Elaine and I just spent Friday evening and part of Saturday at Vintage Virginia Apples and Albemarle Cider Works in North Garden, Virginia. While there on an assignment from Back Home magazine, we were fortunate to discuss heritage apples with Tom Burford, author of the new book Apples of North America, Charlotte Shelton, who along with her family operates Vintage Virginia Apples, and Richard Marini, department head for the department of horticulture at Penn State.
We have been fans of heritage apples, those varieties that our forefathers grew in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and up until World War II around the country. Sadly, many of those varieties are no longer present in most of the country.
But those varieties live again in Tom's book and at places like the Shelton's. We purchased a Black Twig while at the Shelton's and planted it in our backyard as soon as we arrived home Saturday afternoon. The Black Twig is my favorite apple, it is the best I have ever had for pies and eating out of hand. In four or five years, we hope to harvest our first apples from the tree.
For more information on Vintage Virginia Apples, www.albemarleciderworks.com.