Pomiferous

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Name:

Pollination group:

Taliaferro

Synonyms: Robertson Apple, Robinson Apple,Taliafero, Tailiafero, Tallifero, Talifero, Tolliver, Highland County, Gloucester White (this is likely incorrect since it refers to the Gloucester White ).

Identification: Medium size, round flattened. The base colour when ripe is straw yellow, marked with a sparse pattern of faint red stripes, sometimes with a pale reddish blush on the sun-exposed face.

Characteristics: The flesh is yellowish, very juicy and “with exquisite flavor.”

Uses: Considered one of North America’s finest cider and fresh eating apples.

Origins: A chance seedling of unknown origins found growing in a large, fallow field on the Robertson farm near Williamsburg, Virginia (U.S.A.) in the latter half of the 1700s. According to correspondence sent by American stateman and third President of the nation, Thomas Jefferson, to a Dr. James Mease on June 29, 1814, the tree attracted the attention of Major Richard Taliaferro who noticed that the tree was heavy with fruit and subsequently obtained permission to harvest the apples. “From this he made a cask of cyder which, in the the estimation of everyone who tasted it, was the finest they had ever seen,” Jefferson wrote, adding that “It has more body, less acid and comes nearer the silky Champaign than any other.” At the time, Major Taliaferro named it the Robertson apple (later erroneously call the Robinson apple), in honour of the property owner where the tree was found growing. The name later became Taliaferro, reflecting the initiatives and efforts of the man who took time to promote this varietal. Unfortunately, amid the praise for the apple, there was no reliable description of the Taliaferro and it was often confused with other excellent cider apples such as the Red Coat, Gloucester White, Nelson County Crab and and Highland County. With the passage of years, it was no longer clear which apple was which and, while some researchers suggested that the the Taliaferro was actually one of these other local varieties, others feared that it had been lost.

Notes: The most recent excitement comes from the discovery of a set of four previously unpulished letters dating back to 1816 and 1817 written by John Taliaferro (a relative of Richard Taliaferro) in which the apple is described in detail and, based on that information, there is a glimmer of hope that the celebrated Taliaferro apple still exists somewhere in the southeastern United States.

Harvest: Ready for harvest late in the fourth period.

Harvest period: 4

Type(s): Cider, Eating


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