Ark of Taste
Autumn Strawberry Apple
Malus domestica v. Autumn Strawberry
Berries, berries and more berries! Some tasters describe a combination of strawberries and apples, some raspberries and apples, and others taste grapes and apples. The Strawberry, or Autumn Strawberry, is a unique flavored, crisp, tender, juicy, sprightly aromatic delicious apple.
The Autumn Strawberry apple originated in Aurora, Cayuga County, New York in 1848. It was introduced to California in 1890 by Felix Gillet of Barren Hill Nursery in Nevada City, CA and sold to homesteaders throughout the Western US. Autumn Strawberry apples were produced only on homesteads and in small orchards on a limited basis. They were never considered a commercially viable apple, due to smaller size.
As The Apples of New York (1905) reports: “ Many esteem this to be one of the best dessert apples of the season. It comes into season in September and ripens in succession during a period of several weeks continuing in season till December, making it desirable for the home garden, but not for commercial use. It is a hardy, healthy, long lived and regular cropper, yielding moderate to heavy crops biennially or nearly annually.”
The Felix Gillet Institute arboreal archeologists have found only two trees of this cultivar in the historic Gold Country of the Northern Sierra. Both of the trees they found have been left to the fortunes of nature, and have survived 100 plus years without human intervention. They produce regular delicious crops without the aid of pruning, fertilization, thinning or irrigation, appearing to be immune to pests. One of the arboreal archeologists’ rare favorites, by 2014 they had propagated about 30 trees that were planted by homesteaders.