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Parentage (unknown), Essex County, New Jersey, USA, 1770
Fruit: Bittersweet (low acid & high tannin)
Uses: cooking, hard cider
Flowering: mid/late, self-sterile
Pollination partners: arkansas black, dabinett, ellison’s orange, kingston black,
Disease resistance: excellent
Pick: late season
Storage quality: good
History: IT IS REMARKABLE that a cider maker of this merit disappeared from cultivation and was on the brink of extinction. The juice from Harrison apples makes an extremely dark, rich cider with an exceptional mouth-feel. Harrison is also economically valuable because when the apple is pressed the juice flows like from an open faucet. I have measured the volume as approximately 18 percent greater than Winesap, another renowned cider variety. It appeared in the early nineteenth century (likely in Essex County, New Jersey) and was grown extensively throughout the mid-Atlantic and eastern United States. It was a leading variety for cider production, often blended with juice from Campfield or Graniwinkle apples, from the early 1800s until the early 1900s; documentation from this period indicates that it was highly regarded for cider taste and profitability. In his 1817 publication, William Coxe states that Harrison commanded the highest price on the New York market as a single-variety cider: “frequently ten dollars and upwards per barrel when fined for bottling.” It was rediscovered by Paul Gidez in New Jersey in 1976. Since then, other single ancient trees have been found elsewhere in New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.
INTERIOR DESCRIPTION The dense yellow flesh looks dry but it yields an extraordinary volume of juice when pressed. TREE CHARACTERISTICS It is a heavy annual bearer—a single tree on standard rootstock can produce close to one hundred bushels of apples. Burford, Tom (2013-09-24). Apples of North America: Exceptional Varieties for Gardeners, Growers, and Cooks (Kindle Locations 1258-1274). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.