Why you should be excited

Empire is a seedling of McIntosh that many consider to be an improvement on the classic Canadian apple.

The story of Empire

Sometimes, great things come of terrible events.

For example, Empire came into being after the particularly cold eastern North America winter of 1934.

Almost all the Baldwins and many a McIntosh tree was killed by the big freeze that year, leading folks at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station to plant the seeds of apples from some of the few trees in the region that did survive.

One of those seeds became Empire, an apple reminiscent of McIntosh but with less susceptibility to bruising and better storage ability.

Given that those are the main complaints about the Mac, this is a big deal, indeed.

Empire Facts

Its origins

Raised as a seedling in Geneva, New York, USA; 1966 introduction.

Flavour, aroma, texture

This sweet, aromatic apple has a crisp, clean apple taste reminiscent of McIntosh.


This strikingly pretty apple has a bright red flush.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in mid-October).

Quality for fresh eating

Very good.

Quality for cooking

Mainly used for fresh eating.

Quality for cider

A popular variety in modern eastern North American ciders.

Keeping ability

Good (up to 3 months when kept refrigerated).