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 Hawkeye Apples 
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
Posts: 143
Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Hawkeye Apples
I loved the red delicious apples from my childhood. Medium sized, narrow base with 5 lobes, not all that red, distinctive flavor, and very crunchy. I won't even buy the nice looking, large, really red delicious from the markets. They are always tasteless and mealy.

I'm hearing that those old delicious apples can still be had under the name Hawkeye. Is anyone growing them? Can anyone verify, before I invest in a tree, take up an available space, and use up 5-6 years of my time?


Fri May 21, 2010 11:07 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1147
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I knew the apple came from Iowa but have never read such a detailed account as follows:

“One cool spring morning about 1880, a farmer in Madison County, Iowa, named Jesse Hiatt was walking the rows of his young orchard when he noticed a chance seedling growing between the rows. An orderly man, he preferred that his trees grow in an organized fashion, and he chopped the seedling down. The seedling grew back the following year, and so he chopped it down again. When the seedling sprouted back up a third time, legend has it Mr. Hiatt said to the tree, "If thee must grow, thee may."

Hiatt nurtured the tree for 10 years. When it finally came to fruition, Hiatt was pleased with the red and yellow streaked appearance and the sweet, impressive flavor. He named it the Hawkeye after his adopted home state and began to seek a nursery to propagate his discovery. Eight or 10 of them turned him down before his big break came.

He sent some of the fruit to a contest in Louisiana, Missouri, which was seeking new varieties of fruit trees, especially apples. The Stark Brothers Fruit Company held the competition as part of their search for an apple tree to replace the then-most-popular tree, the Ben Davis. The Ben Davis apple had a nice appearance and was durable in shipping and weather-hardy but lacking in flavor. When Clarence Stark tasted the apple with the unusual oblong shape and the distinctive five bumps on the bottom, he pronounced it "Delicious!" Unfortunately, due to some poor record keeping, Hiatt's name and address were lost, and it wasn't until Hiatt reentered the competition the following year that his Hawkeye was officially declared the winner.

The Stark Brothers Fruit Company bought the rights to Hiatt's discovery and began taking cuttings from the original tree at Hiatt's Winterset farm. Study led them to the conclusion that this new variety was probably the result of an accidental cross of two very old varieties, the Bellflower and the Winesap. Sixty years later, Stark had sold more than 10 million trees worldwide that were all descendants of that original tree. They had renamed Hiatt's Hawkeye after Clarence Stark's original pronouncement, and the Delicious apple was on its way to becoming the most popular apple variety in the world.

Back in Winterset, the original tree continued to flourish in a state that was second only to Michigan in apple production. In 1940, on Armistice Day, a ferocious ice storm leveled Iowa's orchards, a blast from which Iowa's apple industry would never fully recover. With orchards being expensive to replant and war on the horizon, most orchards were turned into corn and soybean fields. Hiatt's Hawkeye was split in two during the storm, and newspapers and radio commentators across the state lamented the demise of the historic tree. As Hiatt had noted all those years ago, though, this little tree "must grow." The following spring it sent up a new sprout, phoenix-like, right from the middle of the split and thrives to this day not far from the historic covered bridges in Madison County. It has a monument to it, a fence and a private horticulturist to protect it, as well as a festival in its honor in Donnellson, Iowa.

Image
Today, the fruit that bears the Delicious name bears little resemblance to that original Hawkeye. The yellow streaks are gone, replaced by a bright red shine. They are bred for shelf life, durability, and crunch but have lost their original flavor. How ironic that it now resembles the very same attributes of the Ben Davis that led Stark to seek a replacement.”


A passed friend of mine’s favorite apple from her ancient and diversified orchard was her “Strawberry Delicious.” After grafting it into my orchard, and having eaten plenty of hers, I suspect it’s much closer to the original than what you’d now find at Safeway… It’s conical, lobbed, crisp & sweet! Truly Delicious!

I’ve no personal experience with the ‘Hawkeye Apple,’ but suspect I’ve got one of its closer descendants; it’s hardly ‘red’ at all. I’d take the chance on a Hawkeye - though I think these apple trees take longer than most to establish fruit spurs … but with such an amazing history they're likely worth the wait :wink:

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Fri May 21, 2010 4:45 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1329
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I have also heard that a) the old ones are great, 2) they are not at all like the new ones, III) the old one is sometimes called Hawkeye, iiii) they are hard to find.
John S
PDX OR


Fri May 21, 2010 5:29 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I know nothing except these people advertise it.

http://wagonwheelorchard.blogspot.com/2 ... es_27.html

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Fri May 21, 2010 10:19 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 186
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
There definitely are Hawkeye apples and specialty nurseries will sell them.....the historic Piper orchard in Seattle has three of them....but unfortunately these particular apple trees seem to be stricken with a problem that has affected the size....

www.pipersorchard.org

Many people love the Hawkeye.....

I have made many attempts to see if the original Hawkeye tree in Peru, Iowa is still alive.....it was still alive as of ten years ago, but I don't know if it is still alive now.


Sun May 23, 2010 1:12 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
Posts: 143
Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
Oh my goodness. Wouldn't it be fun to get scion wood from the original tree!

If it is still living, I would bet that it is frowned upon to be cutting branches off of it.


Wed May 26, 2010 3:56 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1147
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
The original tree may be infected with a virus. Can you imagine how many ‘dirty shears’ have snipped away at it! And as there have been so many “improvements” made to this cultivar, there likely isn’t enough interest in the original tree to remove a virus by ‘growing it out’ in a lab.

Cuttings from the original tree shouldn’t hurt it, they’re basically the same “waterspouts” we’d normally remove with yearly pruning. To be more efficient, Budding would be the way to go. But the ‘Bud Stick’ would have to remain viable until you grafted its buds to your rootstock or base tree, either on the road or back home :roll:

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Sat May 29, 2010 7:25 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:42 pm
Posts: 186
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
One of my friends says that one of his associates at Boeing claims to be a descendant of both Jesse Hiatt....and (get this) Chief Seattle......I would love to invite this man with a great lineage to our harvest festival this Fall and hear what he has to say.

www.pipersorchard.org

The rumor is that the original tree in Iowa has died, but I need to talk to this Boeing engineer myself.....as it is only a rumor and am quite willing to hear word to the contrary.


Sun May 30, 2010 2:11 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:13 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I've never been a fan of Red Delicious apples but ordered three Hawkeye apples from Cummins Nursery because I was late ordering and these were one of the few apples left that had the rootstock I wanted. After planting them, I had gotten buyer's remorse and had pretty well decided to graft new varieities onto them but after reading this thread, I think I'll keep them as is and hope that the apple is a lot more pleasing to me than the Delicious apples that I've eaten.


Sun May 30, 2010 3:06 pm
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:55 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Riverside, Southern California USDA Zone 10a
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I found Delicious (Hawkeye) growing at a 1912 orchard in the local mountains. Mostly green with red stripes (photo attached), it definately is poorer colored than Red Delicious, but the taste absolutely blows it away. I'll slice up one and give to people to sample and ask them to guess the variety, and they really like it but have no idea what it is. When I tell them "Delicious", they recognize the resembelance to Red Delicious, but admit it is far better than any supermarket apple they've had. I feel it is worthy of cultivation in anyone's home orchard.


Attachments:
Delicious Colormini.jpg
Delicious Colormini.jpg [ 29.9 KiB | Viewed 4512 times ]

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Kevin Hauser
Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery
Riverside, Southern California
USDA Zone 10a
Sun May 30, 2010 9:58 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:13 pm
Posts: 5
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
Kevin, thanks for the photo and the information. My area typically isn't a great area for Red Delicious cultivation but maybe this Hawkeye cultivar will do better. I've never been to Iowa but would think that I'm close in latitude and zone.


Mon May 31, 2010 2:28 am
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Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 2:00 am
Posts: 143
Location: Crooked River Ranch, Oregon
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I both called and emailed to wagon wheel and haven't received a response. I did hear from one of their neighbors that it is a legitimate orchard and well cared for. But I don't like to send money to someone who won't communicate with me. They have a 7 tree minimum order and I'd hate to gamble with that big an order. (It's been a 3 day weekend, maybe they are on holiday?)

I'll check on Cummins and see if they have Hawkeye.

If anyone sees the trees available anywhere, would you please let me know? They are not easy to find and I would sure like to try one. I've googled "shopping hawkeye apple" and the only place that came up was Wagon Wheel.

Thanks


Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:54 pm
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Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:49 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Rochester, WA
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I got a reply from Wagon Wheel, but it did take several days. I almost deleted it because I had forgotten the name of the place. I am interested in the scionwood. After taking a second look it took 4 days for an answer. Here is the contact info from the email.


Wishing you Happy Trails...
Rick & Suzie Godsil
Wagon Wheel Orchard
www.WagonWheelOrchard.com
www.WagonWheelOrchard.blogspot.com
913-893-6050 or WagonWheelMail@aol.com

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Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:54 pm
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1329
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
I would bet that Nick BOtner has some in Yoncalla. Google him. He only does snail mail.
John S PDX OR


Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:08 pm
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Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:55 pm
Posts: 80
Location: Riverside, Southern California USDA Zone 10a
Post Re: Hawkeye Apples
Actually, Hawkeye is really easy to find; Stark Bros. nursery carries it under the name Stark Heritage Delicious. It's listed on their catalog on several rootstocks right now, but I don't know if they're still shipping (they might).

Their scionwood is probably as close to the original as you're going to find.

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Kevin Hauser
Kuffel Creek Apple Nursery
Riverside, Southern California
USDA Zone 10a


Sat Jun 05, 2010 5:05 pm
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