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

Fameuse apple

Fameuse is a fairly small bright red/crimson apple with bright white flesh and a distinctive sweet flavor.  It originates from the area of Quebec in Canada, and is able to tolerate extreme winter cold.  It was grown commercially in Quebec on a large scale. It has good disease resistance with the exception of being highly susceptible to scab.

Fameuse is historically a very interesting apple, since it is probably the ancestor of McIntosh, which in turn has led to many other varieties - all characterised by the crimson skin colors and sweet white flesh and unique vinous / sweet flavor.

We are grateful to Canadian apple enthusiast Eric Rivard for finding the following details about Fameuse.

Summary of some information translated from "Le journal d'agriculture illustre" 1889, in QUEBEC Province.  From mid 1700 to 1850 Fameuse was the main grown tree and the fruits were exported to England in large quantities. For some reason, was a massive destruction of the Fameuse apple trees in Quebec Orchards in +/- 1860’s with the introductions of new varieties such as the Wealthy, the Baldwin, and other species from Russia.  A new disease in +/-1885  "Apple scab" or “Fusicladium dentrilicum” caused the end of the last commercial Fameuse orchards.

Tree:

- Dense branches

- Medium vigour

- Not very sensitive to diseases

- Late blossoming

- Harvest early October,

- Consumption: From the Crop till the end of December (1800 century  literature seems to mention February)

 

Main features

- Intense perfume

- Rusticity does not fear frost.

 

Problems:

- Tendency in alternation (biennial bearing)

- Uneven size and colour in the same tree

- Can find all red and red/green streaked apples and this on the same tree.

 

Evaluation:

Good table apple

 

A further extract translated from Le Journal d'Agriculture Illustre", May 1889. (JULES N. PAQUET. 1889)

What about the quality of the Fameuse Apple? I like the Early Astracan, I taste the Duchess beautiful, I enjoy the Soft Peach, I admire the huge Alexander. But I remain without expressions when I eat a Fameuse apple in our happy winter evenings. Is there a most succulent, most tasty; with a richer taste and more flavourful? In one word, is the Fameuse, no species will equal it in quality, argue its glorious title; Admittedly it has certainly not stolen it's picturesque name.
 

Fameuse identification images

  • Fameuse

USDA identification images for Fameuse

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.

    Offspring of this variety


    Visitor reviews

    • 25 Oct 2015  MASSACHUSETTS, United States
      Very cold hardy. Ideal for surviving Northern New England winters and late spring frosts. Snappy, snow white flesh makes it more attractive to my eyes and tongue than Macintosh. - Carter Wilkie, Boston
    • 28 Mar 2015  VIC, Australia
      Bears very Biennially at Mt Macedon, Victoria, Australia. Very heavy crops some years. As the description says, colour varies a lot within the tree. Great for kids, my daughter takes bucket loads to her school and they are pounced on. I find it a little bland tasting, but the red skin and white flesh, with small size make it very attractive to kids.
    • 02 Dec 2014  WEST BARNSTABLE, United States
      Fameuse is not the best apple that I've ever had, but certainly good and worth trying. The flavor is similar to a Macintosh (no surprise), but not quite as intense. I've only had a few, and of uncertain age, but the texture seems a bit more solid than a Mac.
    • 29 Sep 2014  MI, United States
      Magicland Farms in Newaygo grows this variety. I was surprised to find out that my mom's father (who passed when she was very young) used to love this variety of apple - it was his favorite. She has never seen them since. These are now my favorite apple (I'm normally a Granny Smith lover) and I feel like I know my grandfather a little bit because of these special little fruits!
    • 01 Oct 2013  MA, United States
      Picked several of these apples at a local MA orchard (from their "antique orchard) to try. Starts off sweet, ends with a nice tartness. Good crispness to the apple, nice juiciness. A new favorite - I'll be going back to that orchard to pick a few more.
    • 12 Sep 2013  ME, United States
      My favorite apple that is juicy,crisp and a bit spicy. Our old tree has given us apples yearly. They keep better than Mac's in our cellar. My favorite fresh and cooking apple even though they are smaller than a Mac
    • 12 Sep 2013  ME, United States
      My favorite apple that is juicy,crisp and a bit spicy. Our old tree has given us apples yearly. They keep better than Mac's in our cellar. My favorite fresh and cooking apple even though they are smaller than a Mac
    • 12 Sep 2013  ME, United States
      My favorite apple that is juicy,crisp and a bit spicy. Our old tree has given us apples yearly. They keep better than Mac's in our cellar. My favorite fresh and cooking apple even though they are smaller than a Mac
    • 07 Nov 2012  TX, United States
      Just ate one sent specially from an organic farm in Kansas. Beautiful little apple--tiny, bright red, and very round. Fairy apple! Quite aromatic. Sweet, with a bit of almond, and I do see how some of its qualities may have come down to McIntosh.
    • 21 Jan 2012  NORTHERN COLORADO, United States
      The great American poet Robert Frost had an orchard on his southern Vermont property. An article is published in the Winter 2012 issue of Vermont's Local Banquet magazine detailing its preservation, including a heritage Snow apple tree that Frost himself may have planted. The wonderful story by Ellen Williams begins: "At the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in South Shaftsbury—his Vermont residence from 1920 to 1928—an ancient and magisterially gnarled Snow apple tree presides over the grounds." The web link to the magazine story below shows an image of this tree. And further it reveals: "...Today, 90-odd years after the soil was first tamped down around its roots, the heritage tree, as the Snow apple is known, remains vigorous enough to produce a bountiful harvest of distinctively striped and tasty white-fleshed fruit every year around Labor Day." There is no mention of the name Fameuse but all other details corroborate with the posts here on orangepippin that it is synonymous with Snow. http://www.localbanquet.com/issues/years/2012/Winter12/frost_w12.html
    • 17 Oct 2011  OR, United States
      My mother, age 95, was raised on a dairy farm/apple orchard in Niagara County, NY. She has always said that her favorite apple was the Snow Apple. I found an orchard here in Oregon that has these apples and am going to take her there today. Am excited about getting to taste this treat!
    • 05 Sep 2010  QUEBEC, Canada
      (JULES N. PAQUET. 1889) What about the quality of the famous Apple? I like the Early Astracan, I taste the Duchess beautiful, I enjoy the Soft Peach, I admire the huge Alexander. But I remain without expressions when I eat a Fameuse apple in our happy winter evenings. Is there a most succulent, most tasty; with a richer taste and more flavourful? In one word, is the famous, no species will equal it in quality, argue its glorious title; Admittedly it has certainly not stolen it's picturesque name,
    • 05 Sep 2010  QUEBEC, Canada
      I am French Canadian and cant agree more with what these poeple said, how ever delisious any othere apple can be it just does'nt bett the Fameuse, "I was a pretty young child and I haven't been able to forget about them since." ,"The flesh is very very white, yet with red stains in it. A really pleasant little treat" "close to eighty years old and has a graft on it that gives delicious snow apples." They are now unavailable here also in garden stores (after few attempts, they seem to be hard to graff ) Eric R
    • 07 Aug 2010  MASSACHUSETTS, United States
      Occasionally we get this kind here in New England: some years ago French Canadians moved south into Maine and Vermont to work in factories and they brought this with them. Very hardy tree. Very hardy indeed: last winter around Christmas the whole of New England got a good dumping of snow....and by all accounts, the Fameuse trees are still juuuust fine!!
    • 22 Jun 2010  BRITISH COLUMBIA, Canada
      I have an old apple tree outside my house that is close to eighty years old and has a graft on it that gives delicious snow apples. I have been thinking it is probably about time I started a new tree but am finding it difficult to find any snow apples anywhere and I have had no luck propagating from the tree.
    • 06 Nov 2009  TOLEDO, OH, United States
      I last ate a snow apple when I was a pretty young child and I haven't been able to forget about them since. I also haven't been able to find them since. Please, please, please, does anyone know any orchards in the NW Ohio SE MI area that grows them?
    • 26 Oct 2009  MI, United States
      This is an apple fond in my memories. It has a texture like a MacIntosh and a flavor that is similar, yet a bit spicier. It has a wonderful scent and the apples are rather on the small side. The flesh is very very white, yet with red stains in it. A really pleasant little treat.

    Tree register

    United States

    Canada

    Australia

    Switzerland

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2021 season

    • 3rd May  2021  - tree owned by Milovan in Ellington, United States

    2016 season

    • June  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States
    • 20th May  2016  - tree owned by Randy in Lanark, Canada

    2014 season

    • May  2014  - tree owned by Alison in Burtchville, United States

    2013 season

    • 6th April  2013  - tree owned by Gary in Pleasant Hill, United States

    2011 season

    • May  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada

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


    Harvest records for this variety

    2018 season

    • 2nd week September  2018  - tree owned by Bella in 150 Mile House, Canada

    2016 season

    • 3rd week October  2016  - tree owned by Jon in Shaw Island, United States
    • 2nd week October  2016  - tree owned by Randy in Lanark, Canada
    • 1st week October  2016  - tree owned by Chris in Federal Way, United States
    • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States

    2015 season

    • October  2015  - tree owned by Roger in Madison Heights, United States
    • 2nd week March  2015  - tree owned by Patrick in Mount Macedon, Australia

    2014 season

    • 1st week October  2014  - tree owned by Alison in Burtchville, United States

    2013 season

    • September  2013  - tree owned by Dave in Santa Barbara, United States
    • 4th week August  2013  - tree owned by Chris in Smithttown, United States

    2011 season

    • 4th week September  2011  - tree owned by v in Lucknow, Canada

    2010 season

    • 4th week October  2010  - tree owned by Larry in Corvallis, United States

    Origins

    • Species: Malus domestica
    • Parentage: Unknown, probably 18th century French variety
    • Introduced: Early 18th century

    Using

    • Picking season: Late
    • Cropping: Heavy
    • Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
    • Flavor style (apples): Sweeter
    • Flavor style (apples): Vinous
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Juice

    Growing

    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
    • Flowering group: 2
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Bearing regularity: Biennial tendency

    Climate

    • Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)

    Identification

    • Country of origin: Canada
    • Period of origin: 1650 - 1699
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Fruit colour: Crimson

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Fameuse apple trees for sale:

    • Cummins Nursery
      United States  More >>

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Fameuse:

    United States


    Canada


    Australia




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