Northern Spy Apple
Northern Spy Apple

Northern Spy Apple

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History: Norther Spy was first discovered in New York around 1800. It tends to be irregularly shaped and bruises easily, so it is not a popular commercial apple but it is still commonly grown in certain regions in the States today. It is featured in several poems and in 1953 a box of Northern Spy apples was sent to Senator Joseph McCarthy by the Toronto Globe and Mail during his infamous hunt for 'communist spies.' 

Why We Grow It: Northern Spy apples are juicy with a mildly sweet honeyed flavour, although they do tend to bruise easily due to their thin skin. To make up for that, they are known for making wonderful pies. The trees are cold hardy and vigorous.

Canadian Hardiness Zone: 4

Soil Preference: Sandy loam, loam, clay loam. Prefers average to moist conditions, avoid planting anywhere that floods for more than two weeks in the spring. Generally quite adaptable to different soil conditions. 

Growth Habits and Disease Resistance: Partially tip-bearing, moderately vigorous with an upright growth pattern, slow to start bearing fruit and tends to have good crops every other year. Slightly susceptible to cedar rust, susceptible to scab and bitter pit, and very susceptible to mildew, fireblight, and quince rust, but resistant to woolly aphid.

Sun/Shade: Full sun (approx. 8-10 hours of sun daily)

Pollination: Requires a pollinator of a different apple variety that blooms around the same time

Flowering Time: Late

Ripens: Late October

Storage: Keeps until May when stored in cold storage

Recommended Use: Fresh eating, cooking, baking

Size including roots:

  • 1 year grade 100-200 cm whip
  • 2 year grade 100 cm+ with 3 or more branches, 30 cm or more
  • B grade less than 100 cm