Heirloom “Christmas” Apple from Corralitas, Ca 1890s
Peter Hauer (1859-1951), an apple grower based in Pleasant Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountains, named the variety Hauer Pippin apparently to indicate a genetic lineage to Cox Orange Pippin.
The Hauer Pippin is an exceptional variety with many good qualities. Pippin’ is a small to medium apple and remarkable for its rich, deep red skin speckled with distinctive russet dots. Inside, the apple has crisp, juicy, firm flesh. The flesh has a complex flavor with some tartness and caramel hints. The apples can be left on the tree till December in California, and because of its colorful appearance and late season, it has been dubbed “the Christmas apple” by some retailers. It is used fresh for eating, dessert, cooking (puree, applesauce, apple butter), baking, juice, or hard cider. It stores very well because it is harvested so late, is very crisp and dense, and has a thick skin.
Its value remains appreciated in Santa Cruz County where it continues to be grown as a specialty orchard crop. It ripens very late (November) and keeps well, making it a good variety for the holiday market. It has been a popular variety with California organic orchardists because of its resistance to disease and insect pests. It seems to be bothered less by codling moth damage than most other apples.
In Aleta Watson’s article HEIRLOOM VARIETIES BRING BACK FORGOTTEN FLAVORS she interviewed Joe Stabile of Hillview Farm (outside Watsonville). “One of Stabile’s rarest apples is the Hauer pippin, a late-ripening hybrid created in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the late 19th century by Pete Hauer, who called it Moonglow. Stabile took cuttings from old trees in nearby hills and propagated them in his orchard. It’s a beautiful apple with
skin that runs from green to red and is dotted with tiny, white spots. His guess is it’s a cross between a Black Twig and Cox’s Orange pippin. ”I love it because it’s a local apple,” he says. ”It’s got stars all over — you can identify it anywhere.”
At Love Creek Farm, one Hauer Pippin lives on a hillside slope laying flat on the ground. Over time, erosion and lack of pruning have taken its toll on the tree’s health. The tree is valued as a Heritage Apple Tree, and we are maintaining it by pruning tall branches, fertilizing, and cutting down surrounding trees that pose a threat.
Late August, 2019: The tree has grown really well and is producing many apples. It has self-propagated a new, small tree which produced fruit this year. We also successfully grafted this tree, and we look forward to planting more on the hillside.
We are making hard cider on Labor Day, 2019, and I picked this apple early due to the timing. It is typically red and sweet in late Fall.