Lynd Family Farm's top-selling apple is SunCrisp, a variety that is rarely grown commercially and unlikely to be found in a supermarket.
Mitch Lynd, who operates Lynd Family Farm, a fruit-growing and direct-marketing operation at Pataskala, Ohio, said SunCrisp is a yellow apple with an orange cheek. It matures in October and has good storability.
The variety was developed at Rutgers University, by one of the scientists involved in the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois cooperative breeding program. Its parents are Golden Delicious and an unnamed cross of Cortland and Cox's Orange Pippin.
Lynd planted test trees of SunCrisp before it was named. It performed so well that he ordered a substantial quantity for commercial plantings.
"It's outstanding," Lynd enthused. "It's exactly what you would expect if you could combine Cox's Orange Pippin and the best that Golden Delicious has to offer."
It is one of the latest blooming apples at the Lynd orchard. After a spring freeze in 2007, it was one of only two varieties out of the 38 that Lynd grows that produced almost a full crop. Most varieties produced nothing.
"It's a wonderful apple," he said. "It fell through the cracks. Nobody knows and nobody cares. I don't know of anyone else who grows it."
However, in some areas it will russet, he said. "I think that's one of the reasons it was frowned upon immediately. Cosmetically, it flunked. The commercial growers that are servicing the supermarket people are obsessed with cosmetic superiority, and they will gladly accept taste mediocrity in order to get cosmetic superiority."
And it also is extremely susceptible to fireblight. "I think what spelled the doom of SunCrisp early on was there was a commercial planting in Oregon," Lynd added. "The first year it bloomed heavily, almost every tree was killed by fireblight. SunCrisp is super sensitive. It's almost an indicator plant on whether the fireblight organism is present."
The Midwest Apple Improvement Association has been using SunCrisp as a parent for the crosses in its breeding program, but Lynd said they always cross it with a variety that is highly resistant to fireblight.
SunCrisp trees are available from Adams County Nursery in Pennsylvania.