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Blenheim Orange Apple

Blenheim Orange Apple

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History: The history of Blenheim Orange is a bit muddled depending on your source. We know it was discovered by George Kempster (either a baker, a tailor, or a basket weaver depending on who you ask!) in England in 1740 and it was originally named Kempster's Pippin. Some say he found it as a seedling growing along a wall of Blenheim Palace while others claim he grew it in his garden located near Blenheim, England. It was later renamed to Blenheim Orange in the early 1800s, likely when it was sold commercially through nurseries. This variety has many other names, including: Beauty of Dumbleton, Blooming Orange, and Northwitch Blenheim. The tree itself is also known for its sturdy wood and it was at one time popularly used to make railway cogs.

Why We Grow It: These large, somewhat flat apples feature orangey-red stripes over yellow skin with some russet. The fruit is good for fresh eating with a nutty taste and is quite nice when paired with cheese. It is also great for cooking and makes a stiff purée. The tree is highly vigorous but can be slow to come into production, although it has heavy crops once it does.

Canadian Hardiness Zone: 5

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: Highly vigorous, can be slow to come into full fruit production, heavy crops but tends to bear fruit every other year, partially tip-bearing. Susceptible to scab but resistant to brown rot.

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

Pollination: Triploid, requires two pollinators of different non-triploid apple varieties that bloom around the same time  

Flowering Time: Middle, blooms susceptible to late frosts

Ripens: Late September

Storage: Keeps until January when stored in cool, humid conditions

Recommended Use: Cooking, fresh eating, cider

Cider Properties:*
  • Class: Sharp
  • Sugar: Medium, 1.055 SG
  • Acidity: High, 8.9 TA g/L
  • Tannins: Low, 1.2 g/L
  • Taste: Very acidic but also fruity, some astringency
  • Recommendations: Adds a nice balance of sugar and acidity to blends, single-variety cider can be a bit too tart for some

Size including roots:

  • 1m+ Whip: 100-200cm
  • 1m+ Branched: 100cm+ with at least three branches 30cm+
  • 50-80cm Whip: 50-80cm

*Information based on Brix Cider

Quantity must be 1 or more

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