The soils and climate of Virginia have been beneficial to new varieties of Malus domesticus. Several apples chosen by Mr. Clyde Jenkins for our heritage collection originated in Virginia, including the Ben Davis, Winesap, Blacktwig and Virginia Beauty.
The Virginia Beauty is a wonderful apple and has a loyal following due to its many strong qualities – as a good eating apple, it cooks and keeps well, it makes pleasing cider and is beneficial as a pollinator for other apples. Its following also comes from its heritage – it was once a very popular apple in Virginia but almost became extinct when other apples better suited for shipping came onto the market.
For a fantastic description of the Virginia Beauty apple, check out the publication from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education entitled Appalachia’s Place-Based Foods. This beautiful document describes foods specific to the Appalachians such as muscadine grapes, paw paws, certain varieties of beans, corn and sweet potatoes as well as the numerous wild greens which have sustained Native Americans for centuries. The information on the Virginia Beauty apple is on page 20-21.
(Thanks Katelyn for letting us know about this publication)