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:


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.


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.

1 Like

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!


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.


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.

1 Like

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!

1 Like

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.


The Arkansas Black is my absolute favorite apple. Gross Orchard, roughly 5 miles from where I live, grows these heirloom apples. We get a peck every season and leave them sit for a few weeks before enjoying them.

1 Like

They make excellent apple butter as well!

1 Like

39611 Oak Glen Rd, Oak Glen, California, 92399, United States

[+1-(909) -797-1005](tel:+1-(909) -797-1005)

This California farm hosts a wide array of produce, including the Arkansas Black Apple, as well as a number of events throughout the year.

We drove up to this Apple Farm as we do most seasons, though they don’t have these every season, but this particular one they did and we got a bag, and this is no lie. They surely do last and last, and are the hardest apple ever! In fact, I had just gotten my teeth re-done, and went to bite into the apple, and had to wait till’ I got home to finish it as I needed a knife, so as I wouldn’t break any of my new crowns! My kids though didn’t care for all this crunchiness, so they stayed in the fridge drawer for what seemed months, and never went bad. The newcomer is the “Cosmic Crisp” and it is delicious, but I’ll take an Arkansas Black over one of them any day!

I first encountered these wonderous little beauties about 7 or 8 years ago at a small orchard in Massachusetts. Now that I live near Chicago, I found a private grower about an hour north of the city with one (1) tree. Bought ten pounds. I plan to use 'em to make a “springform” Polish/Russian apple cake.

Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) berries are actually edible when ripe (and don’t forget tomatoes are also in the same genus). You just better be sure you’re not eating any of the toxic look-alikes or anything that isn’t ripe.

1 Like

Thanks Screedius. Isn’t the potato in that night shade family too. Don’t worry about me tasting any wild edibles until things get a lot worse than they are now. I have two books on edible wild plants of Texas and for every edible one there seems to be a toxic look alike. Green briars and giant ragweeds are edible too but I’m just not that hungry yet. LOL!

Yes, it is! Underripe potatoes can make you feel sick too (though not to the same extent, fortunately). There’s nothing wrong with eating wild foods though, and Texas does have a few that are hard to misidentify: Blackberries, prickly pears, persimmons, walnuts, pecans. The only problem is there’s very little public land in Texas, so there’s hardly anywhere you can explore without some kind of arrangement with the landowners.

1 Like

Yes, our three principle supplements are blackberries, which my wife and relatives use to make blackberry cobbler pies, a traditional favorite in our family for 4 generations, prickly pear fruit that we make jelly from, some given away to family and friends, some my daughter-in-law sold in a little business she had, but we always save a major portion for ourselves. Pecans are good anyway you eat them, right out of the shell, in pies and even as pecan butter. With the cost in stores, they’re almost worth their weight in gold so we’re never short of extra income when things get tight. We don’t have any walnuts on our property but they grow up by the river six miles away. We have plenty of persimmons but I don’t really care for the taste. We have a weed that tastes just like pepper and if you really get starved green briars are edible and we have more than enough of those. Also honey locust bean pods can be opened and they are full of a sweet honey textured sap or you can just scrape the honey that oozes from the trunks. There are several more listed in the two edibly plants of Texas books I have but most of them taste sort of meh to me. People who like greens can fill up just walking around the pasture. We have 25 acres and my near neighbor has 17 more that he doesn’t mind us picking pecans and lily pad stalks or whatever we feel like gnawing on. Of course I always give myself permission to do anything I want on mine. The forests along the creek are pretty much open to anyone for several feet on either side according to the Texas Law of Streams and Yeguas. There are several more edible plants down there and feral hogs if just have to have a ham sandwich. But I think they’re too much trouble to butcher and haul up to the house so I don’ t mess with them if they don’t mess with me.

I have tasted these delicious beauties, purchased at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market in the District of Columbia. Not sure how frequently they’re available, however.