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Chesapeake

Why you should be excited

Chesapeake is a rare bird: a 20th century apple variety started from seed that wasn’t from intentional breeding.

The story of Chesapeake

If you think the picture looks a lot like a Rome Beauty apple, you’re onto something. Chesapeake was started from a Rome Beauty seed in 1958 Kentucky.

And what an excellent new variety it was: tasty and a good keeper, coming from trees that are hardy and productive.

This, of course, is how almost all the thousands of new varieties originating in North America during the 17th and 18th centuries came into being.

But the practice wasn't so common anymore by the 1950s, mainly because it’s such a crapshoot, what with the odds of roughly 10,000 to one against a planted seed resulting in a good quality apple worth propagating.

For those of us who appreciate apple diversity, this is a reminder of the value of keeping an open mind when nature creates new varieties.

Chesapeake Facts

Its origins

Grown from a seed in Wallingford, Kentucky, USA; introduced in 1967.

Flavour, aroma, texture

The white flesh is juicy and flavourful.

Appearance

A medium to large-sized apple with smooth skin that is mostly red in colour.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in early October).

Quality for fresh eating

Good.

Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

Doesn't have a particular history as a cider apple.

Keeping ability

Good (2 to 3 months when kept refrigerated).