Vista Bella is a very early season dessert apple. It ripens in mid-July in southern England, making it probably the earliest apple of the season.
Vista Bella was developed at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, in the 1950s. It is grown commercially on a small-scale, particularly in the USA. The name "Vista Bella" comes from the Guatamalan highlands where it is also grown.
Vista Bella is a medium-sized apple, with a light yellow-green skin, flushed deep red where exposed to the sun. The color frequently changes to a solid crimson when ripe or over-ripe in good sunlight. For such an early variety the flavour is remarkably good, with a distinctly fruity taste reminiscent of slightly under-ripe raspberries. The flesh is light and juicy, and this apple is very easy and enjoyable to eat. If you have been surviving on old supermarket apples stored from the previous season, then Vista Bella is a revelation, with its full-on taste of the summer.
However, there are some caveats. Like all early apples Vista Bella does not keep. If you are buying from a farm shop make sure you find out what day the apples have been picked, since anything more than a few days old will not be worth having. The excellent flavour and crispness decays very rapidly after picking - to the point where that 9-month old supermarket Golden Delicious will be far nicer! Store them in the fridge, not the fruit bowl, and serve them whilst still cool.
Given these limitations, growing your own Vista Bella is probably the best way to ensure you can get some of these lovely apples. Trees are available from specialist nurseries, and you should be successful although this apple variety is susceptible to canker - but as Hessayon so aptly states in his book "The Fruit Expert", being able to pick bright red apples in July is worth a few problems.