One of the things we’ve liked about the new property from the very start was this cool old apple tree. We mentioned it in passing to Lance, a friend of ours who also happens to own the farm across the street, and he smiled and informed us that he’d been up there with his daughter to steal apples every fall for years.
“Now that we own the place, don’t stop on our account,” I replied, thinking that I’d be a hypocrite if I told him differently; we’d grabbed a few ourselves while looking at the property, months before we bought it. We found the giant green apples to be a little tart, but extremely tasty in a pie.
A few moths ago, when I finally met the former owner in person, I had a chance to mine him for information about the place. One of my first questions was about the apple tree. He said it was called a Bramley Seedling, one I’d never heard of. So I went online to look it up, and was excited about what I learned.
The Bramley apple is an heirloom apple from Nottinghamshire in England (that’s also the home of Robin Hood, a fellow with whom I’ve had an obsession for years). Originally planted in 1809, it’s now a staple culinary apple in the UK, but uncommon here in the US. I guess our Oregon weather is enough like its home that it’s comfortable here? It also is said to be mildew and scab resistant, two handy traits in these rainy lands, and a wide branching form- which accurately describes what we have.
The tree had been neglected for years, so a month or two ago I pruned it to take out deadwood and crosses. I guess it liked that- look at all the flowers! I can’t wait to see what it gives us this year.