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Pollination group:

York Imperial

Synonyms: Jonathan's Fine Winter, Johnson’s Fine Winter, York

Summary: This apple was grown commercially through most of eastern and mid-western United States through the last half of the 1800s and early 1900s, not just for its taste and juiciness, but also for its surprisingly long storage capability.

Identification: Medium to large, round and sometimes oblong, predominantly lopsided. The base colour is greenish-yellow, over which is a red flush with darker stripes. Russetted lenticels.

Characteristics: The flesh is yellowish, coarse-grained and crisp. Juicy, sweet-tart.

Uses: A good fresh-eating apple but is also favoured for baking, apple sauce, juice and jelly, dried apple slices and cider.

Origins: History has it that the original tree was found growing as a wilding growing on the the farm of John Kline near Hellam, Pennsylvania (U.S.A.) by nurseryman/clockmaker Jonathan Jessop in the early 1820s. What initially attracted his attention was that children would rummage around under the tree, looking for apples that had been buried under the fallen leaves through the winter, yet were in perfectly fine shape for eating come spring. Keying in on the apples' extraordinary keeping qualities, he obtained permission to take cuttings from the tree which he subsequently propagated at his Springwood Farm in nearby York, Pennsylvania. Initially called Jonathan's Fine Winter, it proved to be a success as both commercial and backyard variety thanks in large part to its keeping qualities at a time long before the advent of household refrigeration. In 1855, it was renamed York Imperial. A parallel story, retold by Creighton Lee Calhoun in his book "Old Southern Apples" (Second edition, 2011) states that William Johnson of York drew Jonathan Jessop's attention to the wilding on the Kline farm, hence the synonym Johnson's Fine Winter, but Jonathan Jessop is most commonly credited by historians.

Cultivation: Vigorous, upright. Biennial.

Ploidism: Diploid. Self sterile.

Progeny: Imperiale

Mutations: Commander York , Ramey York, Red Yorking, Yorking

Notes: The Pennsylvania State Horticultural Society in 1920 erected a historical marker to commemorate the York Imperial apple for its contribution "to the horticultural prosperity of the state." The marker was moved inside the Apple Hill Medical Center which was built on the site and, in 1948, a historical marker was added at South George Street further highlighting the origins and importance of the York Imperial.

Cold storage: Keeps six months or better, becoming sweeter and more mellow in storage.

Vulnerabilities: Prone to cedar apple rust and fire blight, but resistant to scab and powdery mildew.

Harvest: Ready for harvest late in the fifth period, 175 to 185 days after fruit set.

Harvest period: 5

Type(s): Cider, Eating, Jelly, Juice, Sauce

Hardiness Zone min: 4

Hardiness Zone max: 8

Pollination group: D

Pollination day: 12