Adopt a Milwaukee Apple Tree

Adopt a Milwaukee Apple Tree!

MKE apple draftJoin Slow Food WiSE and a growing number of orchardists, chefs, and food activists who are bringing antique apples back to our tables by “adopting” your own Milwaukee Apple tree!  Plus you can order a second tree to ensure pollination. Choose from one of four additional Wisconsin varietals to complement your Milwaukee tree–Pewaukee, Oneida, Wolf River and Northwest Greening. 

In year four of the great Milwaukee Apple Tree grow out, the varietal remains extremely rare.  
Just one of hundreds of thousands of endangered foods, Slow Food WiSE has “adopted” the Milwaukee varietal because of its ties to our region and exceptional taste. It also makes a great story-drawing attention to the fact that FAO estimates the world has lost ~98% of its unique foods in the past century.

You can help recover forgotten fruits!

Grow your own Antique Apple Trees & Support Antique Apple Growers and Producers:

 

Choose to buy a Milwaukee Apple tree and if your planting spot does not already have apple trees, flowering crabs, or hawthorns nearby, we highly recommend you buy a pollinator tree. ** See varietal information below. 

Things to consider when buying an apple tree:

  • Bench grafted trees are tiny and require patience; they may take ~ 5 years to produce fruit.
  • Trees will be on P2 rootstock: a hardy, dwarfing rootstock that requires staking.
  • Apple trees are not self-pollinating-if you do not have another apple tree in your neighborhood nearby, we encourage you to purchase at least two trees of different varieties.
  • Apples can survive in a variety of conditions, but they do need sun, space, good soil that drains, and someone to promise to tend to them throughout the years. They also will need protection from things like pests (think deer or cats) and lawn mowers.  We have recommendations for you.
  • These trees will grow to about ~10 feet.
  • Slow Food WiSE will provide support for all your apple tree care questions. If we don’t know the answer, we can ask our network of orchardist friends.

*Varietals:

  • Milwaukee: This seedling apple varietal was found under a Duchess tree and then developed by George Jeffrey of Milwaukee, WI.  It appeared in commerce around 1899.  It’s tough but thin skin is greenish yellow and marbled, blushed with reds. Its yellowish white flesh is tender and with a pleasant tart, green apple flavor.  The Milwaukee Apple is wonderful in pies, in cider, and good for most uses except as a fresh eating apple, unless sliced paper thin and paired with a Wisconsin cheese. * Ripens: Oct
  •  Pewaukee: Origin: Wisconsin 1870 * Ripens: Oct * Medium/large apple with firm white flesh, coarse and juicy. Good fresh eating and cooking. Keeps well.
  • Oneida: Origin: Uncertain.*Sweet, delicious flesh, tender yellow skin, good for eating fresh and drying.  Tony of Maple Valley reports that he was given the Oneida Variety by a friend and member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who said it has historically been used by tribal members for drying.
  • Wolf River:  Origin: Fremont, Wisconsin prior to 1881 * Ripens: Sept/Oct * Uses: Baking, Pies, Sauce * Enormous fruits, often 1 lb. or more, famous for one pie from one fruit. Pale yellow skin almost covered with pale dull red. Soft, tender, creamy white flesh. Mostly used for baking and pies, but in the right climate on sandy soil it becomes a good dessert apple. Resistant to scab, mildew, fire blight and cedar apple rust.  Large apple suitable for cooking and drying.
  • Northwestern Greening:  Origin: Waupaca, Wisconsin 1872 * Ripens: Oct * Uses: Baking, Pies, Sauce. * The big yellow pie apple of the north. It is grown throughout the North Central States. Beneath its tough skin the greenish yellow flesh is firm, juicy and mildly tart. Best when cooked into sauce or made into pies as it does not rate high for fresh eating: a good keeper.