First Crop in the Orchard

This is the first year that I’ve had a crop in my tiny orchard (which is pruned savagely to keep it small and, I hope, capable someday of being moved, for when I own my own land). The trees that have now come into bearing are a Bishop’s Pippin I budded myself (my only success in something like ten years, sigh), and a Cox’s Orange Pippin and a Bramley’s Seedling I bought from Cornhill Nursery. It’s not a large apple crop, and the trees are too crowded — the orchard is intermingled with the pocket arboretum — for best fruit health. It’s a soggy, foggy location anyway. But, I have apples, and here they are:

Bishop's Pippin

The Bishop’s Pippin is a very prolific tree with big, conical apples. I find it a bit coarse, tasty right off the tree but there are other apples I’d rather eat; I like it best for cooking.

Cox's Orange Pippin

The Cox’s Orange Pippin flowers later than all my other apples, and later than any other tree in the neighbourhood. Like most apples, it’s not self-fertile. I’m glad it even set this one fruit, which, if the hurricanes don’t knock it off, we will eat with due ceremony when the time comes. Cox’s Orange Pippin is, I think, my absolute favourite apple. (Other ones I really like are Russet, Baldwin, and Northern Spy. I am desperately trying to bud or graft the Baldwin, without success thus far, because no nursery seems to sell them.)

Bramley's Seedling

The Bramley or Bramley’s Seedling is reported to be the favourite cooking apple in England. I don’t know what it’s like, as mine aren’t ripe yet, but I really liked the description of it. They’re certainly a large apple, even under the adverse conditions in my orchard. (Which grows bullrushes as weeds.)

The above links to more information on the varieties are from this site, by the way — Appleman; it’s a commercial orchard and cider producing farm near Gagetown, NB, with a lot of very nice products. His full encyclopedia of historical apple varieties is here. I think mostly they just sell ciders and wines, though.

Postscript, spring 2012: I just came across another nursery selling historical apple varieties, including many for cider and some red-fleshed apples. Siloam Orchards is too far away for me, sadly, being in Ontario, but it’s a useful resource describing many varieties.

About K.V. Johansen

The author of Blackdog, The Leopard, The Lady, Gods of Nabban, and The Last Road epic fantasies from Pyr, I also write for teens and children, including the "Torrie", "Warlocks of Talverdin", and "Cassandra Virus" series, and the "Pippin and Mabel" picture books, as well as a couple of short story collections and two works of adult literary criticism on the history of children's fantasy literature. I have a Master's degree in Mediaeval Studies, and read a lot of fantasy, science fiction, and history. Blog at
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5 Responses to First Crop in the Orchard

  1. pugmantis says:

    This is so awesome, and I admit to being slightly jealous. Please post updates on the crop – AND on what you do with it!

  2. KV Johansen says:

    Well, we’re just back from a few days away and found that the last two Bishop’s Pippins had fallen, so I assume they’re ripe. We have a huge batch of apple-blackberry sauce, as we were staying at an orchard, but I think I’ll make a small pudding with my four BPs now. And I should retract what I said about them being coarse. They become coarse in storage; in autumn, they’re tart and juicy and fine. It’s been very windy, but the Bramleys and the Cox’s Orange Pippin are holding on.

  3. KV Johansen says:

    Pugmantis: The Bishop’s Pippin harvest has been consumed as strudel. Very tasty, with walnuts and raisins and brown sugar added to the apples as the filling. My four apples gave me enough to nicely fill two commercial sheets of the PC frozen pastry, which is how I cheat when making strudel. For the Bramleys, when the time comes, I’ll have to do something more English.

  4. H. Geddes says:

    Cox’s Orange are one of my favorite apples to eat but unless you go to the Annapolis Valley it is nearly impossible to find them.

    • KV Johansen says:

      Actually, I bought my Cox’s Orange Pippin tree based on literary references to the apple (in Farjeon’s Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard — the minstrel in that is the Pippin that “the real Pippin” was named after). I only ever ate a Cox’s Orange last year, when the in-laws picked up a basket in either Wolfville or Masstown, and gave us a few. Those were probably from the Valley. But, sometime this weekend, we are going to ceremoniously eat our one, very tiny, Cox’s Orange Pippin. And I’m going to make a pudding with the Bramley’s Seedlings. Though I thought I counted four on the tree, and could only find three when I went to pick them before all this snow. Mysterious. Has someone been scrumping my apples?! Or did I miscount?

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