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

Prairie Spy apple

Prairie Spy is one of the earliest apple varieties developed by the University of Minnesota.  It was selected in 1923 from seeds planted in 1914, and introduced commercially in 1940. It was known as Minnesota 1007 during its development period.

The parentage of Prairie Spy is not certain, but the name, and its growth characteristics and fruit appearance suggest it is probably a seedling of Northern Spy - but this is not certain.

At this time the University's main focus was the introduction of cold-hardy varieties and Prairie Spy is well-known for its ability to survive in zone 4 winters. However it performs well in warmer zones as well.

Although grown commercially for a period in Minnesota, Prairie Spy (like Northern Spy) is not best-suited to the needs of commercial growers.  For example, it can take several years to start bearing, and fruit size can be highly variable.

Most tasting tests rate Prairie Spy as having an excellent well-balanced sweet flavor.


Prairie Spy identification photos

UK National Fruit Collection
UK National Fruit Collection
©Crown Copyright more >

  • Prairie Spy
    Copyright: Orange Pippin

Visitor reviews

  • 29 Sep 2019  Cindy Gilbertson,  ILLINOIS, United States
    the Prairie Spy is a delicious and crisp apple that reminded me of a Honeycrisp. I have 1 tree and next year I shall have more.
  • 29 Apr 2017  Jill_Oslund@Hotmail.Com,  MINNESOTA, United States
    I have had the pleasure of enjoying these apples for 34 years. My mother in law planted it before my husband and I move on the farm. It is over 40 years old!Great for eating off the tree and best for baking.
  • 20 Nov 2016  Clark,  United States
    Excellent Apple!
  • 14 Oct 2015  Jan,  MN, United States
    I loved it at first taste.

Tree register

United States

Spring blossom records for this variety

2019 season

  • 11th June  2019  - tree owned by Steven in Skandia, United States

2018 season

  • April  2018  - tree owned by Margie in ELKO, United States

2012 season

  • 6th May  2012  - tree owned by Florian in Brush Prairie, United States

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

Harvest records for this variety

2018 season

  • 2nd week October  2018  - tree owned by Margie in ELKO, United States

2013 season

  • 3rd week August  2013  - tree owned by V. in Bruce Crossing, United States

2011 season

  • 1st week October  2011  - tree owned by Erin in Minneapolis, United States


  • Species: Malus domestica
  • Parentage: Unknown, but probably Northern Spy
  • Originates from: Excelsior, MN, United States
  • Introduced: 1940
  • Developed by: University of Minnesota
  • Orange Pippin Cultivar ID: 1844
  • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1951-062


  • Uses: Eat fresh
  • Uses: Cooking
  • Flavour quality: Very good
  • Flavour style: Sweeter
  • Harvest period: Late season
  • Use / keeping: 3 months or more


  • Cropping: Good
  • Flowering period: Mid season
  • Flowering group: 3
  • Fertility: Self-sterile
  • Vigour: Average growth
  • Precocity: Slow to start bearing
  • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
  • General disease resistance: Good
  • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999

Parents and other ancestors of this variety


  • Scab  - Some resistance
  • Fireblight  - Some susceptibility
  • Cedar apple rust  - Some resistance

Where to buy fresh fruit

United States

©2019 Orange Pippin Ltd. All rights reserved.

You may not reproduce any of the content of this website without our express permission.
We do not accept any liability for loss or damage incurred as a result of any errors in the content of this website.