For an exceptional eating apple, look no further than the rare Winter Gem. It has an outstandingly aromatic, appley flavour with just the right mix of acid, juiciness and sweetness. Ripening in late October (perfect timing for apple bobbing!) it is one of the last eaters to crop and in that time it has developed a really complex and special taste. The green fruit are flushed with red, medium sized and very attractive on a tree which is extremely resistant to bitter pit and cankers of all sorts. It flowers in the first half of May producing white and fragrant blossom and will act as a pollinator for other apple trees. Talking of which, if you would prefer a different apple, have a look at the rest of our range of apple trees for sale.
With its sensational, rich taste and keeping properties Winter Gem is a really useful apple tree to have in the orchard extending the apple season by some margin. It also needs a pollinating partner so you could plan your apple season to begin with Discovery in August, Blenheim Orange in September and then Winter Gem for October knowing that they will all pollinate each other so that you will maximise your crop. It does not produce a massive crop so it will not overwhelm you with fruit. Winter Gem is not commercially grown so you will not see it anywhere else other than the odd entrepreneurial farm shop which almost makes it worth growing in the first place. For those motivated by aesthetics you can always drape a climber through the branches of your tree to make it a feature in your garden too: the lovely Gertrude Jekyll would be an appropriate date or choose one of the stronger Honeysuckles to wind their fragrant way up into it. Apple trees are such a bonus in a garden not least for the shade they can give in the summer too - be a little bit Japanese and plan a picnic party under its blossom in a few years time!
The Winter Gem apple was first raised by Hugh Ermen in Kent in 1975 making it a relatively modern apple. The parents were the famous Cox's Orange Pippin and the relatively unknown Grimes Golden, an American cider apple that looks just like Golden Delicious. It is always fascinating to wonder why Mr Ermen chose to cross these two apples but he struck a rich seam when he did. It was then introduced onto the market in 1993 in Worcestershire by Frank P Matthews to whom we have to be very grateful for keeping this wonderful apple in circulation.