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

Prairie Spy apple

Malus domestica

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.


USDA identification images for Prairie Spy

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.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Visitor reviews

    • 07 Sep 2022 
      This tree is great for pies and apple butter. Is Disease, and Japanese beetle resistant. Large late season fruit, that produces to point you think limbs will break!
    • 29 Sep 2019  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  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  United States
      Excellent Apple!
    • 14 Oct 2015  MN, United States
      I loved it at first taste.

    Tree register

    United States

    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2022 season

    • 30th April  2022  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States
    • 30th April  2022  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    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

    2022 season

    • 2nd week September  2022  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States
    • 2nd week September  2022  - tree owned by Gil in Snohomish, United States

    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 - Apple
    • Parentage: Wealthy x Northwest Greening
    • Originates from: Excelsior, MN, United States
    • Introduced: 1940
    • Developed by: University of Minnesota
    • UK National Fruit Collection accession: 1951-062


    • Country of origin: United States
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Developer: University of Minnesota


    • Picking season: Late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Very good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
    • Cropping: Good
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Culinary


    • Flowering group: 3
    • Vigour: Average vigour
    • Precocity: Slow to start bearing
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 3 (-40C)

    Other qualities

    • Disease resistance: Good

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Prairie Spy:

    United States

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