Ben Davis

Why you should be excited

Ben Davis is a classic U.S. apple that once ruled the market: red, firm, mildly sweet and a great keeper.

The story of Ben Davis

It must be odd to be Jimmy Carter: decades past being ‘the most powerful man in the world,’ yet still around to observe the shenanigans of his successors more than a third of a century later.

Ben Davis is the Jimmy Carter of apples and I say that as someone who admired the former Georgia peanut farmer back then and even more today.

Like Carter, this apple once ruled the United States as variety of choice, appreciated for its firmness, great keeping ability and mild, sweet taste.

But time passed and Winesap eventually swept Ben Davis aside, only to itself be supplanted by Red Delicious.

Now, largely forgotten, but still respected by those who remember it, Ben Davis is an apple that once was THE apple.

Ben Davis Facts

Its origins

Uncertain, but likely raised from seed in Kentucky, USA, circa 1800.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Firm-fleshed, with a light, sweet flavour.


The classic red apple look, with a flush of deeper red.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in mid-October).

Quality for fresh eating


Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

Has been extensively used in cider, despite its reputation as a fairly dry apple.

Keeping ability

Very good (about 5 months when kept refrigerated).