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

Grimes Golden apple

Grimes Golden is a 19th century apple from the USA.  You may not have heard of it, but if it looks familiar it is not surprising - this is almost certainly the parent of Golden Delicious, and therefore a distant ancestor of a great number of the apple varieties on this website.

One of our listed suppliers, Stephen Cummins of Cummins Nursery recalls his Great Grandfather planted 20 acres of this variety at the start of the 20th century - a good illustration of how important this variety was commercially at that time.  However, by the 1930s its success had waned, as growers turned to its offspring Golden Delicious instead, which offered more consistent production and higher yields.  If Grimes Golden has a weakness it is its irregular production.

The main characteristics of Grimes Golden, which are also found in Golden Delicious are the clean dry finish, very slight russeting tendency, somewhat prominent lenticels (the attractive speckles on the skin) and the slightly tall shape with a hint of ribs.  The long stalk, which often remains attached to the fruit after picking, is generally a reliable indicator of Golden Delicious / Grimes Golden heritage in all its offspring.  Even Rubinette, that most Cox-like of Golden Delicious crosses, has the familiar long stalk.

Grimes Golden is one of a relatively select group of apple varieties that are self-fertile.  Golden Delicious is not self-fertile, but is usually considered partially self-fertile.

All in all it is quite difficult to tell Grimes Golden and Golden Delicious apart from a simple visual inspection.  However, when it comes to flavour, there is a noticeable difference.  As might be expected Grimes Golden is crisp and sweet - however, the sweetness is richer than in Golden Delicious, and most tasters agree that Grimes Golden has the superior flavour.  There's a hint of rich spiciness in Grimes Golden which is completely absent in Golden Delicious and indeed all its descendants ... with the possible exception of Rubinette.

Grimes Golden identification images

  • Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October
  • Grimes Golden in Oregon, early October
  • Grimes Golden at the UK National Fruit Collection

USDA identification images for Grimes Golden

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


  • Year: 1905

  • Year: 1928

  • Year: 1924

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

Visitor reviews

  • 27 Jul 2022 
    Grimes and Yellow delicious are both good but Grimes is more tart and to me tastes better. We had 110 acres of apple trees when I grew up and some were Grimes. Seems only older people have ever heard of them but not surprised as you never find them in the store and most people don’t grow them. Sad as they really are a great apple.
  • 30 Jun 2022 
    The Grimes Golden is a very old variety but one of the best there is. We raised Grimes my whole life until job moved me too far away. Too bad I can never find them in the store and people around eastern Kansas just do not raise them anymore. What a shame as they are excellent.
  • 11 Apr 2022 
    this was always my favorite when went to the orchard with my dad and i wish it was still available if i had enough years left i would set some out
  • 02 Sep 2021  WEST VIRGINIA, United States
    My grandparents used this apple to make apple butter using a copper kettle. My mom and dad continued the tradition of making apple butter in a copper kettle every year. Grimes Golden is the only apple they would use unless it was an off year for apple production due to late frosts. It makes the best apple butter because it makes the best apple sauce. My brothers and I have continued that tradition of making apple butter using the same copper kettle that my grandparents used. We have also bought several other copper kettles to make apple butter since our family size has increased. (I have 5 brothers.) Grimes Golden is definitely the best apple there is to make apple sauce or apple butter.
  • 21 Nov 2020  MARYLAND, United States
    Makes the best applesauce. I'm 70 and this is the variety my grandmother used every fall to make her sauce. She froze instead of canning it. It's getting hard to find orchards selling it now.
  • 08 Oct 2018  WA, United States
    Bought organic Grimes Golden at our local supermarket to saute with onions for pork chops. What a superb cooking apple! The taste was delicious--tart with a hint of sweetness. The apple slices stood up well. Will definitely get this variety again. Would like to try it as one of several varieties in pie.
  • 13 Mar 2016  WA/KITTITAS, United States
    We have one Grimes Golden tree in a small orchard that was old and well-established when we bought our land in the late 1980's. It is the best apple we have ever tasted, sweet and crunchy, with the characteristics that others have mentioned. The apples are rounder than Golden Delicious, of varying sizes and it does not produce as heavily as the GD next to it, but has a far superior flavor. It is heavenly when fresh, also dries well, cans well, keeps well, and has a sweet and pleasant fragrance. The yellow jackets love to eat the apples on this tree. Of the 6 different varieties we have, this tree is the only one they like because it is the sweetest. We did not know what kind it was until we found it on your website, but we are now sure it is a Grimes Golden. Thank you!
  • 07 Sep 2015  NW VA, United States
    Got my first crop in 5-6 years from M111. When fully ripe, has a red blush on yellow, firm, crisp white flesh and spicy flavor. Tastes a little like Ginger Gold apple, a great relative. Highly recommended.
  • 24 May 2015  OREGON, United States
    I have five Grimes trees in my small hobby orchard. They produce biennially, except that sometimes you get two good years in a row. You know when Grimes is ripe because the fruit drops. Better get the fruit off the ground before the raccoons get to them! This wonderful apple is among the best to eat fresh, and it stores into February. It cooks into good pies. The skin is not tough or bitter, and the fruit is somewhat resistant to bruising. This apple makes the best apple jelly you would want. I am planting more of these trees with the goal of using them, along with some more bitter fruit, in cider.
  • 23 Aug 2014  MICHIGAN / KALAMAZOO COUNTY, United States
    I grew up on a small orchard, and started one of my own about 15 years ago. Grimes Golden was my mother's favorite, so I planted her a tree. When I got my first taste, 11 years later, it was the best Apple I had ever eaten. I now use them to make the best apple butter I've ever tasted. If I can find another tree or two, I'll be planting more.
  • 23 Feb 2014  OREGON BENTON, United States
    I just found out my tree is not a Golden Delicious but a Grimes Golden. It has an absolutely wonderful taste and a juicy crunch. It ripens later than Golden D and so seems to keep better lasts longer in n my limited experience Lynnie B Corvallis Oregon
  • 21 Oct 2013  WASHINGTON, United States
    Among this year's new taste treats, I was introduced to Grimes Golden, offered at Feil Pioneer Fruit, E. Wenatchee, Washington. A more interesting apple in flavor than Golden Delicious, its probable progeny, with a more barrel shape and no russet among this lot at all. Wonder if I shall ever taste cider made from it?
  • 18 Oct 2011  MARSHALLTOWN, United States
    This was my mother's favorite apple back in Ohio in the l950's and 60's. It's also my favorite. They are hard to find in Iowa where we now live but Story Book Orchard near Story City Iowa has a dozen trees or so. I just bought a bushel.
  • 12 Feb 2011  VA., United States
    Having been in the produce business for 50 years,I have tried a lot of apples. There is nothing that tastes like a Grimes!
  • 11 Dec 2010  ID, United States
    We had a small orchard of Grimes Golden in Butler County, MO when growing up in the 50 & 60s, they were very old trees, probably planted about 1900. They are simply the best all round apple for eating and cooking, don't get mushy, but cook to a soft stage that is perfect for pies. We dried them by the bushel, since canning took too many jars and lids were expensive. Dried apple pies are the best thing yet! Now that I live in the intermountain west at 5000 ft elevation, on an old apple orchard/farm, I want a tree. Is it possible it would be able to bear fruit here? We are in the southern part of Idaho, often referred to as the banana belt, since our weather is relatively mild for the area.
  • 31 Oct 2009  WHEELERSBURG, OH, United States
    These apples make the best fried apples that one could ever imagine. They are also great for pies. My Grandma had several around the farm when I was very young. Fried apples made in a skillet on the old wood cook stove. Simply the best!
  • 20 Oct 2009  KALKASKA, MICHIGAN, United States
    The farm down the road had a Grimes golden tree. I planted two semi dwarf grimes in 1985 and enjoy the apples every year. The flavor can t be beat. A slight pear taste. You can t stop eating them
  • 21 Jan 2009  GREENUP, GREENUP, KENTUCKY, United States
    I first tasted one on an old farm when I was about ten years old. I have never forgotten the wonderful, spicy sweet flavor and the russet texture and color. It has always been my favorite apple!

Tree register

United States

United Kingdom

Canada

Australia

Spring blossom records for this variety

2022 season

  • 24th May  2022  - tree owned by Blair in Squilax, Canada

2021 season

  • 4th May  2021  - tree owned by Milovan in Ellington, United States

2020 season

  • April  2020  - tree owned by Rebecca in Lafayette, United States
  • 29th March  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2019 season

  • 22nd May  2019  - tree owned by Jim in Crivitz, United States
  • 13th April  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2018 season

  • 30th March  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2016 season

  • June  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States
  • 19th April  2016  - tree owned by Brian in Jackson, United States

2014 season

  • 6th May  2014  - tree owned by George in Riverside, United States

2011 season

  • 20th May  2011  - tree owned by Ron in Orion, United States

2010 season

  • 16th May  2010  - tree owned by Peggy in Randleman, United States

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


Harvest records for this variety

2021 season

  • 3rd week September  2021  - tree owned by Jim in Crivitz, United States

2020 season

  • 3rd week September  2020  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2019 season

  • 4th week September  2019  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States
  • 3rd week September  2019  - tree owned by Jim in Crivitz, United States

2018 season

  • 1st week September  2018  - tree owned by Jerry in Point Reyes Station, United States

2016 season

  • 3rd week September  2016  - tree owned by B. in Searsmont, United States

2015 season

  • September  2015  - tree owned by Roger in Madison Heights, United States

2014 season

  • 4th week September  2014  - tree owned by Lynnie in Corvallis, United States

2013 season

  • 2nd week October  2013  - tree owned by Alison in Albion, United States
  • October  2013  - tree owned by baker3@wildblue.net in Thawville, United States

2010 season

  • 1st week September  2010  - tree owned by Peggy in Randleman, United States

2009 season

  • 3rd week September  2009  - tree owned by Glenda in Gold Hill, United States

Origins

  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Unknown
  • Introduced: 1830s

Using

  • Picking season: Late
  • Cropping: Good
  • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
  • Flavor style (apples): Sweeter
  • Food uses: Eating fresh
  • Food uses: Culinary
  • Food uses: Juice
  • Discoloration of fruit: Slightly oxidising (browns slowly)

Growing

  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Ploidy: Diploid
  • Bearing regularity: Regular

Climate

  • Cold hardiness (USDA): (5) -20F / -29C
  • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)

Identification

  • Country of origin: United States
  • Period of origin: 1800 - 1849
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Fruit colour: Green / Yellow

Where to buy trees

The following tree nurseries offer Grimes Golden apple trees for sale:


Where to buy fresh fruit

The following orchards grow Grimes Golden:

United States


United Kingdom


Canada




References

  • Cedar-Apple Rust  
    Author: Stephen Vann, University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture (FSA7538)
    Rated as resistant - control only needed under high disease pressure.
  • Apples for the 21st Century
    Author: Manhart

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