Foliage Friday: Malus domestica ‘Newtown Pippin’

Today’s Foliage Friday is more aptly titled a Fruit Friday, because the plant of the week is the Malus domestica, aka the apple tree. Specifically, I want to talk about a variety of Malus domestica called Newtown Pippin.

This is one of the apple varieties I harvested last weekend at the Village Harvest apple harvest. They also grow this variety in the Gamble Garden. The Newtown Pippin is possibly my favorite apple (along with McIntosh), but you can’t buy it in most grocery stores. Why not?

The Newtown Pippin, reportedly, comes from a chance seedling that sprouted up in place formerly known as Newtown in the state of New York. A “pip” is the seed of a fruit, and “pippin,” therefore, means an apple grown from seed. It is one of the first apple varieties commercially cultivated, dating back to the 1600s.

The Newtown Pippin is an all-around great apple. The trees are very productive. The fruit has a green/yellow skin color with russetting around the top. Some people think the russetting looks ugly, but I like it’s rustic quality. The apple also has a squatter, more ovoid shape than your typical apple. The flesh is crisp and firm (exactly how I like my apples), and the taste is not too sweet, not too tart. The fruit has a good storage life. It is great for eating fresh, and is good for making desserts, sauces, and cider. Rumor has it, Martinelli’s buys 85% of the Newtown Pippins grown in California to put in their sparkling cider.

Unfortunately for the Newtown Pippin, the Granny Smith apple came along with it’s shiny smooth green skin and rounder shape, and replaced the Newtown Pippin on most grocery store shelves. The Granny Smith apple is also a fine apple, but I think there should be room for both apple varieties. Get rid of the Red Delicious and the Galas. Blech. Bring back the Newtown Pippin!