Liv Fruitful with Livi Lou! She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden.


Classic American Apples
by Livi Lou - posted 10/31/16

A journey through the orchard can be like a journey through history.  Here are two varieties from Hocking Hills Orchard that are classic American varieties. 

Esposus Spitzenburg was one of Thomas Jefferson's favorite apples.  It originated in the mid-1700s when New York was still a colony.  It is one of the oldest apples I have tasted.  It is a pleasing fresh-eating apple that gets high ratings in every taste test. While it is reminiscent of the crisp-textured apples we eat today, it is more complex in flavor than the modern-day, fresh-eating apple.


I love how we can experience a bit of history with a bite of an apple. It really puts life in perspective.

Northern Spy is another classic American variety.  It was once the most popular apple in America.  The flavor reminds me of the popsicle brand called Flavor Ice.  I can see why it was once so popular.  It fell out of favor because it was slow to bear fruit.  It was used for baking and fresh-eating. Nothing more classic than American apple pie!



The next two weeks will reveal our last apple varieties of the Liv Local mini-series. I saved the most interesting for last.  And that's really saying something since all these varieties are so intriguing!



 ~ Thanks for reading!

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Southern Apples: Arkansas Black & Red Limbertwig
by Livi Lou - posted 10/23/16

When it becomes apple picking season, the trees change color and sunny, crisp fall weather arrives.  Most of us associate this with being up north, but the apple varieties Arkansas Black and Red Limbertwig originated in the south. 

Arkansas Black is a variety from Arkansas that turns deep purple-- almost black--when it is ripe.  The darkest tone is on the side of the apple with the most sun exposure.  It was discovered in 1850 and is known for its long storage ability.  It is a hard apple with a sharp, distinct taste.  It reminds me of the candy War Heads after the sour coating dissolves away.  It is supposed to mellow in flavor and texture throughout storage. It is defintely a unique variety. (Shown in photo below).

Red Limbertwig is another southern variety and it originated in Tennessee during the mid-1800s.  Limebrtwigs are a category of apple from the south that are known for their flavor and the limberness of the tree branches.  The flavor seemed familiar to me, but I could not place it.  In general, it reminds me of a cooking spice.

You can see more about these apples in my video.  Next weekend, I'll be sharing with you Thomas Jefferson's favorite apple variety.


  ~ Thank you for reading!

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Returning to Hocking Hills Orchard
by Livi Lou - posted 10/09/16

It has been a rough apple season with the late spring frost and the summer cicadas.  After a week of fall rain, the first classic October day arrived and we headed back to Hocking Hills Orchard.  Derek Mills had eight historic varieties of apples for us to taste and share with you.

The first two varieties I'll be sharing with you are Grenadine and Honey Sweet.  Grenadine is another red fleshed variety like Red Devil.  Red fleshed varieties are often described as tasting like tart strawberries.  With Red Devil, I noticed berry tones in the flavor, but I felt it tasted more like a raspberry than a strawberry.  However, Grenadine had a mild strawberry aftertaste.  It also had an acidity that could be felt on the teeth. 

Red Devil is definitely the more enjoyable of the two. 

I am fascinated by how the past, present and future are intertwined.  Not only can we taste the apples of the past, but the apple tasted today could give birth to the next great apple of the future.

The second variety is from the 1800s and is called Honey Sweet (also known as Honey Cider).  It was almost lost to history.  Re-discovered in the 1970s, Honey Sweet can be used for cider or fresh eating.  It is juicy, pleasantly flavored and sweet.  Upon first bite it reminded me of Double Bubble gum.  I love comparing fruit to candy and grasping the memories a certain taste can recall.

Please stay tuned throughout October and early November as I share all eight apple varieties with you.  You can watch the apple video by clicking the apple's name, which will take you to my YouTube video.


  ~ Thanks for reading!

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