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

Cortland apple


Cortland is a typical McIntosh style apple variety, and ranks about 12th in terms of US apple production.  However nearly all that production takes place in New York State, almost within sight of Cornell University where it was developed in 1898 and introduced in 1915.

Cortland is also widely grown across the border in Quebec and Ontario, and it has proven itself to be well-suited to the freezing temperatures experienced around the Great Lakes.

As with all McIntosh varieties, Cortland is at its best when eaten soon after being picked.  The sweet flavour fades quickly, as does the crispness.

An interesting characteristic of Cortland is that the flesh does not go brown very rapidly after being cut.

The cut-out photo in our description is of a UK-grown Cortland apple, whereas the other photos are from the USA and Canada, showing how the sunny but cold autumn climate of North America produces a better colour than the cloudy mild climate of the UK.

Cortland apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Cortland
  • Cortland
  • Cortland

USDA identification images for Cortland

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

  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Cortland
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Cortland
  • USDA watercolor image of Malus domestica: Cortland

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

Offspring of this variety

Visitor reviews

  • 16 Oct 2023 
    Where can I buy cortland apple variety in UK
  • 14 Aug 2023 
    good apple ripened mid-august also good for apple pie
  • 05 May 2021  SC, United States
    My favorite apple. The flavor varies, but once in a while you get one that tastes better than any apple you ever had.
  • 05 Nov 2020  OTTAWA, Canada
    Perfect for baking, nice sweet/tart balance and the red skin colors pulp nicely.
  • 16 Oct 2017  ON, Canada
    I was told that when my grandfather immigrated from Europe, he thought all the common apple varieties were flavorless. He asked the grocer to recommend one that tasted like a "real apple" and from that point on our family have been courtland fans. As some have pointed out, they vary in flavor. I find that there's a particular round shape that yields the best flavor when I'm picking from a bushel. Overall, great texture (except when they get old), and highly versatile for eating and cooking. To me, it's the perfect sweet-to-tangy balance!
  • 02 Nov 2016  CA, United States
    Cortland is outstanding. I grew up in the 1960's in Wisconsin and picked and enjoyed hundreds of Cortland. They made the best caramel apples ever and apple pie of course. But I most enjoyed them just by themselves and sometimes with bit of salt!
  • 15 Aug 2016  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
    We moved here from Montreal 15 years ago. My favorite baking (pies) apple was Cortland. Even Real Estate agents would say when you would have an open house "bake an apple pie with Cortland" very inviting. However, not a Cortland to be found out in British Columbia (sadly) I have tried Gala, Granny Smith, and a couple of others but not the same texture nor "scent" as a Cortland.
  • 22 Apr 2016  IL, United States
    I was probably eight when I first tasted this apple, and I loved it quite a bit. Now, I still love it for its quintessential sweetness, with a good bit of tart and perfume and unplaceable taste that ties it together. They have a few problems if you leave them out too long- the flesh is a bit mealy if they get old- but in my opinion, it's well worth the fuss.
  • 15 Mar 2016  MICHIGAN, United States
    As Erin Branch of Utah said "An apple that is mediocre at best." A perfect way to describe this apple. I enjoyed eating it, but the apple did not live up to its full potential of quality. The apple was crisp and very similar to the honeycrisp apple that I had last week for lunch. But the cortland apple is similar to my brother that has down syndrome, inferior in every way to the honeycrisp. However, still an acceptable choice of an apple.
  • 02 Nov 2015  UTAH, United States
    An apple that was mediocre at best. It was very bland; so much so that I could *taste* the blandness. It was a very odd sensation and almost caused me to spit it out. Oddly enough it was also very mildly tart and mildly sweet at the same time. The apple looks beautiful enough, and has a nice firm and crisp texture. But ugh - that flavor; it wasn't *bad* per se, but it was so insipidly bland!
  • 01 Apr 2015  QUEBEC, Canada
    My favorite! The ones I buy are from here (Québec) and are sold at a health foods’ store. They are organic, small, firm, crunchy, juicy, a little tart and very sweet. Their skin is a beautiful deep burgundy color, unlike the Cortlands I see at the regular food stores. The flesh is white. If I eat one with my eyes closed, I get a hint of blue grapes and strawberries! The ones I bought this week were stored for at least 4 months before they arrived on the shelves. These apples grow best in colder climate zones (zone 4-5-6). My only wish would be for the tree to be more resistant to diseases.
  • 03 Nov 2014  INDIANA, United States
    A must have for my back yard. Tastes sweet but I understand the "vinous" description as it does have some overtones of the wine-like flavor, but not as much as Winesap. The best I've seen for keeping it's white color. All purpose. High on my list for baked apples.
  • 07 Jan 2014  NY, United States
    This is probably one of my favorite apple varieties. I must be spoiled, because they are so easy to get around here, and normally with very good quality as well.
  • 06 Dec 2013  OHIO, United States
    This is my FAVORITE apple!!! I use them to to make jelly, pies, apple sauce, cider, fruit leather and all around eating too. I have two trees, and the apples I don't get, my two Labrador Retrievers get. They have a 20ft x 20ft kennel, and wait at the door every day and run right by me to get the latest droppings. The only apple I want!!!
  • 20 Oct 2013  ILLINOIS, United States
    Cortland is my favorite apple of all time. I will travel miles just to get a bag of Cortland over any other variety sold at local stores.
  • 15 Oct 2013  MI, United States
    Our local Cortland was only identified a few short days ago. The apples are incredibly large, tart/sweet, make FABULOUS chunky applesauce. The apples hold their shape well, and I'm excited to try them in pies and strudels. We are seeking advice about pruning this tree to help it generate more fruit. If the size of the trunk is any indication, this is at least an 80 yr old tree. It is a true sentinel.
  • 30 Sep 2013  WYOMING, United States
    Our apple tree is 50 years old and always bears fruit, but this year was amazing. We harvested almost 500 pounds of fruit from our one tree! Some apples were softball-size, but most were a little bigger than baseballs. It is a descendant of one of the 100-year-old apple trees in a local orchard. Apparently 101 varieties were originally grown there.
  • 07 Jan 2013  NY, United States
    Bo - Tender flesh with a mild sweet honey flavor and medium mealy texture Brent - A nice cross between sweet and tart. Great apple for mid afternoon treat.
  • 27 Oct 2012  VA, United States
    Cortlands are so very hard to find. Past couple years, have been available at our local farmer's market. The absolute best apple I have ever tasted. I am spoiled -- wish they were more readily available.
  • 09 Oct 2012  TX, United States
    If McIntosh can tend toward the mealy, the Cortland I just ate tended toward the hard and a bit fibrous. Tough peel. Flavor is very good though, very reminiscent of McIntosh, but sweeter. Don't often see them in Texas and was glad to try it.
  • 09 Jun 2011  TX, United States
    Cortland is my favorite apple for everything. But living in Texas it is hard to find. I have only found one store in Austin that carries them and then it is not for very long. Either Oct. or Nov. There is not very many apples grown in Texas. Too hot. They need a cold winter.
  • 14 May 2011  NM, United States
    Lee einerlee@yahoo.com Las Vegas, NM My cortland bore last year for the first time; the flavor was a nice balance of sweet and tart, and the texture was deliciously crisp. My only criticism is that while acidity and sweetness were well balanced and the texture was great, it did not have the complexity of flavor which some apples do. Still, I'm already looking forward to this season's harvest.
  • 29 Dec 2010  NJ, United States
    The perfect apple! Even Oprah, our chihuahua, loves them. Cool, crisp, and not too tart. So good I am trying to grow them myself.
  • 09 Dec 2010  IOWA, United States
    Cortland is our favorite apple but is hard to find here in Iowa. The local Wilson's Orchards has just a few Cortland trees so we call frequently in the fall so we can pick when Cortlands are at their peak. My wife loves to eat them crisp & tart while I wait for Cortlands to age into a softer mellow taste. So we have to pick a lot so some can survive the wife to make it to mellow.
  • 10 Nov 2010  MA - WORCESTER, United States
    after reading some comments on taste ,,,i find this apple to be all over the place in taste ,,it varies greatly ,, sometimes so tart i can hardly bite into one without crimping my face,,and they are usually firm with that ,,,,, other occasions they are soft and sweet ,,,, this has been a real ''depends'' apple for us i also agree with albasemi on size,,i have never seen a mac get as large as the larger cortland ps, im eating homemade cortland sauce just off the fire as i speak,,,,
  • 10 Nov 2010  MA - WORCESTER, United States
    this apple can be my favorite eating apple ,,depends on the yr. climate ,, orchard and even tree,,,,we frequent orchards that have them ,,,they are getting popular in this area now,,,i prefer the yrs that produce the tartest cortlands ,,,, when cooking ,i make sure not to overcook,,they tend to soften to much,, out of season they are horrid ,,,we call then sawdusty around here , but ,,when they are right ,,,wow,,,,dynamite
  • 31 Oct 2010  MI/KALAMAZOO, United States
    I don't like this apple at all. The texture is mushy and I bought these while in season in Michigan. A waste of money. Even the Honeycrisp "seconds" are better than these
  • 21 Oct 2010  NEW YORK, United States
    This apple is incredible
  • 13 Sep 2010  MO, United States
    This is my favorite apple for pie making and for raw apple cake. We had an apple farm nearby where we could buy this variety in Wisconsin, but it is very hard to find here in Missouri. Most supermarkets never carry it in our area, although a few farms have a limited supply.
  • 11 Jan 2010  WI, United States
    To me, Cortland is the very definition of "apple". Its semi-sweet, juicy, flavorful flesh and versatility has made it my favorite apple for many years. It is great for eating, and for pies, but especially my favorite, for applesauce. I have recently sampled about 15 different varieties of apple in the quest to find the perfect apple for me, but Cortland remains unmatched in flavor and versatility. It is the most appley apple! If I had to complain about Cortland, it would be two things. First, the skin is relatively tough and tastes "green" to me. So I prefer getting rid of the peels, though it's not terrible, just preference maybe. And the other thing is that before too long (a month or two), the flesh becomes mealy and lifeless, even in cold storage. But eat them fresh, or make pies and sauce with them after they age, and it won't matter in the slightest.
  • 09 Jan 2010  NY, United States
    The best all round, all purpose apple there is. Cortland is very hardy and grows extremely well here in Western, NY. It ripens in mid-September and is sweeter than its cousin, the Macintosh. You can do everything with this apple from fresh eating, pies, cider, sauce, etc. Another advantage is that the flesh does not brown quickly or hardly at all after you slice it. I like it best during the first pickings when the apple is still a little green and has a bit more tart flavor.
  • 21 Aug 2009  PAWTUCKET, RI, United States
    The Cortland apple is my favorite apple, but it highly depends on when in the season you get them (later seems to be better) and where they come from. I don't pay enough attention to know where and when exactly the best Cortland can be had, but I used to work at a supermarket and sometimes we'd get these giant Cortland apples that were the most delicious apples I've ever tasted. Cortland apples also make great pies, but you have to take care to cook them well enough since they tend to require more time than a traditional Macintosh apple.
  • 24 Jul 2009  ONTARIO, Canada
    Cortlands are a very common variety here in Ontario,Canada.Like a Mac, but larger, a bit sweeter & usually more fragrant. They're excellent because they don't brown as quick as most other kinds(fruit plates/dip etc).They keep a bit better than Macs, too, in the cellar & refrigerator.A really nice apple. Pretty good for pies, too,although not as good as Northern Spy.
  • 12 Jul 2009  YORK, PA, United States
    I like to add a Chopped Macintosh Apple to my (Raw, uncooked) Quick Cook Oat Meal, along with Raising and Peanuts, plus Grassfed Org. Cow's Milk. I like the mixed Sweet/tartness and crunchiness of the Macintosh Apples, especially. My local Grocery Store has began carrying these Cortland apples, quite recently--and, since I'm currently Ill, and unable to go shopping, I'm taking advantage of their ishop online Feature. This will essentially keep me from being able to feel, smell, and judge the fruit on my own. Based on my above description, what do you think I may find that is different in Flavor, Crunchiness, or the Balance of Sweet/Tart/Juiciness I've come to appreciate from the Macintoshes, in these Hybrid Cortlands? I'd very much appreciate a quick Answer. Cordially, Clarisse L. Dodge, York, PA, USA PS. Until recently I didn't know that the Apples I liked so, in my breakfast were the Macintoshes, I just bought them, for their lower price than the Red Delicious, which I never knew whether they'd be juicy, sweet and crunchy, or pulpy, dry and tasteless. i was glad to find out the Apples I liked so much were the(lower-cost) Macintoshes.
  • 10 Oct 2008  ESSEX COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS, United States
    This is lovely apple! Visibly and in flavor it reminds one very much of McIntosh, one of its parents, except that the skin's color is much more uniformly red, and that red is darker. The flesh is bright white, so when sliced into wedges there is an interesting color contrast between the bright white flesh and the dark ruby red skin. In flavor it is akin to McIntosh, but less acidic, and perhaps with a stronger perfume. In my experience Cortland apples are also often larger than McIntosh apples.

Tree register

United States



Spring blossom records for this variety

2022 season

  • 15th May  2022  - tree owned by Laura in Gatineau, Canada

2018 season

  • 15th May  2018  - tree owned by Mike in Hollis, United States

2017 season

  • 30th May  2017  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 23rd May  2017  - tree owned by Khashline@Gmail.Com in Rouses Point, United States

2016 season

  • June  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States
  • 29th May  2016  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States

2015 season

  • 30th May  2015  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States

2014 season

  • 4th June  2014  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 24th May  2014  - tree owned by D. in Toronto, Canada
  • 13th May  2014  - tree owned by Alison in Hadley, United States
  • 3rd May  2014  - tree owned by baker3@wildblue.net in Thawville, United States
  • May  2014  - tree owned by Alison in Burtchville, United States
  • 25th April  2014  - tree owned by J.P.Curry in Sturgeon, United States

2013 season

  • 1st June  2013  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 19th May  2013  - tree owned by Mike in Westfield, United States
  • 12th May  2013  - tree owned by Robert in Plainfield, United States
  • 9th May  2013  - tree owned by Alison in Hadley, United States
  • May  2013  - tree owned by Virginia in Lander, United States

2012 season

  • 1st June  2012  - tree owned by Patsy in Mont-Tremblant, Canada
  • 16th May  2012  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 7th May  2012  - tree owned by Peter in Bridgetown, Canada
  • 20th April  2012  - tree owned by Chuck in Worthington, United States
  • 22nd March  2012  - tree owned by J.P.Curry in Sturgeon, United States

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

Harvest records for this variety

2023 season

  • 1st week September  2023  - tree owned by Bryan in Elkton, United States

2019 season

  • 1st week September  2019  - tree owned by Dennis in Bradford, United States

2018 season

  • 2nd week September  2018  - tree owned by Mike in Hollis, United States

2017 season

  • 1st week October  2017  - tree owned by Khashline@Gmail.Com in Rouses Point, United States
  • 2nd week September  2017  - tree owned by Dennis in Bradford, United States

2016 season

  • 2nd week October  2016  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by Lori in Otter Creek, United States
  • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States

2015 season

  • 2nd week October  2015  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 4th week September  2015  - tree owned by Mark in Glastonbury, United States

2014 season

  • 3rd week October  2014  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • September  2014  - tree owned by Alison in Burtchville, United States

2013 season

  • 3rd week October  2013  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 4th week September  2013  - tree owned by Robert in Plainfield, United States
  • September  2013  - tree owned by Virginia in Lander, United States

2012 season

  • 4th week September  2012  - tree owned by David in Two Rivers, United States
  • 4th week August  2012  - tree owned by Peter in Bridgetown, Canada


  • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
  • Parentage: Ben Davis x McIntosh
  • Originates from: Geneva, New York, United States
  • Introduced: 1898 / 1915
  • Developed by: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1976-139
  • We are grateful to Brogdale Farm - home of the UK National Fruit Collection - for providing samples of this variety.


  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1900 - 1949
  • Fruit colour: Crimson
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Popularity: Best sellers
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Picking season: Late
  • Keeping (of fruit): 2-3 weeks
  • Flavour quality: Good
  • Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
  • Cooking result: Keeps shape
  • Discoloration of fruit: No discoloration (Good for drying)
  • Cropping: Heavy
  • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Picking period: mid-September
  • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


  • Gardening skill: Beginner
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Pollinating others: Average
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Bearing regularity: Regular
  • Fruit bearing: Partial tip-bearer
  • Self-fertility: Partially self-fertile


  • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Climate suitability: Temperate climates
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cold (< 20C / 67F)

Other qualities

  • Disease resistance: Good
  • Scab (Apple and Pear): Some susceptibility
  • Fire blight: Some susceptibility
  • Cedar apple rust: Some susceptibility

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Cortland apple trees for sale:

Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Cortland:

United States



  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as susceptible - control usually needed where CAR is prevalent.
  • Apples for the 21st Century
    Author: Manhart

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