King of Tompkins County

Why you should be excited

King of Tompkins County is the great U.S. heritage apple that inspired us to go into the organic apple growing business.

The story of King of Tompkins County

Known to many simply as 'King', we kind of like the folksy full name of this awesome classic apple. It's an old U.S. variety first discovered in New Jersey in 1750 and introduced to the marketplace way back in 1804.

King of Tompkins County is a large, smooth-skinned yellow apple with orange-red blush on a yellow background skin colour. While the colouring tends to vary widely from one apple to another, even on the same tree, almost all the King fruit I've seen is beautiful, as well as good-sized.

The flesh of a King of Tompkins County apple is yellowish, coarse, crisp, aromatic and tender. The flavour is subacid and highly appreciated. Many people bite into one and immediately say it tastes exactly as they remember a great apple tasting when they were a child. Yes, it's that good.

King is a fairly good keeper and the tree is vigorous, productive and well-suited to our West Coast climate. In addition to its fame as a fresh-eating apple, King is also a wonderful cooker.

After all these accolades, you'll likely not be surprised to learn that it was a Salt Spring-grown King of Tompkins County apple that convinced us that raising this fruit in this place -- in a 3,300-plus tree serious kind of way -- is what we aspired to do.

King of Tompkins County Facts

Its origins

Discovered in New Jersey, USA, 1750.

Flavour, aroma, texture

Outstanding. Crisp, coarse, juicy flesh. Sweet, subacid, aromatic flavour.


Excellent, although variable, even on the same tree. Often large, with red stripes and flush on a yellow background skin colour.

When they’re available

Late season (usually in mid-October).

Quality for fresh eating

Unexcelled. Yum!

Quality for cooking


Quality for cider

Yes, it's an excellent cider apple, too. And since they're susceptible to water core (a condition causing some of the sugars to form as sorbitol rather than the usual fructose), King apples can make a cider that's sweet even after the yeast has eaten all the sugar it can take. That's because sorbitol tends to not be consumed by the yeast during fermentation.

Keeping ability

Good (up to 2 months when kept refrigerated).