Why you should be excited
Chieftain is the respected offspring of two prominent apples from the U.S.A.: Jonathan and Red Delicious.
The story of Chieftain
Iowans know it well, even if few others have even heard of the Chieftain apple, a variety bred in that U.S. midwest state fully a half century before it was introduced to the rest of the world in 1967.
It’s appropriate that the United States' heartland would produce an apple of quintessential American lineage, with New York’s Jonathan and Iowa’s own Red Delicious serving as parents.
And Chieftain is arguably an improvement over both, with nice flavour and crispness, more moderate acidity than Jonathan and more zip than Red Delicious.
Grown commercially in its home state and perhaps nowhere else, Chieftain is certainly a variety worth trying. As a bonus, the tree crops well and is resistant to scab and fireblight.
Bred in Ames, Iowa, USA; introduced in 1967.
Flavour, aroma, texture
The crisp, juicy flesh has a rich, sweet and honeyed flavour and a nice tang without being particularly acidic.
This nice-looking apple is flushed with dark red.
When they’re available
Late season (usually in late October).
Quality for fresh eating
Quality for cooking
Mainly used for fresh eating.
Quality for cider
Doesn't have a particular history as a cider apple, but -- like other heritage varieties -- it can contribute positively to cider blends.
Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).