Why you should be excited
Buckingham is a very old apple from the U.S. south that was long considered a staple of that region.
The story of Buckingham
If you lived in the southern United States at virtually any point prior to the mass marketing age that was fully in motion by the mid-20th century, then you would almost certainly be well aware of this classic old apple variety, even though you might have known it by a different name. Maybe Kentucky Fall Queen. Or Henshaw. Perhaps Ne Plus Ultra. Or Bachelor.
All different names for the same variety, as was once common back in the days before everyone had access to the same information as everyone else (thanks to mass media and the internet for that).
Regardless of the name, there were characteristics that stood out: large fruit, well-flavoured, a good keeper and easy to propagate new trees. Buckingham is the sort of apple families would grow for themselves and treasure over the long haul.
Appearing on the scene at some point in the 1700s, it’s unclear exactly where or how Buckingham originated. What is certain is that it was grown over a wide area, was known by some 30-plus different local names and was much-loved.
Growing this excellent variety will most certainly take you back to a different time and place.
Exact origins are uncertain, although it likely was growing in the U.S. south well before the late 1700s.
Flavour, aroma, texture
The yellowish flesh is tender and juicy with a sprightly subacid flavour.
Often quite large, with deep red stripes and marbling.
When they’re available
Late season (usually in mid-October).
Quality for fresh eating
Quality for cooking
Quality for cider
Used extensively in cider back in the day, so has good potential to add value to modern blends.
Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).