When we purchased our farm, we were blessed, and challenged, by the opportunities presented; the greatest of which was restoring the lovely old orchard behind our farmhouse. The main cultivar in our orchard, the Sandow, is a delicious apple, but not well known, and here is her story…
Our dominant apple is the Sandow; a scab-free variety which makes it a good candidate for organic agriculture. It is the namesake of our farm, and here is some information for inquiring minds:
The SANDOW variety began as a seedling of Northern Spy planted by B. Hunter and D. Blair in 1898 at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, it first bore fruit in 1911, and was introduced in 1935. It was never widely distributed, being popular in only New Brunswick and Quebec. Above medium in size, roundish and slightly ribbed. Dull in colour, yellow washed with deep crimson, often with patches of light brown russet radiating out from the basin end. It is crisp, juicy, with a pleasant tangy flavour, sprightly, having a hint of cherry and lingering – very reminiscent of Ribston Pippin. One of the best flavoured varieties to come out of a research program.
A very high quality winter apple which is a favourite dessert appl e of many fruit enthusiasts who have been fortunate enough to locate it. It is quite tart when first picked but after a month in storage the sugars increase and the flavour is enhanced to create the perfect balance between tart and sweet. Besides being a superb dessert apple it is also one of the best for cooking. Cut pieces do not turn brown when exposed to air and, therefore, it is excellent in salads. It is also a good apple for adding to cider blends. Probably its worst fault is the tree which has branches that grow straight up so it must be properly trained when young. It ripens mid October and stores well into May. Like many of the late ripening apples its flavour is much improved after the first couple of light frosts. It tends to be biennial.
Source: The Kitchen Garden, by Daryl Hunter