these genetics have managed to live so long!
While reading their descriptions, be sure to notice how old some of these genetics are! Considering that most of us don't even know our ancestors beyond our great-grandparents, owning trees that have endured many generations is so fascinating to think about! (What was going on in the world when they were first propagated? What wars were being fought? What diseases were rampaging? What did the towns look like in that era? Oh, my mind can conjure up so many scenarios! Anyway, you get my point: these trees are treasure troves! These trees truly have "iron roots.")
HERE ARE A FEW VARIETIES...
...but we have hundreds of possibilities (trees or scion wood for grafting)!
An EXTRAORDINARY cider apple. Harrison was, not too long ago, thought lost to the world. Producing an amber juice of a very rich nature with an extraordinary mouth feel, this apple is a true American treasure! This tree is a very reliable annual producer, setting HUGE crops.
A fantastic juicer with volumes exceeding that of Winesap, a legendary cider apple on its own. This tree is a must-have for any commercial or home cider maker possessing sugar, tannin, and acidity. Harrison is a poster child for why these and all Heritage apples must be preserved. Salud!
The richly flavored Pumpkin Russet was the favored baking apple in the Northeast, New England in particular, due to its excellent culinary abilities and good storage qualities.
First recorded in 1832, from someplace in New England.
This apple works great in pies, fresh eating, hard cider and more! Vigorous growth and a spreading habit, Pumpkin Russet is a slightly bi-annual tree.
COX ORANGE PIPPIN
Cox Orange Pippin is THE quintessential British dessert apple. A true treasure in the UK, there is a growing cult-like following of this apple here in the United States. People wait in a slavering Pavlovian state of high anxiety for this gem to come off the tree, proudly calling themselves ‘Coxomaniacs.’
The flavor is a pronounced tropical fruit, ripe clementine, spicy and nutty deliciousness! A slightly bi-annual producer, she will need a bit of care. Cox is a premium dessert apple through and through.
This large apple is "lovely to look at and delightful to hold" for fresh eating. This is a cross between Northern Spy and Golden Delicious and has the characteristics of each, but even better quality, being fine-grained, crisp, firm, sweet and sprightly. This apple blooms late, harvests in October, and is quite resistance to Fire Blight. This fairly new variety from 1962 is a triploid, so it will need a pollinator.
A premiere dessert and cider apple, Newtown Pippin is once again making her qualities known! First recorded in the mid-1700’s on Long Island, New York, Newtown Pippin is a vigorous tree with very nice crotch angles, annual bearing, and hardy! She bakes well, eats off the tree well, presses well and has excellent storage ability.
When pressed for cider, this apple adds a distinct Meyer lemony note to the crystal clear juice. For dessert, fresh off the tree, Newtown exhibits a lively sweet acidity that is very pleasant. After a while in storage, her flavors mellow and coalesce into a wonderful, rich, slightly yielding flesh.
This is the apple that really started me down the path of heritage apple preservation. No one ever forgets their first love…and Golden Russet is mine. First recorded in New York in the 1700’s. An exceptional apple for just about everything. A wonderful eating apple that just happens to make WORLD CLASS cider and is an excellent keeper.
In the fall she sports a gorgeous olive skin and a pale pink blush with bits of russet all over. Her bark is very distinctive, also of a lighter olive coloring, with bright plentiful tiny white spots. In a pie she is divine and a very good keeper to boot! She needs a pollinator partner… we use Grimes Golden and Hewe’s Crab.
This apple has also been known as Wickson Crab because it is the size of a large crab apple. It is a quite wonderful cider apple with its tangy, acidic taste which is also very sweet, as well as spicy. Because of this great interesting flavor, this is not only a great fresh taste experience, but it is also considered to produce a champagne cider. This apple grows in garland-like strands. It blooms in mid-spring, but harvests late. It does need a pollinator.
This apple has a sweet, yummy taste as well as being tneder and yet crisp. One of the parents of this apple is the tasty Spitzenburg. This pale yellow apple has streaks of red and it is great for cider, fresh eating, and baking. It is a late harvest apple that blooms in mid-Spring and needs a pollinator.
Long live heirloom apple trees with "iron roots!"
Hungry for more? Gotta buy yourself a start? Head for the Iron Root Orchards page to get more info and purchase starts!