ALL ABOUT APPLES

If you thought there were only red and green apples, think again! At Birnam Orchards we grow over 20 varieties of apples, each of which have their own distinct flavour and texture. We currently farm approximately 92 acres of apple trees, and are still planting more. Varieties differ throughout the harvesting season, so we always offer different types for you to enjoy.

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As a wild fruit since prehistoric eras, apple farming has taken place around the globe for more than 3,000 years. Thousands of varieties are grown in virtually every corner of the world. New varieties can arise through experimental crossing of two or more different types of apples, but this is rare and is usually attributed to luck. Birnam Orchards hosts a one acre "trial block" of apples in which we test out new varieties every few years.

STORAGE AND CARE

Apples must be handled with extreme care, as they can bruise very easily. Remember that most apples (unless otherwise stated) are best stored in a cool space away from direct heat or sunlight. Certain varieties, when stored in a refrigerator crisper, will keep their crunch for up to six weeks. Store apples separately from other fruits and vegetables, as they can give off an ethylene gas that speeds up the ripening process. To prevent your sliced apples from browning, sprinkle them with lemon juice.​

Apple Facts

  • When baking, replace oil with apple sauce to cut calories and enjoy the same great taste.

  • Ontario farmers alone harvest approximately 10 million bushels of apples each year, which is equivalent to 12.5 pounds for each Canadian to enjoy.

  • To produce one apple, a tree must use energy from 50 leaves.

  • An apple tree must grow for approximately four or five years before it produces fruit.

  • Apples are 80-85% water.

  • The skin of an apple contains more antioxidants and more fiber than the flesh.

What's Growing at Birnam Orchards

AMBROSIA

​Available early October. Ambrosia apples are native to B.C., and are low in acid compared to other varieties. With a sweet aroma and juicy flesh, this large tasty apple makes for a delicious crispy snack.

CORTLAND

​Available mid-September. As a relative of the McIntosh, Cortland apples have mildly tart taste and a crisp texture. These apples are ideal for cooking, baking, and sauces because they cook down easily and resist browning.

CRISPIN / MUTSU

​Available early October. This large apple is extremely firm and holds its shape well in pies. It is also ideal for chunky sauces. With a tart to sweet taste, Crispins/Mutsus also act as an excellent snack.

EMPIRE

Available late September. This variety is a cross between a McIntosh and a Red Delicious. Empires are small apples that have a unique sweet-and-sour flavour. As a juicy but firm apple, Empires are ideal for both snacking and sauces.

GALA

​Available early September. One out of every three apples purchased in Ontario is a Gala apple. They have a yellow-orange undertone with red blush. Galas are a firm, sweet, medium-sized apple that are best used for snacking.

GINGERGOLD

Available late August. These apples have a much earlier season than most semisweet-tasting varieties. Gingergold also stores better than most summer apples. With a sharp taste, Gingergold apples are ideal for eating and cooking.

GOLDEN DELICIOUS

Available mid-October. Golden Delicious is a classic variety that usually yields large crops each year. Golden Delicious apples have a sweet and juicy flavour, and they store well. They are best used for either eating or cooking

GOLDEN SUPREME

​Available late September. With a pleasantly sweet flavour similar to that of the Golden Delicious, the Golden Supreme apple has a very light coloured flesh. These apples often have a pink cheek, and are also low in acid.

HONEYCRISP

​Available early to mid-September. With a unique sweet-and-sour taste, it is no surprise that this modern apple is in high demand. Honeycrisp apples are very large and juicy, providing a crunchy texture that many people enjoy.

IDA RED

​Available mid- to late October. Idareds are an attractive, brightly-coloured apple available late in the growing season. As a sharp tasting sweet apple, Idareds are good for eating fresh or for cooking.

JERSEY MAC

Available early August. Jersey Macs are a medium-sized apple with a tart, but juicy taste. Typical of an early variety, Jersey Macs do not store well. Despite their poor storage, these apples are crispy and good for eating. 

McINTOSH

Available early to mid-September. Originating in Ontario in the 1800's, the McIntosh apple is a small- to medium-sized apple that can be used for eating, baking, or sauces. McIntosh apples are tart, but sweeten as they get riper. This variety is extremely tender and bruises easily.

NORTHERN SPY

​Available late October. As a large and crispy apple, Northern Spys are infamous for their uses in pies and baking. Northern Spy apples can be recognized by their bright red stripes and their smooth, sweet taste.

PAULA RED

​Available mid-August. Paula Red apples are a medium-sized variety that can be recognized by their deep red colour. These extremely tart apples can be used for cooking and eating. As a summer variety, Paula Reds cannot be stored for long periods of time.

PINK LADY

Available late October. Originating from Australia, the Pink Lady is an excellent eating apple. With smooth, sweet taste and an appealing colour, Pink Ladies are becoming more popular in commercial grocery stores.

RED DELICIOUS

Available early October. Red Delicious apples are known for their large size, elongated shape, and distinctive bumps on the bases of the apples. They are a sweet, juicy variety that is primarily used for eating.

RUSSET

​Available mid-October. Russet apples are recognized by their 'rusty' appearance. They are very tart in taste and are ideal for cooking, baking, and sauces. Russets are extremely durable due to their hard, rough skin.

SILKEN

​Available early September. This small to medium-sized apple is extremely light in colour with no blush patterns. With a tasty sweet flavouring, Silken apples are excellent for eating fresh. They do not store well, and must be refrigerated at all times.

SPARTAN

Available early October. Spartan apples are known for having a dark crimson skin and a pale white flesh. They are medium in size. With a sweet taste and crunchy texture, Spartans are ideal for eating or baking.

VISTA BELLA

Available late July. As the first variety harvested each year at Birnam Orchards, Vista Bella apples will not disappoint. They are very tart, and can be used for eating or cooking. Because they are an early variety, they do not keep for long periods of time.

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