All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Cameo apple

Cameo is a very new apple variety. The shape is very reminscent of Red Delicious but Cameo does not have the intense red coloration of Red Delicious. The colour does seem to vary quite considerably, from a basically dark red flushed apple to a pale green apple with orange flushes.

Unlike most modern apples Cameo is not the result of a long breeding programme. It originated the old-fashioned way as a chance seedling. Interestingly, it was found in a Red Delicious orchard, so it seems likely, given the shape and colour, that Red Delicious was one of the parents.

The flavour is fairly bland, with a hint of pear - similar to Red Delicious but with less intensity. It is a bit crisper than Red Delicious too, but still fairly soft.

USDA identification images for Cameo

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.


    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    • Red Delicious (parent) - Cameo is thought to be a seedling of Red Delicious.

    Visitor reviews

    • 25 May 2022 
      Crisp, juicy, tart, firm, quite meaty, aromatic. Enjoyable. I would not say bland.
    • 02 Aug 2019  TEXAS, United States
      I absolutely love this apple! It is not easy to find where I live, so when I come across them, I stock up. When I taste them, it's not overly sweet, not tart, but definitely not bland! I understand how people might feel that it must be an apple with pear qualities, but I definitely taste apple. I'm not sure how to eat this other than plain, but my niece spilled dark chocolate on my slices by mistake and it was awesome!!!
    • 29 Mar 2019  NJ, United States
      Curious, did all the grocery stores in the Burlington County of NJ stop getting Cameo Apples?
    • 11 Nov 2017  NY, United States
      Not available where I live in any supermarkets but at my request a local pick-your-own orchard planted these and they are the BEST — super crisp, with a noticeably acidic mouth feel though not at all sour, rather insanely sweet. Based on its description, seems the Red Cameo variety is what we have here in upstate NY, and in my experience they never ripen completely on the tree but must be stored indoors for about a couple of weeks or even longer to develop maximum sweetness and flavor. You'll know they're ready to eat when you open their container and are met with an irresistable candy like aroma. So good right out of the fridge that I've never cooked any so can't vouch for them in pies or sauce, but they hold up perfectly on sandwiches and all sorts of salads such as red coleslaw, my personal fave. Distributed a bunch as gifts and they were a big hit.
    • 21 Oct 2017  OHIO, United States
      I picked Cameos at my local orchard. It's gleaning time. The Cameo trees were still loaded, but for whatever reason the orchard people only directed me to the Gold Rush, Red Delicious and Golden Delicious. It was the same way last year. Cameos are huge, juicy, mild apples. My 6 year old says they are the best. Thankfully, Cameo tastes nothing like Red Delicious(awful), but it does have the same nubs on the blossom end. My preference is for a tart apple like the Gold Rush, but Cameos are nice when I don't want that pucker.
    • 07 Sep 2017  WASHINGTON, United States
      So impressed were we of Cameo's flavour, that it is our main variety as co-mingled with traditional cyder varieties to create our apple brandy, Cameo-de-Vie. The freshly pressed juice is sent directly to french-oak puncheons and ferments spontaneously without added yeast inoculants or nutrients. After 6 to 9 months of very slow fermentation, the keeved cyder is subjected to double-distillation and the eau-de-vie is matured in barrels of various size and composition.
    • 27 May 2017  MA, United States
      I agree with the description as written (unlike most of the other reviewers here). I bought some Cameo today (end of May) and it seemed a bit bland (did I taste some pear?) and was crisp-ish, but not crisp the way I like other varieties like Pink Lady, etc. The apples I picked up at Whole Foods were huge...I'm wondering if this accounts for the difference -- end of season large apples six months after picking. Glad I tried it, but not motivated to buy again...
    • 05 Feb 2017  United States
      I am close to finishing taste-testing every apple I could locate, so my opinions are based on recent experimentation. In my now-more-educated opinion, Cameos do not taste like Red Delicious at all. They are sweet, but have enough tartness to make them interesting plus they are crisp and juicy. Cameos are up there with Jazz and Honeycrisp. The quality of the flavor reminds me of my childhood favorite, McIntosh.
    • 22 Oct 2016  NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, United States
      This website's description of the Cameo apple could not be further from reality. The Cameo is crunchy and firm, fairly juicy but not messy, both sweet and tart, with a wonderful flavor that I don't find in other apples. It has a thin skin but doesn’t bruise easily. The skin is not bitter, and the apple keeps for months in my refrigerator before even starting to soften. I get my Cameo apples (usually starting in mid-to-late October) at Soons Orchard in New Hampton, New York (U.S.). I just got my first batch for 2016, and they are just as terrific as the ones I had last year and the year before and the year before that...
    • 12 Oct 2016  GEORGIA, United States
      I tasted Cameos for the first time this past weekend at the Ellijay Apple Festival in Georgia (US)- SO YUMMY! The description on this website is inaccurate. Now I know why the orchard we went to was running out of this variety at their store (hard to keep up with demand). Glad I experienced them before I Googled and read about them ;-) because I love the sweet crunchy-but-not-too-crunchiness.
    • 09 Jul 2016  CA, United States
      This has also become my favorite apple. I found this apple recently in a discount store in Oakland called Grocery Outlet. I would buy three bags at a time and eat two or three apples a day because they're so good. Definitely agree that this description is off. They are crisp, sweet, and quite large. I haven't found an apple of its equal and I shop at organic stores as well.
    • 15 Apr 2016  United States
      Definitely my favorite apple. Perfect blend of sweet and tart.
    • 11 Feb 2016  CALIFORNIA, United States
      I just tried a Cameo for the first time. So good, probably my favorite apple of all time. So good I went back and bought more! Great flavor: For me, it's the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Excellent firmness: Crisp without feeling like I'll pull a jaw muscle, but with ample texture that seems consistent across several "batches" (so far, at least). Bottom line: I will go out of my way to track down a regular source of Cameo apples. Very impressed!
    • 03 Jun 2015  CALIFORNIA, United States
      First time buyer of the Cameo Apple. Found them in a Stater Brothers Market. I will buy these apples from now on unless I cannot find them. Very Delicious and Crisp which I like. I do not like soft mushy apples.
    • 12 Jan 2015  United States
      This has become the only kind of apple I really like. The flavor is just perfect, and the texture is more consistently firm than other varieties like Braeburn, Gala, Fuji...
    • 16 Nov 2014  RHODE ISLAND, United States
      I love these apples, we live in Newport, RI. but I'm from UK and these remind me of the apples my Dad grew, I could find them last year but this year I cant. When are they available and who sells them?? Thankyou
    • 15 Aug 2014  TN, United States
      This became my favorite apple, even above Honey Crisp, the minute I tasted it. It has the best flavor (I think your description is just wrong on this!) sweet and crisp and nothing at all like pears, which I hate. It will last a LONG time, staying crisp and sweet in my basement, not even wrapped individually with newspaper or paper towels, until the last one in the half-bushel box. I LOVE these apples!
    • 27 Oct 2013  MARYLAND, United States
      I discovered these a few years ago, and they instantly became my favorite. Crisp and juicy. They are hard to find, so I really appreciate them!
    • 27 Sep 2013  MD, United States
      I buy Cameo whenever (and wherever) it's available. We enjoy the crisp combination of sweet and tart as do other reviewers. An added bonus is that cut Cameo apples are very slow to oxidize, remaining fresh looking and tasting without added acid, with little or no browning, for many hours. Awesome to pack for picnics and lunches.
    • 18 Apr 2013  NY, United States
      Picked up a few of these from Whole Foods in White Plains, NY. Not local--I believe they were Washington grown. Just had my first one and I'm not terribly impressed. Nice texture, crispness and thin skin, but very little flavor. Was hoping for a little more sweetness, but maybe I just got one that was a little underripe.
    • 17 Apr 2013  IL, United States
      I LOVE Cameo apples, I have always loved apples of all kinds but when I tasted these a couple of years ago, the affair was on. Crsip, sweet, juicy, tart, complex flavor with great storage life. Made think I had never tasted an apple before!
    • 10 Feb 2013  STAFFORD, United Kingdom
      I really like theses apples, having just found them in Sainsbugs. Pleased to find they are a UK Kent apple. Considering they probably came off the tree last September they are really crisp. A lot like a Royal Gala perhaps less juicy but still very good like a firm crisp Cox, which is still my favorite. Simon asking about a caracterful apple try Sunset. It likes the south better so should be good in Devon. Mine when I was in Essex on M27 rooting stock filled the tree with fruit often needing support, and very tasty.
    • 15 Feb 2012  GEORGIA, United States
      Good balance of acid and sugar. Crisp and flavorful.
    • 10 Jan 2012  KENT, United Kingdom
      Locally grown but obtained from the supermarket. Reasonably crisp, juicy but lacking in flavour. I wonder if there is any improvement in flavour if allowed to ripen further before picking from the tree?
    • 06 Dec 2011  ARIZONA, United States
      My second favorite apple - favorite being Jazz. These are crisp and have a nice bite, they don't have the multiple flavor levels in Jazz, but they do have a nice and crisp apple flavor. Just as well since finding Jazz is near impossible!
    • 21 Nov 2011  SAN FRANCISCO, United States
      For me, this is the best Apple I've tasted. Crisp, juicy, mildly sweet, but tart as well. The crispness is really what sells it. As someone else mentioned, if they're soft they're old. Excellent apple.
    • 19 Sep 2011  CA, United States
      Cameos are my new favorite apple! They are crisp and juicy, not too sweet and just enough tartness. I like the dark red stripes. I prefer the green undertone to get the taste I like. Until last year, their season seemed to be too short, only 2 weeks in the stores, but last year their season lasted for months! If the apple is soft, it must be old.
    • 26 May 2011  ST ALBANS, United Kingdom
      I would be interested to find out if Cameo is the same as Caudle. I can't find any reference linking the two varieties, but they have a very similar history. I've just had a French Caudle and it was very good, really crunchy and sweet.
    • 26 Apr 2011  WA, United States
      I first tried this variety a few years ago and love'em. The ones in Washington are not soft. Great crisp taste and they can I stored mine in a cool garage for over a month until I had eaten the entire box of them. I would love to try to grow them.
    • 20 Apr 2011  FLORIDA, United States
      I love these apples, I tried them a few weeks back and have been able to find them in every grocery store here in Florida. I would like to try growing them in Michigan, as we grow very good Michigan delicious apples.
    • 13 Jan 2011  WILTSHIRE, United Kingdom
      I have just found the Cameo variety for the first time in my local Co-op store in Amesbury. I've always been a Pink Lady fan but this one makes a lovely change - crisp, juicy and delicately flavoured. If you haven't tried it yet, you really should...
    • 14 Feb 2010  United Kingdom
      The description of the Cameo apple appears to be mistaken here. The Cameo apple is very firm, crisp and not nearly as pedestrian as a red delicious. I do agree that it tastes much like a pear, with a bit of pleasant sour acid complementing the mild sweetness.
    • 07 Jan 2010  GA, United States
      Cameo is a good apple as well. It seems to be firm, not soft. I enjoy its fresh, light taste. It is a good apple. It is not like red delicious in my estimation.
    • 15 Dec 2008  GWENT UK, United Kingdom
      I very much enjoy Cameo's, but being uinable to locate them, I've recently purchased some Rubens. There's more about them on this site, but in my view, if you like Cameo's you'll certainly like these. Currently in stock at some Somerfields.
    • 09 Dec 2008  SOUTH HAVEN-STEARNS-MN, United States
      I also have noticed poor Quality of the Honey Crisp I have a large nuresery one mile from me and the H C I tasted in Nov of this year where of poor quality,Cameo is the apple and todays price was only $.98 LB
    • 08 Dec 2008  DEVON UK, United Kingdom
      Yes, I'm currently enjoying these from Sainsbury's too and the eating qualities are just right for me; very crisp, juicy and kind of heavy ! If I was going to plant apple trees, which one day I will, this apple would be high on the list . . . might like something with a bit more character, say a slightly spicy edge to the taste. Any suggestions ?
    • 10 Nov 2008  KENT, United Kingdom
      Some Kent grown Cameo apples have appeared at Sainsburys. Large fruit, the first one out the bag had a pleasant taste. Firm'ish, sweet, a fraction blander than expected.
    • 04 Jun 2008  NAPERVILLE, IL USA, United States
      Fujis are my favorite, but Cameos are a good substitute at this point in the season where the Fujis at my local store are becoming a little, ah, suspect (starting to be brown in inside, and mushy). It is, of course, an amazing thing how the growers put these up in the Fall, and we have fresh apples in June.
    • 30 May 2008  WR, GA, United States
      I LOVE these apples!!! I first discovered them about a month ago at Wal-Mart and haven't stopped buying them since. I was devastated when I went grocery shopping this past week... there were no Cameos at Wal-mart. I really hope they were just out of them. I ended up buying some Braeburns but they did not taste anywhere near as good as the Cameos. If any of you live in the Middle GA area please let me know if any other grocery stores carry these.
    • 07 May 2008  SAN DIEGO, CA, United States
      I just bought some Cameo apples last night. I had never heard of them before this and was intrigued by the size (very large) and the color. They are WONDERFUL!!! Juicy and very flavorful. I will be buying more of these beauties. And the price was 30 to 40 cents less per pound than some of the delicious and gala varieties!!!
    • 21 Apr 2008  KENT WA, United States
      tried my first cameo apple about six months ago and am now hooked. consistantly sweet crisp and juicy.apples dont get any better than this
    • 08 Feb 2008  SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA, United States
      We bought some Cameo apples the other day. It was the first time we had seen them advertised -- so we bought some to try them out. We did not know anything about them but thought they resembled the Red Delicious. The apples were juicy and crisp, but they did not have much taste. We prefer the Honeycrisp, which originated in Minnesota. They are available only in the fall in Minnesota, and they are very good. The Honeycrisp now in our stores come from Washington -- they cost a lot, and they are no good.
    • 23 Oct 2007  ELKTON,. MD USA, United States
      For the most part I have never liked apples. However, I chaperoned my daughters recent first field trip to an orchard where we got to taste the cameo variety. I used to say, "never will i like apples without caramel." Now, I have learned to never say never and I cannot get enough of these. I love them, the only thing is i should start cutting them to eat them. The arthritis in my jaw is paying the price for these delicious treats.
    • 20 Sep 2007  WA, United States
      I love apples of nearly all kinds, and Cameo is my absolute favorite fresh-eating apple. They are crisp, juicy, and flavorful, with a good balance of sweet and acid.
    • 03 Aug 2007  United Kingdom
      Bought some cameo apples last season and thought they were similar to Braeburn...crisp juicy and not too sweet..am looking forward to trying them again this year if I can find them." Ann, UK

    Tree register

    United States

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2017 season

    • April  2017  - tree owned by Lynnae in Blairsville, United States

    2015 season

    • 12th April  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.


    Harvest records for this variety

    2015 season

    • 2nd week September  2015  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Seedling of Red Delicious

    Using

    • Food uses: Eating fresh

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 3
    • Ploidy: Diploid

    Identification

    • Country of origin: United States

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Cameo apple trees for sale:

    • Cummins Nursery
      United States  More >>

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Cameo:

    United States


    United Kingdom




    References

    • Cedar-Apple Rust  
      Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
      Rated as highly susceptible - control always needed where CAR is prevalent.

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