Spartan is a super little eating apple. It boasts a glorious red colour that deepens to a maroon red when fully ripe with whiter than white, crisp and fine flesh. Visually therefore it is tempting to eat and in practice its sweet, slightly vinous flavour makes it very popular. Cropping in October it is a relatively late eater. Its single, white blossom is very pretty and is at its best in the first half of May. Spartan is very much not so in that it is fulsome with its crop which it bears generously every year, rarely succumbing to any of the common apple maladies like scab or canker. It lives up to its name however in being hardy in frost pockets and grows well and easily even in the far North. A good choice, but you can also take a look at the rest of our apple trees if Spartan is not for you.
Being an excellent pollinator, Spartan is a useful apple to include in an orchard where you may have triploid or other Groups B-D apples. Leave the apples on the tree for as long as you can because the flavour improves as the colour deepens. The apples do not store well because the flesh becomes woolly and soft. Keep them for up to a week only. Spartan juice is delicious and well worth the trouble so if you have excess fruit, juice them and freeze what you can. With its blossom early in May you could also surround Spartan with an array of bulbs to make for a wonderful spring display. Some Triumph tulips like Blueberry Ripple would look fantastic and continue with the fruity theme or go for the elegant Lily Tulips - White Triumphator would look lovely.
This apple has nothing to do with Greece at all and in fact and unusually is the product of a formal scientific breeding programme carried out during the 1920s in Summerland, British Columbia. Rarely do we find apple varieties coming from the Americas to us but it has proved to be a fortunate move and the apple is now grown widely across the UK having been introduced in 1936. One of Spartan's parents is the American apple McIntosh which also displays the deeply coloured skin and white flesh that we see in Spartan. Its pollen parent is said to be Newtown Pippin.