- Heavy Cropper
- Hardy to zone 5
Newtown Pippin is an heirloom American apple variety with a history going back more than 250 years. It is one of the best-flavored dessert apples – aromatic with plenty of acid and pleasantly refreshing, and sometimes a pineapple-like note. The flesh is dense, crisp and juicy. It’s juice makes an excellent base for cider blending.
The Newtown Pippin is typically light green, sometimes with a yellow tinge. It is often russeted around the stem. The flesh is yellow and crisp. The flavor is complex and somewhat tart, and requires storage to develop properly; some sources ascribe to it a piney aroma. Newtown Pippin is a notably versatile apple, being excellent for eating fresh, cooking, and for juicing and hard cider. When cooked Newtown Pippin retains some of its shape, and produces a textured puree with a very good rich flavor – definitely a very high quality culinary apple. It is now used commercially primarily for cider.
Newtown Pippin is regarded as a “winter” apple. It is picked quite late in the season – late October in the eastern USA. It is hard and unappetizing if eaten straight from the tree, instead it should be stored for 1-2 months, before being used over the winter period.
Newtown Pippin is one of the oldest American apple varieties, being well-known in the 18th century and probably raised as a seedling by early settlers on Long Island. To get a sense of how unusually old it is, it was introduced from the USA to England in the mid 1750s – making it an old variety even by English standards. Newtown Pippin was popularised by such well-known figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and was very much an apple of its time. It is also often called Albemarle Pippin.
By the 19th century Newtown Pippins were an important commercial variety in the USA, both for domestic use and exported in large quantities to London markets, where the Victorian author Hogg commented on their arrival in January each year. The appreciation of the flavors of apples reached a peak in Victorian England, and the popularity of Newtown Pippins in Victorian England is a sure sign that this is very high quality apple with the rich aromatic flavor most sought after at that time. Hogg also commented that the Newtown Pippin could not be grown successfully in England – it needs a hot summer and autumn, and will not ripen properly most years in the cool temperate climate of England.
Newtown Pippin is a fairly reliable tree. Although susceptible to scab and most of the other diseases of apples, its natural vigour helps it to keep going. It is a heavy-cropping variety and can lapse into biennial bearing – this can be prevented by thinning the crop in late spring.