Friday, April 10, 2015

A little bit of Stark Brothers history

I have ordered lots of trees from Stark brothers.  In all the times I ordered from them, I only lost one, a sweet cherry tree.  And as it turns out, I really didn't lose that one, but I thought I had; so I asked for a replacement, which I received at the next planting season.  The one I thought had died still had one live little shoot that I found later, and since it was above the point of the graft, I knew it would be the same variety I had ordered.  Had it been below the graft, it wouldn't have been any good, most likely, since root stock isn't chosen for the kind of fruit it bears, but for its hardiness.

Stark came up with the Red Delicious apple long ago.  About 30 years back, Byron Beckner, who established our local orchard (then primarily an apple orchard, but now growing peaches), was working beside me in the packing house when he picked up a Red Delicious apple, turned it upside down, and counted the five bumps on its bottom, saying "S-T-A-R-K" as he touched each bump.  Because of this, the fact that Stark brothers started the Red Delicious line of apples is forever engraved on my mind.  

The Red Delicious used to be everybody's favorite apple to eat out of hand.  If it weren't for one experience of mine at Beckner's Orchard, I would always wonder why, because these days, the Reds aren't so good.  But Byron's son, Larry, handed me a HUGE Red Delicious and said, "This is the old standard Red.  I'll be dozing them out next year."  

I took a bite of that apple and thought I had gone to heaven.  "Why would you take these apples out?"
"Because they don't keep long enough."  

Since then, I have not tasted a Red Delicious apple that was fit to eat.  The skins are tough and the inside is bitter and somewhat green.

Ever since I was a child, I have also loved the Golden (or yellow) Delicious apple.  If those could still be allowed to ripen on the tree, as they did when I was a child, they would be wonderful.  However, because they are the only variety of apple that can be picked green, it's impossible to ever find a ripe one these days.  I have a young Golden Delicious tree in my back yard, and it bloomed this year.  I'm hoping I can once again taste a truly GOLDEN (not green) yellow delicious apple.  Knowing my track record, it will probably be wormy, but I'm going to eat those suckers anyhow.

I get regular emails from Stark, and today the email I received sparked this blog entry.  You can read all about the history of the Golden Delicious apple HERE.  I hope you click on the link and read it; it's a fascinating story.  Notice the story told there is written in 1914, and was an old story even then.

1 comment:


I'm a fan of GALA APPLES myself. The DELICIOUS ones are always too sweet for me. But it sounds like an interesting story. I hope your tree yields the results you are hoping for. Fingers crossed.