The Gragg Apple

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: Caldwell County, North
Surnames/tags: Gragg Gragg Apple Red Gragg Apple
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"The Gragg apple", or the "Red Gragg Apple" (aka "Winter Queen")

James Gragg of Caldwell County, North Carolina, developed this species of apple around 1860... Which James Gragg is in question, as I haven't narrowed it down yet. But when I do, this will go on his profile. This apple is "valued by North Carolina growers for its fine cooking qualities and long storage ability. The conical shaped fruit is medium sized with waxy greenish-yellow skin with dark and bright red stripes and shading. The greenish flesh is tough and juicy. Ripens in October and is a great keeper."[1][2]

GRAGG APPLE (aka Red Gragg, Winter Queen)

"In 1899, Thomas Coffey of Kelsey, Watauga County, North Carolina, wrote to the USDA about the Gragg: "Originated about 40 years ago on James Gragg's farm in Caldwell County, North Carolina, and is now grown by many farmers. Stands at the top of the market. It is a good cooker. The tree is thrifty, smooth, needs but little pruning, and a good bearer. The apples keep till spring." Gragg was listed in 1902 by the Startown Nursery, Newton, North Carolina.
This rare variety is listed among the apples grown about 1900 on the Moses Cone estate near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Moses Cone was a millionaire who made his money manufacturing denim in North Carolina textile mills in the late 1800s. He built a magnificent house on top of a mountain and planted extensive apple orchards because he liked the vista of orderly rows of trees stretching down the mountain. The house, now open to the public, belongs to the National Park Service as it sits besides the Blue Ridge Parkway. Except for a few old trees, the orchards have not survived. In 1992, I encountered several old trees of Gragg being grown commercially in the Coffee Orchard in Watauga County, North Carolina, under the name of Winter Queen.
Fruit medium, roundish to oblate, conical, lobed; skin smooth, tough, waxy with bright red on the sunny side overlaid with indistinct darker red stripes, some apples almost entirely red; dots conspicuous, large, tan; stem one-half inch long in a slightly russeted, deep cavity; calyx almost closed; basin medium in size and depth, abrupt, corrugated; flesh slightly greenish, juicy, subacid. Ripe September/October and a good keeper."[3]

Note: *was featured on CBS Sunday Morning talking about heirloom apples on November 20, 2011


  3. Old Southern Apples, Revised & Expanded by Creighton Lee Calhoun*, Jr., The McDonald & Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, VA, 2010, p.81

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