Freyberg is another apple variety developed by New Zealander J.H Kidd in the 1930s and 1940s, in his quest to combine the best characteristics of Cox's Orange Pippin and with some of the American varieties. Freyberg is a cross between Golden Delicious and Cox's Orange Pippin, and in this case it is Golden Delicious which is most apparent in the offspring. (For a very different take on this combination, try Rubinette).
Kidd did not live to see the "birth" of Freyberg. He died in 1945, but a collection of his trial seedlings was bequeathed to the New Zealand Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, which planted them in research orchards and raised them to bearing age. Freyberg was one of the most promising of these, and was released in 1959. It was named after Lord Bernard Freyberg, the Governor-General of New Zealand from 1946 to 1952. The variety name is often mis-spelled as Freyburg. There is more information about Freyberg's interesting life story on Wikipedia.
You would have thought that with two such excellent parents, Freyberg could not fail to be a superb apple. In fact, Freyberg is a very nice apple, but perhaps not a great one. J.H. Kidd was also responsible for two other famous varieties: Kidd's Orange Red and Gala, both of which have Cox in their make-up. Kidd's Orange Red in particular has that extra something that marks out the top quality apple, and Gala has the distinction of being one of the most commercially successful apple varieties. Freyberg somehow does not quite live up to the standards set by its cousins.
Gala is in fact a cross between Kidd's Orange Red and Golden Delicious. A comparison of Gala and Freyberg is therefore a way of looking at the effect of the richness of a Cox, applied in varying degrees on the easy-going sweet flavour of Golden Delicious.
Freyberg is very rarely available for sale, so you will have to grow your own. Like Golden Delicious (and unlike Cox) it is a reliable tree and fairly easy to grow.
Freyberg is not a great apple, but for everyday eating it is sweet and refreshing. It is a fairly small nicely shaped golden green apple - pretty much what you would expect from a small Golden Delicious. The flesh is white and crisp but not hard. The flavour is sweet and can have a distinct flavour pear-like note to it. In terms of flavor it is perhaps best considered a very sophisticated Golden Delicious. Like Golden Delicious it also keeps well.
Freyberg apple identification images
All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.
USDA identification images for Freyberg
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.
Siblings of this variety (same parentage)
- Rubinette - Freyberg takes after Golden Delicious, whereas Rubinette takes after Cox
- Kidd's Orange Red - Developed by same breeder - J.H. Kidd of New Zealand
- 09 Aug 2022 FinnVery enjoyable apple to eat. Juicy, sweetish subtle complex richness. Must be properly tree ripend. Reliable and precious. Highly recommend. My Favourite Kidd creation. better than Gala or golden delicious.
- 07 Mar 2022 TubberTYPE A CHOICE BELOW ..., New ZealandDelightful sweet apple. A lot better than the site's description would have you believe.
- 20 Sep 2020 Mark WeaverOR, United StatesI also find myself disagreeing with the official tasting notes. As grown here in western Oregon, Freyberg seems quite different from Golden Delicious. It has superficial similarity in texture and appearance, but has subtle and distinctive fruit flavors totally absent in the Golden, most notably including banana and perhaps a bare hint of pineapple. I much prefer it to Kidd's Orange Red (which I also grow) as a snack apple, and think it would make a remarkable addition to a salad if its natural sweetness were used to complement more tart/acidic ingredients. One of the few apples that I would rate as mild and yet distinctive in flavor. To each his own?
- 22 Apr 2019 PeterVICTORIA, AustraliaI think your description of this variety condemns it with faint praise. I have grown it now for several years and find it one of the most distinctively flavoured apples. It is sweet but with an intense licorice flavour. Perhaps this is a result of local climate but I think it is one of the best flavoured apples. It is not as crunchy as I would like but still quite acceptable. It is also crops heavily and consistently. I rank it very highly among the 30 or so varieties that I grow.
- 27 Apr 2017 Nicole JamisonTASMANIA, AustraliaRight there with you, Tiffany! Left on the tree until they are orange, then stored for a few weeks, Freyberg are sensational. Complex, aniseed, crunchy, they leave my palate tingling, numb and delighted for an hour.
- 18 Mar 2015 TiffanyVICTORIA, AustraliaJust ate my first Freyberg, straight from our 2 year old espalier. I accidentally knocked it off while pruning, so a little bit early. It was flushed with orange from the sun, and very fragrant. As I cut it open, I noticed how dry it was, and didn't have much hope that it would taste ripe. From the first bite, the complexity was a symphony on the tongue - first a sweet orange tang, then an intense aniseed burst followed by a lingering honeyed pear - I've never had a apple like it! I'm patiently waiting for the others to ripen to taste their full potential.
- 11 Oct 2013 KarimUnited StatesA fairly plain looking small yellow/green apple, with an uncomplicated sweet juicy character, an ideal variety for children who love sweet apples.
- 15 Nov 2008 DougMANCHESTER, United KingdomI grow many varieties of apple and in my view Freyberg is one of the very best. It has a very sweet and aromatic taste and is one that I always look forward to eating. It is also a heavy cropper and pretty healthy. In my view it is a great apple indeed.
- Sean Cremin in NEWCASTLE WEST,
- Erik Nordenson in Cobourg, ONTARIO
Spring blossom records for this variety
- October 2022 - tree owned by Tubber in Christchurch, New Zealand
- 18th April 2020 - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
- 24th April 2019 - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
- 8th May 2018 - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
- 15th October 2010 - tree owned by Mark in Rangiora, New Zealand
Harvest records for this variety
- Species: Malus domestica - Apple
- Parentage: Golden Delicious x Cox
- Originates from: New Zealand
- Introduced: 1934
- UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1961-065
- Country of origin: New Zealand
- Period of origin: 1900 - 1949
- Fruit colour: Green - light
- Flower colour: Pink - light
- Leaf colour: Green
- Popularity: Rarely grown
- Annual cycle: Deciduous
- Picking season: Late
- Keeping (of fruit): 1-2 months
- Flavour quality: Very good
- Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
- Discoloration of fruit: No discoloration (Good for drying)
- Cropping: Heavy
- Fruit persistence: Persistent
- Food uses: Eating fresh
- Picking period: mid-October
- Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators
- Gardening skill: Average
- Flowering group: 3
- Pollinating others: Average
- Ploidy: Diploid
- Vigour: Weak growing
- Bearing regularity: Regular
- Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
- Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
- Cold hardiness (USDA): (4) -30F / -34C
- Climate suitability: Temperate climates
- Climate suitability: Warm climates
- Summer average maximum temperatures: Cool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)
- Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
- Disease resistance: Average
- Scab (Apple and Pear): Some susceptibility
- Fire blight: Some susceptibility
Where to buy trees
The following tree nurseries offer Freyberg apple trees for sale:
- Orange Pippin Fruit Trees (USA) United States
Freyberg apple trees
- Cummins Nursery
United States More >>
- Keepers Nursery
United Kingdom More >>
Where to buy fresh fruit
The following orchards grow Freyberg:
- Heritage Fruits Society, Fairfield
- Apples for the 21st Century