Rhode Island Greening Apple

Rhode Island Greening Apple
The Rhode Island Greening apple is an amazingly good variety for the home orchard. Most of my gardening books report that this has been around since 1650 or so. It originated in Rhode Island.

However, I have one book that gives an entirely different story. Published in 1999, “Alan Davidson’s The Oxford Companion to Food” was edited by Tom Jaine. It says the tree was first grown from seed in Rhode Island in 1748.

All of my sources agree that it was first grown in Rhode Island . The food book says it was first grown by Mr. Green at Green’s Inn where he had a tavern in Green’s End, Rhode Island.

There is a strain of this tree that is grown in western states, and is known as the Northwest Greening apple.

My old South Meadow Fruit Garden catalogs say the tree was once the second most important apple in New York with the Baldwin apple being in first place. This apple was also known as Burlington Green apple.

Rhode Island Greening apple was the most widely grown green apple in America for over two hundred years. It was the favored cooking apple by American cooks for centuries. But, apparently once the Granny Smith apple was introduced to America, it began to lose some of its popularity.

A.J. Downing, author of “Fruits and Fruit Trees of America” reports that the Rhode Island Greening apple was “generally esteemed more than any other early winter apple.”

Robert A. Nitschke, the founder of South Meadow Fruit Gardens, wrote in the catalog that this was “generally regarded as one of the greatest of all time culinary apples, and a top choice for dessert.”

The Rhode Island Greening apple is pretty much ideal for all cooking purposes. It makes especially good applesauce and pies. The fruit is also unbeatable for baked apples. The flesh holds its shape when cooked.

On the other hand, many consumers also find this fruit is perfect for eating fresh. Storage actually improves the apple’s flavor.

The Rhode Island Greening apple is generally large to medium with a somewhat symmetrical conical to round shape. The moderately thick skin ranges from light green or yellow to yellow-green. It can have a tan blush.

The juicy, firm flesh is yellowish. These fruits have a long season and begin ripening in September or October into winter.

When stored under good conditions, these apples can keep into March or April, depending on the location.

This apple tree is readily available from various sources, such as Fedco and Trees of Antiquity. The large, vigorous, spreading tree can experience scab. For that reason, prune the plant so that all parts of the tree have adequate air circulation. Apart from scab, the plant is generally free of disease.

This tree requires another apple variety for pollination purposes. Suggested varieties include Grimes Golden, Liberty, and White Pearmain.

A spacing of 12 to 16 feet is recommended for Rhode Island Greening apple. It begins bearing two to four years after planting.

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