The Masons (Liberty Home Orchard in Pine Grove) must have been very proud of this tree as they included it in their family album. As you can see from the title it a six year old Spitzenburg apple tree on 11 year old roots.
Spizenburgs date from the early 18th century. Thomas Jefferson reportedly grew them at Monticello. You can still find them in the valley if you look hard enough.
This is probably Mason himself. An interesting note is that his wife Ollie was the one that basically ran the farm as he worked in Portland.
Spitz are my favorite apple, but only know of one place you might get them and that is Kiokawa's in Parkdale.
My grandpa used to grow them. One wonderful thing is we always had to have them in our cider, as they gave the zip to it. If one used only like red delicious, your cider was flat. We always used a mix and lots of the sweeter and tarter apples.
Charlott on 29th May 2020 @ 7:14am
Kiyokawa is where I get Spitz's too. They have a great selection of older apples and pear varieties. I sure hope their tasting room will be open this fall.
ArthruB on 29th May 2020 @ 8:14am
Maybe we could gt Randy to give a lecture this fall on all the different varieties and the rich history of each variety. WOuldn't that be wonderful!
nels on 29th May 2020 @ 9:01am
There is a book titled “Apples for the 21st Century”. By Warren Manhart. He is from the Willamette Valley and covers the local old apples. I planted two Spitzenburgs this spring.
L.E. on 29th May 2020 @ 9:09am
DId they not prune trees back in the day? I'm sure all the orchardists and farm workers are eyeballing that tree as where to prune.
nels on 29th May 2020 @ 12:48pm
I was definitely thinking about how I would prune that tree. Other images in this album show these trees loaded with fruit, with splints to help hold up the spindly branches. I don’t think they had dwarf varieties back then, so maybe the branches thickened with age.
ArthurB on 29th May 2020 @ 1:46pm
A lecture by Randy on the history of apples in this valley sounds like a wonderful idea!
Maria Kollas on 30th May 2020 @ 11:57am
I am curious what the root stock is and how tall these trees would grow. The ones I planted are semi dwarf.
L.E. on 1st June 2020 @ 6:57am
We called the supports for the trees props. They had a notch cut in one end where the actual limb laid. Yes, my family had an orchard during this time span in Hood River and they did prune trees. There wasn't such a thing as a dwarf tree in that era. These trees are not very old.
Sam J. on 1st June 2020 @ 7:32am
From David Burkhart's book "It all Began with Apple Seeds", Mason worked in Portland for 6 years in order to earn money to clear and plant the first 16 acres. His wife moved on to the property 3 years before he did to oversee the land preparation. August Paasch helped her with the original planting and care of the young apple orchard. When Mason moved to HR he had a 3 year old Ben Davis and Spitzenberg orchard ready to farm.
Ellen on 1st June 2020 @ 12:21pm
BTW, I created a name index to David's book which is available at the HR Museum. Makes it much easier to find info on all these people.
Ellen on 1st June 2020 @ 12:23pm