King David

This is a page out of the 1924 Stark Bros. Nursery Catalog extolling the virtues of King David apple.  Stark Bros. is the same nursery that introduced the smash hits Red Delicious and Golden Delicious, so they know a thing or two about apples.

We had actually found King David growing at an abandoned orchard up in the mountains, but didn’t know what it was; by the way, that’s King David on the blog mast head.  I grafted cuttings down at my house and grew it out, and discovered it was exceptional down here with a deep, rich, winey taste that ripens in November.  Because of the color we thought it was Arkansas Black at first, but the flavor was much better; I suspected it to be a seedling for a bit, until I put pieces of the puzzle together and hit on King David, a favorite of several Oak Glen growers.  It is my favorite also, and usually any one who tries a truly ripe one will agree.

With a name like King David it should be grown in Israel, and the Israeli nurseryman I sent photos and description to agreed and is applying for the import permit necessary to introduce it into quarantine and virus indexing.  I don’t think CM Stark thought of that when he named it, but it fits never the less.

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9 Responses

  1. KD is indeed awesome, my favorite of the 50+ varieties I grow. In my cool-summer climate (northern California coastal fog belt) it performs well nearly every year, though it does get hit with scab sometimes. It is also very unusual in that it is not only good eating, but fantastic for cider. The apple character survives fermentation better than any other apple I’ve tried.

    • Fascinating that it does well in such a wide variety of climates; often our heat will incinerate English apples that seem to do well in the fog belt and your cool summers won’t ripen the Southern varieties well and they end up bland. So far everything the Stark catalog said about them was true. Does yours develop the russet cap on top?

  2. Any idea where one could be purchased? I checked Stark, but I did not see a listing. I have enjoyed your blog immensely and will continue to follow.

    • I don’t know why Stark dropped it, only that they’re a shadow of the company they were when my 1924 catalog was published.

      You can buy it from my friend David Vernon at http://www.centuryfarmorchards.com in North Carolina.

  3. Thank you for the information. I know that you mentioned that you had success with this apple in Southern California, but how prolific is the crop for you? How would it compare to my 2 year old Anna apple that gave me 50 good sized apples this year? Just curious and thanks again!

  4. King David bears a decent crop the third year, but is a tip-bearer until it grows spurs slowly; Anna is a maniac that seems to sprout spurs instantly. I don’t think anything can touch Anna, but oh, the taste of King David!

  5. Do you have any russet apples that do well here. In the UK we always seemed to get the egremont russets in the shops around now and i really miss the rich nutty flavour quite different to the run of the mill cox’s which were also nice but good for a change.

    • This was the first year Ashmead’s Kernel did well for me, well enough that the stupid raccoon stole them over several nights. It has impeccible taste and so that’s a testament to this apple. Have had problems with splitting in the past

      • Not so stupid, that racoon!

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