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Hi! It’s farmer Joe again! There are two secrets to having great fruit:

The first is to pick the best variety. The best variety for you depends on when you visit and what you need it for.  Check our List  of varieties and estimated picking dates. Click on the varieties to find our what makes them unique.

The second is to use the perfect picking technique. This is my secret: EYE TO THE SKY

1. Find the eye of the apple
2. Roll eye of apple to the sky.
3. Carefully put apple in container to take home and enjoy.


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McIntosh

Available early September 
I  grow the McIntosh apple at Great Lakes Farms, because it truly is a Canadian apple. It was discovered in 1800 as a chance seedling by John McIntosh of Dundela, Ontario. We grow 2 different strains of McIntosh. Marshall Mac (early), and Pioneer mac (later), so we can have freshly picked McIntosh available for our customers as long as possible. McIntosh can be a challenge to grow, but when I get to bit into that freshly picked ripe Mac it is all worth it. It is a medium sized apple with an irregular round shape, it’s a green apple with a red splash and white, juicy flesh. Mildly tart, with sweetness as it ripens You should come to the farm and try it, or take it home. It is excellent for sauces, or eating fresh.


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HONEY CRISP

Available Mid September 
Sometimes I wish we did not grow Honeycrisp on our farm. They are not easy to grow, they require a lot of extra care, and are very difficult to pick, but many of our customers LOVE THEM. Seeing customers enjoy the Honeycrisp I worked so hard to grow makes it all worth it! Since they are difficult to pick, we recommend you buy them pre-picked.
 They are a large sized fruit with distinctive crisp texture, aromatic, juicy and a slightly acidic, sweet taste. Flesh is cream coloured. They are best eaten fresh, but we find they are one of the best early apples for baking. In September we often have seconds available for baking. Take some home and see what you think. 


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GALA

Available early September 
This is the most popular apple at Great Lakes Farms and I enjoy growing it. It is an average sized apple. It has a yellow-orange ground colour with a red blush. We grow two different strains at Great Lakes Farms, the Royal Gala and the Imperial Gala. The strains have similar flavour, they differ in colour and harvest date. They are best for eating fresh and our staff loves eating these at break, but our bakers find them useless.  


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EMPIRE

Available late September
I grow Empires at Great Lakes Farms because it is my wife's favorite.The Empire is a cross between the McIntosh and Red Delicious, she says it is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. It is a juicy, firm and crisp apple.  When they are ready to pick, they are so dark, they are almost purple in colour.  These apples are easy to pick, so the students that come for our fall tours often pick them. They like to call them the "Vampire" apples because of their colour. They are  Ideal for snacks and make great applesauce.


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JONAGOLD

Available Late September
In 2014 we planted more Jonagold apple trees at Great Lakes Farms. Our bakers enjoy using them in many of their treats. And they taste great freshly picked too!  They are large, round to round conic in shape with medium orange-red to red blush over faint striping and green-yellow ground colour. Firm, slightly coarse texture. They are a great apple to take home for eating and baking.


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CORTLAND

Available late September
This is one of the first varieties grown at Great Lakes Farms. It is a McIntosh descendant, It is a very unique variety to grow. When you come to the farm to pick your own, you will notice most of the apples are at the end of the branch instead of in the middle. It is one of the few tip bearing apple varieties. The only one at our farm. The fruit has a  large globular shape with red-orange stripes. It is very white inside. Its taste is a mild, sweet taste and crisp texture. It is excellent for salads and fruit plates because it resists browning. It is also good for pies and sauces.


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RED DELICIOUS

Available mid October
This variety is fun for pick your own. The children love to count the bumps on the bottom and it is a larger sized apple so it does not take as long. It is enjoyed by many of our customers because it is firm, sweet and juicy. Its dark red colour and elongated shape make it excellent for salades, but our bakers do not recomend it for cooking. If you cut a tree ripened red delicious in half you may see some glossy fless around the core. This is known as water core and it tastes like candy! 


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GOLDEN DELICIOUS

Available mid October 
We have been growing Golden Delicious at Great Lakes Farms for a long time. It's characteristics are present in other varieties on the farm, as it is a parent apple to Gala, Ambrosia, Mutsu, and Jonagold. 
Golden delicious take a little extra TLC to grow then its newer offspring, but it is worth the effort. Golden Delicious apples are pale green to golden yellow in color and speckled with small lenticels (spots). The flavor of these firm, crisp, white-fleshed apples vary: in the cooler climate at Great Lakes Farms, the amount of acid in this apple is higher than warmer areas, creating a sweeter flavor. This apple is great to eat as well as to bake in to your favorite apple treat.   It is a favorite in my house as applesauce. 


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AMBROSIA

Available Early October
This is a new Canadian variety for Great Lakes Farms. It is my favorite! This variety was discovered in British Columbia, and it is no ordinary apple. Aptly named after the mythical “food of the gods”, this stunning apple, is a  delight for all the senses. No visit to the farm is complete without experiencing this apple.


"When you first set eyes on the Ambrosia apple, you will be drawn to its glossy, bi-coloured good looks. It has an attractive conical shape and smooth, flawless skin with a bright, almost fluorescent pink blush over a creamy-yellow background. As you draw closer, you will become aware of its distinct perfumed aroma.Then, as you bite into the Ambrosia apple’s tender, juicy flesh with its fine crisp texture, the apple’s honeyed flavour will saturate your taste buds, leaving you refreshed and satisfied. My mouth is watering!!...... can you tell its my favorite?" 

Although it is amazing, it is not suited for baking, but it is a low-acid apple, which makes it easier for kids and older people to digest.


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MUTSU

Available mid October
We grow this apple at Great Lakes Farms because it has a unique flavour that is enjoyed by many of our customers. This medium to large size fruit is slightly oblong in shape. The skin of the Mustu apple is smooth and bright green to yellow in color. Its firm white flesh is crisp and juicy with a sweet-tart flavor that has subtle hints of spice. An excellent keeper. This apple is great to take home as a dessert apple.  They can be sliced and baked, hollowed out and stuffed, battered and fried or slow cooked into a sauce. Their sweetness will compliment pies and tarts. Cubed they will add moisture and flavor to muffins, breads and cakes. They are also delicious to eat just the way they are!


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IDA RED

Available late October
Ida Reds, as with most of our late season varieties, are great for storing into the winter months. Many of our customers stock up on Ida Red so, they can enjoy them until Christmas. Ida Red harvest is sad for me as an apple grower because I know the harvest is coming to an end. Ida Red are medium to large in size with a round to flat round shape.  It is a red tart apple that has great flavour when baked.


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NORTHERN SPY

Available late October
This apple is our bakers best friend, and mine to when I get a sample of pie. It has a delicious apple taste, and it holds its shape when baked. it is the apple most often found  in our delicious apple pies. It is a medium to large sized apple. Its exterior is not the most beautiful, it is found baring bright red stripes, but you can make it look great in any baked apple treat.


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FUJI

Available late October
This is the apple that leaves our farms in bushels. Many families take bushels and bushels of this apple and claim that it stores in their garage until April.......as long as they are not eaten up before that. I know this is the most popular apple in my cellar.  It is a delicious hard, sweet apple that is superior in storage.