Back to Apple Varieties
Baldwin was the preeminent commercial dessert apple of the country, mostly in New England, until a harsh winter in 1933-34 killed most of the trees. It has been replaced by McIntosh.
The skin is thick, on the tough side. Flesh is yellow, crisp, coarse and juicy, with a spicy character that is good in cider and pies.
Keeps well and ripens in late September or October. Originated as a seedling near Lowell, Mass., before 1750. Considered a prime cider apple. Originating in Massachusetts, this apple keeps well and is great eaten fresh or used in a cider blend. Rich, crisp and juicy.
(Also known as: Woodpecker)
Parentage / Origin: Chance seedling; Discovered Massachusetts, USA, 1740
Harvest / Season: Harvest: October, Season: October - Feb
Description: Medium to large, yellow base flushed with orange and striped red. Juicy with sweet to subacid flavor, aromatic and firm. Good cider base, and great for pies.
Tree Characteristics: Usually a productive and vigorous tree. Often a biennial bearer. Triploid
from Apples of New York- S.A. Beach:
"The Baldwin is a bright red winter apple, above medium in size or large, and very good in quality when grown under favorable conditions. It stands handling well because of its firm texture and thick skin. It is a favorite market variety because of its desirable season, good size, attractive red color and good quality. "The Baldwin is preeminently the leading variety in the commercial orchards in New York, New England, certain regions in Southern Canada, in the southern peninsula of Michigan and on the clay soils of Northern Ohio. In many localities in Northern New York it is apt to winter-kill, especially in the higher altitudes. For the same reason it also fails in portions of Michigan and west of the Great Lakes. In the South and Southwest it is not desirable because it there becomes a fall apple and also because it does not attain as good quality as it does in the Baldwin belt. From Colorado to Washington it is more or less grown in many localities. Not only is the Baldwin a standard fruit in American markets but it is one of the leading apples used for export trade. It is one of the principal varieties handled in cold storage. The apples of this variety which are unsuitable for barrelling supply a large part of the evaporator stock in New York state, and are also used to some extent by canneries. "The tree is a strong grower, long-lived and vigorous. The accompanying view illustrates the vigorous development of mature Baldwin trees, as also does the frontispiece. It is somewhat slow in reaching bearing maturity, but when mature it bears very abundantly. In fact, one of the faults of this variety is its habit of producing an overload of fruit biennially and bearing little or none on alternate years. On rather light, sandy or gravelly soils the fruit is apt to have a better color, or at least to color earlier in the season, than it does when grown on heavy clay lands. Some hold that fruit from the lighter or more gravelly soils ripens earlier and consequently scalds earlier in storage than do the duller colored Baldwins grown on heavier soils. The Baldwin is grown successfully on various soils and under various climatic conditions. Besides the other good points of the Baldwin which have been noticed above, it has the advantage of yielding a pretty uniform grade of fruit with a low percentage of culls, when kept free from injurious insects and fungous diseases. "The Baldwin foliage and fruit are often much injured by the apple scab fungus. It has often been remarked that the prevention of fungus diseases and of the attacks of insects, by proper spraying, not only increases the yield of marketable fruit but improves the quality as well The Baldwin Spot is the name given to brown flecks in the flesh of Baldwin apples. This is not caused by either insects or fungi. It is a physiological defect which is more apt to appear in overgrown than in medium-sized fruit. No remedy is known.
Historical "Soon after 1740 the Baldwin came up as a chance seedling on the farm of Mr. John Ball, Wilmington, near Lowell, Mass., and for about 40 years thereafter its cultivation was confined to that immediate neighborhood. The farm eventually came into the possession of a Mr. Butters, who gave the name Woodpecker to the apple because the tree was frequented by woodpeckers. The apple was long known locally as the Woodpecker or Pecker. It was also called the Butters. Deacon Samuel Thompson, a surveyor of Woburn, brought it to the attention of Col. Baldwin of the same town, by whom it was propagated and more widely introduced in Eastern Massachusetts as early as 1784. From Col. Baldwin's interest in the variety it came to be called the Baldwin. "In 1817 the original tree was still alive but it perished between 1817 and 1832. A monument to the Baldwin apple now marks the location. "Coxe in his work on fruits in 1817 makes no mention of the Baldwin. Thacher's American Orchardist, published in Boston in 1832, gives it very brief but favorable mention. Flay in his American edition of Lindely, Guide to the Orchard, New York, 1833, does not mention it, but in the appendix to the 1846 edition he describes the Baldwin and state that "in the Eastern States (New England) it is well known, highly esteemed, and extensively cultivated." Kendrick's New American Orchardist, Boston, 1833, says, "No apple in the vicinity of Boston is so popular as this, at the present day. It is raised in large quantities for the market * * * and is recommended for extensive cultivation." "Hovey in 1852 published an extended description of Baldwin with colored plate. He remarks, "The Baldwin is the most popular apple of New England, and is cultivated to a much greater extent than any other variety. Several large and fine orchards are to be found in the vicinity of Boston, some of which produce about one thousand barrels of fruit every bearing year. for exportation it is much sought after; and the large number of fifteen hundred barrels have been sent to the East Indies in one season." "Prior to 1850 the Baldwin was but little known in New York state. After that date, with the extension of the planting of commercial orchards, it came rapidly into popularity and gained the supremacy among the commercial apples of New York which it still holds. Tree "Tree large, very vigorous; branches large, strong. Form upright spreading, eventually becoming rather round and somewhat dense. Twigs long, straight, or somewhat crooked, moderately stout; internodes medium to long. Bark dark brownish-red mingled with olive-green and faintly conspicuous, raised, usually oblong, sometimes large. Buds medium to large, broad or roundish, acute, pubescent, free or nearly so. Leaves often broad and large to very large; foliage rather dense.
Fruit "Fruit sometimes large to very large; usually above medium; pretty uniform in size. Form roundish inclined to conic, varying to roundish oblong; often faintly ribbed or somewhat irregular; symmetrical; fairly uniform in shape. Stem usually medium, to long. Cavity acute, medium to rather deep, rather broad, often somewhat furrowed, sometimes compressed, sometimes lipped, often russeted, with outspreading rays of russet or deep green. Calyx small to rather large; closed or somewhat open; lobes long, acute to acuminate. Basin abrupt, narrow to moderately wide; often distinctly furrowed; slightly corrugated. Skin tough, smooth, light yellow or greenish, blushed and mottles with bright red, indistinctly striped with deep carmine. Flecks of russet, or even broken russet lines, may occasionally be seen on the base of the fruit. Dots gray or whitish, depressed, small and numerous toward the basin, more scattering, conspicuous, large, irregular, or elongated towards the cavity. Prevailing effect is bright red. "Calyx tube conical, rather short and wide with projection of fleshy pistil point into its base. Stamens basal. "Core medium or below, nearly axile, closed or partly open; core lines meeting. Carpels roundish ovate, emarginate, somewhat tufted. Seeds variable, often abortive; when normally developed they are large, long, acute, and dark brown. "Flesh yellowish, firm, moderately coarse, crisp, rather tender, juicy to very juicy, agreeably subacid, sprightly, somewhat aromatic, good to very good. "Season November to March or April in common storage; to May or later in cold storage."
More: Baldwin (Baldwin Rosenapfel, Baldwin's Rother Pippin, Red Baldwin Pippin, Woodpecker, Butters, Steele’s Red Winter) - Once one of the largest selling commercial varieties in the northeast, Baldwin was replaced by McIntosh and other varieties when several million Baldwin trees were killed by a series of bitter winters beginning in 1918. Discovered as a seedling in 1740 by John Ball in Lowell, Massachusetts, it soon became immensely popular in New England. Fruit is medium to large in size with tough yellow skin nearly covered with dark red and crimson. The yellowish-white flesh is firm, crisp, and juicy. Ripens September in warmer regions, November in colder areas. Keeps well into March and April when mountain grown.
More: Baldwin* - Baldwin began as a seedling in the northeastern Massachusetts town of Wilmington, sometime before 1750. The was named for a Colonel Baldwin, who grafted trees from the original seedling. The site of the forest tree is marked with a monument topped by an apple.
The thick, tearing, skin is on the juicy side. Baldwin's yellow flesh is crisp, coarse and juicy, with a spicy character that recommends it as a cider apple and for pies. These apple keep extremely well in storage.
More: According to Asa Sheldon's 1862 autobiography, "Wilmington Farmer":
The most profitable apple to raise in large quantities, is the Baldwin. They are a sure bearer once in two years, and always sell for ready cash at market price. They ripen so that all can be gathered at once, and as soon as they are ready for market, the market is generally ready for them; and the farmer will receive more net profit from a Baldwin tree than from any other, compared with the expense.
The origin of the Baldwin apple has been much disputed. Many are willing to claim it, but from authentic sources, I have gained the information that it was a wild tree taken from the woods in the South part of Wilmington, on what is called Wood-hill, by William Butters, and transplanted and set about fourteen rods from his back door. From that tree Colonel Loammi Baldwin cut scions for his own orchard, from which originated the name. On that point there was so much dispute, I felt an interest in knowing, if possible, where it was first produced. The first evidence was gained from James Butters, who lived on Wood-hill. He informed me that the tree was taken from land of his, and frequently urged me to go and see the hole where it was taken out of; and the last time I well remember his words, “You will be sorry if you don't.” His words proved true.
I once heard that the tree was claimed in North Tewksbury, and made a journey up there to see what proof could be afforded of it. I was showed a tree they called a Baldwin, but it bore little resemblance to the Baldwin trees of Wilmington. I know of no better way to describe it, than by calling it a two-story tree. I did not see any of the fruit, nor could I find a man in the neighborhood that was able to give any information as to where the tree came from. Simeon Butters, son of James before mentioned, showed me, as near as he could recollect, where the tree stood when it bore fruit; and at another time Walter Butters showed me the same, and they did not vary four feet. Likewise the widow of Loammi Butters identified the same spot. I asked all three of the last mentioned persons what became of that tree. The first said, “The tree was thrifty when I went to live in Lynn eight years ago, but when I came back I never noticed it afterward.” The second could tell nothing about it. I then repaired to the woman and asked her, “Can you tell me what became of that tree?” “I guess I can,” she replied. “The day that I was married there came up a shower just before twelve o'clock, and lightning tore that tree all to pieces.”