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Stayman-Winesap cross Stayman and Winesap apples and has become a local favorite here in Delaware Valley. It is Apple with firm roots on the soil of American history. Even though people distinguish Winesap Apple from Stayman-Winesap by calling it old fashion Winesap, Stayman Apple has its share of history, too. Winesap is, indeed, well-establish Apple. It was first cultivated in New Jersey before the Revolutionary War and became popular in Southern states because it adapted well to humid summers. Staymans development is comparatively recent, but still goes back nearly 150 years, to Joseph Stayman who cultivated this Apple in Kansas in the late 1860s. The big, sweet, orange-tone Apple never caught on much, though it is still around today. Its flavors just need a little something extra, and find that something extra by accident! Nine years after Joseph Stayman first purposefully planted his Stayman trees, chance seedling developed that crossed two apples. Bigger and sweeter than Winesap, and with a darker tone and crisper texture than Stayman, it truly takes on the best of both apples. Not only was Stayman-Winesap exceptionally crisp and juicy with an appealing blend of sweet and tart flavors, but it could also keep for months, even before days of electricity and refrigeration! Slowly, over the next 20 years, Stayman-Winesap become available to Apple growers. Though Stayman-Winesap developed in Kansas, it is also ideally suited to growing conditions in the Delaware Valley. Stayman-Winesap flourishes in areas with fairly cold winters, fairly hot summers, and high humidity. Do those weather conditions sound familiar? This is not the climate of Washington state or New York state, even though these states are two titans of Apple production, but it is the exact climate of Southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware Valley. Because of this, Apple-lovers throughout our region are fiercely devoted to Stayman-Winesap, but nationally, it isnt well-know Apple, and it can be hard to find in grocery stores. Stayman-Winesaps roots are strongly planted at Wolffs Apple House. In 1908, just 13 years after this variety became available to Apple growers, Frank Wolff planted the very first Apple trees in the orchard that would become Wolffs Apple House. Frank heard about this new Apple and tried it. He immediately fell in love with it! He plants many, many Stayman-Winesap trees in his fledgling Apple orchard. Wolffs Apple House always grows more Stayman-Winesap apples than any other variety. This Apple that started from chance seedling in 1875 has grown into a very popular local Apple, and at Wolffs, it is customer favorite by far. It is truly local favorite, and has been for over a century!
Winesap is a well-know American heirloom apple, and was a major commercial variety in Virginia during the 19th century. Its origins are unknown but it probably dates back to the 18 century. It has all the qualities needed for commercial production-it is a regular heavy cropping tree with very little biennial tendency, and apples can be kept in natural cold storage for good 3 months or more. It can be eaten fresh but is primarily culinary apple, also popular for juice / cider production. Commercially, Winesap was eclipsed during the 20th century by varieties such as Red Delicious, and to some extent by one of its own offspring, Stayman, which has many of Winesap's qualities, but sweeter flavor. However, it remains a respected and popular garden apple tree, with the additional advantage of having blossom that is unusually red by apple standards.
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