Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – My First Apple Harvest

My life in appalachia my first apple harvest

A few years ago Miss Cindy bought me 3 apple trees for Mother’s Day: a mutsu, a fuji, and an old fashioned golden delicious. One died-the other 2 thrived. I’m not sure it it was the mutsu or fuji that bit the dust-I can’t remember which one I planted where-and none of the online photos look like the apples that came off of my tree. But I am sure the golden delicious made it and I’m glad.

The road we live on is the same road I grew up on. It was gravel until the girls were about 4 or 5 years old. There are other folks who live on the road-its a mile from my kitchen door to the stop sign on the main highway and there are 2 forks on it between here and there.

When you’re driving in, there’s one last curve before the road makes a straight shot into the holler where various members of Pap’s family live. You know for me there’s almost a conscious thought of ‘whew I’m home’ once I turn that last curve-I’m not. There’s still a little ways to go-but that’s how it feels in my head. Wonder if the rest of them feel it too?

As a child it was sort of implied-you were safe as long as you didn’t go no further than the curve. There were 2 apple trees that stood in the curve when I was young-those yellow-green tart sweet apples made the perfect excuse to walk down the dusty road to the curve.

The road isn’t dusty anymore and the apple trees have long since been cut down for pasture. But they still exist in my mind and every time I harvest apples from my golden delicious tree I’ll remember the bare feet the whoops and hollers and the camaraderie shared on the stretch between home and the curve.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.

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  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    October 1, 2014 at 11:16 am

    I love this website, but there are a few more informative ones as well….
    There is a Silken apple listed, but not a Little Silkie…I wonder if it is one of the old English small pippin apples that
    Judith speaks of in her comment.
    I remember at my grandmothers a large tree, with small green, dimpled apples, she called a pippin. She said it took a bunch to peel and make a pie. They were good, green off the tree, and ripened after they fell on the ground. The pippin is a very old variety.
    Here is a list of apples from the Rowell’s farm here in East Tennessee..
    Lodi….July-if weather cooperates
    Ozark Golden….August 15
    Gala….August 25
    Johnathan….August 25
    Paulared….August 25
    Macintosh….September 1
    Jonamac….September 5
    Red Delicious….September 6
    Golden Delicious….September 10
    Honey Crisp….September 15
    Rome Beauty….September 15
    Spartan….September 15
    Melrose….September 20
    Mutsu…..September 20
    Empire….September 25
    Jonaold….October 5
    Turley Winesap….October 5
    Pink Lady….October 20
    Red Stayman….October 20
    Cameo….October 25
    Arkansas Black….November 1
    Granny Smith…..November 5
    This is an old family business…we love to visit there. Someday I would love to walk their orchards. The elderly lady there, said her husband loved apples and just got carried away trying to grow many different varieties…LOL I believe it!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…sometime I will send you the Apple Meat Loaf recipe!

  • Reply
    October 1, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Granny Norma-thank you for the comment! I love salt on my apples…and my watermelon…and my cantaloupe : ) I think Ed is talking about a different candy apple than the ones that will break out teeth LOL : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Granny Norma
    September 30, 2014 at 8:20 pm

    Dear Tipper,
    I think Miss Cindy is right about the varieties. A good bath in baking soda water with a dishcloth and little elbow grease will brighten them up and let their true colors show through. They are not Winesap. Since Winesap is my favorite pie apple and I buy them by the bushel, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what they look like. Jonathon is one of the best juicing apples, but they are a bit scarce since they’re small and not favored as an eating apple. Barb Wright is right. Salt on a green apple is a treat that you never outgrow, though I’d prefer shaker salt to the slobbered-on block and a Granny Smith to the unripe tummy-ache kind.
    Regarding Candy Apples:
    You have to make them. They don’t grow that way (what a whopper!). You wash your apples, insert a popsicle stick in each and dip them into a candy coating made from sugar, corn syrup, Red Hots and water brought to a boil and cooked to 285 degrees. Set them on a greased cookie sheet to cool. Not to be eaten with loose teeth unless you have a very generous tooth fairy close by.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Thank you for the comment! Ive never heard of the little silkie apple but hopefully someone else has and they will chime in! They sound great.
    I hope you have a good night!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and
    Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    That was such a nostalgic story. I lived in the city, so we didn’t have any fruit trees. A fried of mine has two apples and one pear trees. I got some of his pears this year – they weren’t great eatin’, but I put them in the crock pot with some spices, honey and a part of a cake mix. It was so yummy. It probably would have tasted much better with some whipped cream on it. It comes out like a pudding. One time I used an apple crisp premade ingredients. That came out delicious also. Happiness to the family, and especially the girls this weekend. Wish I could be there, but my thoughts will be with them and the family.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 30, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    You can tell those are like the
    Mountain Apples we use to have when I was a young boy. Mama would have me and one of my older brothers to gather those greenish looking ones and she’d core them out, fill with
    sugar and bake in our old wood
    stove. She called them “Potts”
    apples. Like Jim said tho, we never had to spray and had about
    15 appletrees…Ken

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    I love apples just sliced with peanut butter and honey but the best way is fried apple pies. Mama use to make those and put them in our lunch pail. I was a cotton mill kid not mountain but we share a lot of things in common. Dirt roads, bare feet and community. Our school was run by three old maid sisters and one divorced sister which was scandalous back then in 1948. They taught us well

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I grew up with apple trees all around-ate so many that I could not stand a raw apple until recently. Always and forever loved fried apple pies, however. We had all the green apple stomach aches. I do recall they were not sprayed and grew big without getting wormy. I especially recall a wonderful tasting apple from a tree almost growing up the side of Dad’s shed. He referred to it as “an old scrub apple tree.” Not certain but suppose in mountain language that meant it had volunteered or came up from seed. That was the most delicious apple ever, and I have never seen nor tasted one like it since. This was in the fifties before they started trying to spray or make a hybrid out of anything growing. He actually had to cut it down as it was interfering with his shed and drawing bees where they weren’t wanted. It is a different time now and a different way of thinking. Nowadays folks would almost tear down an old shed rather than chop down a good tasting apple tree. Also, those hundreds of honey bees would be nice to have back. I miss a time when we had that old apple tree! I miss climbing to the top of an apple tree when the cow chased me. I stayed up that tree quite awhile, as it had all the apples for lunch I needed.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 30, 2014 at 11:53 am

    When I was a kid we used to find apples with candy inside them. Down near the core the flesh would change. It would be much harder, more translucent and a whole lot sweeter than the rest of the apple. Candy apples were rare. You might find only two or three in a season. They weren’t confined to one variety. If you found a candy apple, you could gnaw on its supersweetness for much longer than your garden variety apple.
    I don’t see them any more. I’m just wondering if you or any of your readers know what I am talking about.

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Winesap! I love them but they are getting hard to come by in my neck of the woods. I’m not sure why. Does anybody know of an apple called little silkie. It is a very small yellow apple and my very favorite for frying. The peeling is very, very thin like silk I guess.They are ready in the middle to latter part of August. There are only a few trees around now but I manage to get some every year from our friend’s tree to put in the freezer. They are crisp and tart but it takes a bunch to amount to anything. It makes them more precious I guess. Does anyone know of this apple or the proper name? Momma (soon to be 80)said she had never heard them called anything but little silkies. Thanks, Judith

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 30, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Tipper–I’m no pomologist, but I do know enough about mountain apples to assure you that those pictured with this blog aren’t Golden Delicious or Fuji varieties. Daddy had the former in his little orchard and I’m familiar with Fuji thanks to a hunter/friend in Virginia who is in the orchard business.
    To me the apples look like an old-time mountain variety, the Stayman or Stayman Winesap. It’s a tart cooking apple.
    Interestingly, Daddy always said that when you was a boy and young man there was no need to spray apples. He indicated that apples (and peaches and plums) seemed to do quite well and have little insect damage or disease despite lack of spraying. It makes one wonder whether the endless rounds of spraying and associated management activities in today’s orchards is self-defeating.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    September 30, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Oh lucky you to have fresh apples. I’d love to can some apple sauce!
    Wish we could make it for the Festival! I know the girls will do well!!!

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    September 30, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Tipper, I want to thank you for the time you take to put this blog together every day. Life has been especially hectic and demanding the past few months and the few minutes I spend reading your posts takes me back in my mind to good memories and gives me a calm for a few minutes.

  • Reply
    Darlene Debty Kimsey
    September 30, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Your dirt road was one of my best memories from childhood. While reading this, I could see the trees, the curves, the old houses, etc.
    I know exactly what you mean about the “almost home” part too. My dirt road also had a “last curve”.
    Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 30, 2014 at 7:19 am

    I’ll be there to see the girls and the Blind Pig Family perform!
    I think you’ve got the Golden delicious apple and the Fuji. Fuji have a little red spot on them like the picture and Mutsu are solid green. They sure do look good. You can’t buy apples like those!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 30, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Our apples are long since gone! Between the deer and squirrels, (they teamed up, squirrels chewed the stem to drop the apples, the deer waited to pick them up.
    Our apples are early June or July apples, I think.
    We buy our apples at two different places. Rowell’s Apple House at Crab Orchard and Carver’s Apple Barn in Cosby.
    Right this minute I have counter full of Honey Crisp, they were $4.00 a 1/2 peck. We also bought some Gala’s. I cut up Jonagold, Mutzu and Rome earlier and put in the freezer. We were late going after our favorite eating apple Honey Crisp and when Rowell’s ran out we went up to Carver’s…they were just bringing in a load thru the back door to grade as we went in. We couldn’t buy but a 1/2 peck at a time due to them being nearly out and the crowd standing around waiting for them. I have already made cobbler and a single crust pie this year. We love to just cook apples, (fry) with a little cinnamon and brown sugar with a meal for breakfast or supper especially good with pork chops! Love apples in salad and slaw!
    I don’t favor green apples like I did when I was a kid. Too many belly ache memories!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Barb Wright
    September 30, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I grew up on a farm(I still live on the same one) with an apple orchard. We always ate apples..both green and ripe. To Tim..yes I’ve had a green apple tummy ache! We once had a drunk cow from green apples! We used to rub our apples on the cow’s salt lick,which in hindsight seems gross! As kids,we never thought about that. The things a kid will do!!!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2014 at 6:36 am

    We get our Apples from Scott’s Orchard, it’s a family owned business, largest Apple orchard in Tennessee, Stretches from Alabama into Tennessee, they grow over 200 acres of produce each year, best apples around.. neat web site also,, We always had horse apples around, that’s what we called them,, not sure what the variety they were.. Have you ever ate to many green apples and had the stomach ache,, When I was a young boy happen to many times to count, those apples start growing and just couldn’t resist…

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