Arkansas Black Apple

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of Arkansas Black Apple. Ask questions or share tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this food, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

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I wish this article had come out six months ago! We went apple picking in Memphis and got these apples, but we weren’t sure what to do with them. They are stiff and tart off the tree. We ended up making a pie out of them.

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Those should grow around here since most things that grow in Arkansas do but I don’t recall seeing any. Just as well because prior to this article I would not have touched them anyway since they resemble belladonna berries on steroids.

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I’ve bought Arkansas Black Apples in both Memphis and California, and the sellers must have known what they were doing, because in both places they tasted pretty good to me. I’m very glad to have this information, though, in case what happened to sarah0554 ever happens to me – but sarah, I bet your pie was tasty!

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Where can I purchase some Arkansas Black apples in Houston, Texas?

I buy them in the fall and mix them with other apples for a delicious applesauce. I freeze the applesauce to eat throughout the year. I never add sugar or cinnamon, and the applesauce is perfect.

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The closest to Houston, I found was Bob Wells Nursery in Lindale, Texas. Nearest town of any size is Tyler. After reading the article I was interested in starting a black apple tree here but Lindale is about as far from me as it is from Houston. If I find something closer, I’ll let you know but for now here’s the address.
http://bobwellsnursery.com/index.php/catalog/product/view/id/30/s/arkansas-black-apple-tree/

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Last week, a friend in Arkansas with whom I’d shared the Black Apple article, told me she had an Arkansas Black Apple tree growing in her garden up there but it had not yet put out fruit. She said she’d mail me some seeds if and when they did. She said she’d had to go to Missouri to get her tree. Her father had told her about them and said they used to be commonly sold at roadside stands up there but they all but disappeared in recent years. So if I luck out and obtain some seeds, I’ll be glad to play it forward and send you a few too if you want to try a little orchard of your own down on the Third Coast. You might even get your own “Black market” going. LOL!

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20 years ago, I read about this amazing tree on the Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a list of hundreds of endangered species and products worth saving. We had recently moved to Overland Park, Kansas, and I decided to plant one of these trees. I ordered the seedling from an orchard in Michigan. 19 years later, the tree is huge and thriving. What makes it so spectacular is that the squirrels truly hate these apples because they are so hard. While they eagerly await the apples on my Northern Spy (thus leaving me with just a handful every year), only extreme drought and famine will cause them to eat the Arkansas Blacks. As the article points out, these are amazing apples to get you through the winter, and they do indeed make wonderful crisps, pies, and cakes. Thanks for drawing attention to this beautiful species of apple tree.