Why you should be excited

Jonathan was America’s favourite apple, supplanting Ben Davis until it too was surpassed, by Red Delicious.

The story of Jonathan

We might have read some profundity into the early 19th century discovery of this fine apple near Woodstock, New York, the town known for the 1969 music festival of its name.

But while the apple was indeed found on a farm just outside Woodstock, the music festival didn’t actually happen at Woodstock at all, but rather near Bethel, some 60-plus kilometres away. So this legendary apple doesn’t actually need to share fame with Jimi Hendrix’s shrieking guitar.

And that’s a good thing, as Jonathan is deservedly revered for its perfect (mostly) red colouring and its outstanding mix of sweet and tart flavours.

Apparently a seedling of Esopus Spitzenberg, this is a heritage apple –- once the most popular of all U.S. varieties –- worth seeking out.

Jonathan Facts

Its origins

Discovered in Woodstock, New York, USA; first described in 1826.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Crisp, juicy and sweet with plenty of refreshing acidity.


The yellow background skin colour of this medium-sized apple is flushed with bright crimson, complemented further by red stripes.

When they’re available

Mid-season (usually in early October).

Quality for fresh eating

Very good.

Quality for cooking


Quality for cider

Jonathan's excellent sugar/acid balance makes it a potentially valuable cider apple.

Keeping ability

Good (about 3 months when kept refrigerated).