Heirloom apples in Germany

In mid-September, it's easy to spot apple trees; they're everywhere here in Southern Germany.   Some varieties are ripening now, and I'm seeing them in the market.  Many of the local commercial orchards of apples and pears are dwarf trees, carefully pruned for high production.

But old apple trees, often quite large, are in all sorts of places, from roadside edges to home gardens, sprinkled throughout villages and towns and the wider agricultural landscape.  (Foraged apples and plums were a lifesaver for lunch on my last trip to Germany, surprised by an unexpected holiday with stores all closed!)

We collected a bag of apples from a community orchard at the edge of Staufen a week or so ago;  they were all unfamiliar varieties, some better than others.

So it was with interest, wondering about old apples in Germany, that I happened on this article about heirloom apples here -- 3000-5000 varieties?  Wow.  Apparently, during Roman times, apples were introduced here. Apples have been grown for thousands of years -- their origin is a wild species of Malus that grows in Central Asia.

Apples were brought to North America by European colonists as seeds or scions and have been widely grown since.  We have a large variety of heirlooms, too, from cider apples to fresh-eating apples.  Our heirloom varieties are equally at risk, I know.

I'm an apple lover, so I always am interested in what varieties are available in places that we visit.  There were different varieties grown in Quebec, too, of course, in the markets there, along with imported apples from Washington State.

Here are a few apples collected from the Staufen trees along with my artistic rendering of them.

 Obviously, some drawing practice is in order!