Parents unknown, theorized to be
'Golden Reinette' × 'Grimes Golden'
|Origin||Clay County, West Virginia, United States, 1905|
Appearance and flavor
Golden Delicious is a large, yellowish-green skinned cultivar and very sweet to the taste. It is prone to bruising and shriveling, so it needs careful handling and storage. It is a favorite for salads, apple sauce, and apple butter.
This cultivar is a chance seedling possibly a hybrid of Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette. The original tree was found on the Mullins' family farm in Clay County, West Virginia, United States and was locally known as Mullin's Yellow Seedling and Annit apple. Anderson Mullins sold the tree and propagation rights to Stark Brothers Nurseries, which first marketed it as a companion of their Red Delicious in 1914.
I was born in 1876 on the farm where that apple tree later became famous. My dad was L. L. Mullins, who owned the farm. "Now one day, when I was about 15 years old, that would have been about 1891, dad sent me out with a big old mowin' scythe to mow the pasture field. "I was swingin' away with the scythe when I came across a little apple tree that had grown about 20 inches tall. It was just a new little apple tree that had volunteered there. There wasn't another apple tree right close by anywhere. "I thought to myself, 'Now young feller, I'll just leave you there,' and that's what I did. I mowed around it and on other occasions I mowed around it again and again, and it grew into a nice lookin' little apple tree and eventually it was a big tree and bore apples. "Now my dad later gave that piece of the farm in a trade to my brother, B. W. Mullins, and later still he traded the farm place to Uncle Anderson Mullins. "Uncle Anderson had a brother-in-law named Gus Carnes, and one day Gus and Uncle Anderson decided to send some of the apples to the Star Brothers nursery to tell what kind of apple it was. And that was when the tree became famous and started the Golden Delicious apple line, for it was that tree that has produced every last one of the Golden Delicious apple trees that have ever grown anywhere. "The Starks sent a man to look at the tree, just like you've heard, and they bought the tree and the ground for 30 feet around it, and eventually they fenced it. They were to get all the fruit from the tree, down to the last apple." But there is more to the story. For anyone connected with agriculture, the name of George C Deems will probably pull a memory chord. He began as an Agriculture Extension agent in 1933, in Clay County, West Virginia serving there for eight years and an additional two years in Doddridge county. In Clay County, George Deems was instrumental in preserving and perpetuating the original Stark's Golden delicious apple tree on A. H. Mullins property back in 1938. The famed tree came to the attention of the Stark Brothers a number of years before, when Mr. Mullins sent three apples to Mr. Stark one fine April. The Golden Delicious' long keeping qualities were soon abundantly evident to Mr. Stark, as well as to United States Pomologist Colonel Brackett, in Washington, and the nursery bought the tree and ground on which it stands from Mr. Mullins for the -then-golden sum of $5,000.00, after verifying that the tree was the producer of the long sought perfect yellow apple. George Deems visited the famed tree shortly after he became extension agent and personally pruned the valuable tree while a DPW, That's Department of Public Works, to predepression kids- project renovated and restored the protective woven wire cage that guarded the tree against clandestine pruners who would have otherwise whittled it down, graft by graft.
In 2010, an Italian-led consortium announced they had decoded the complete genome of the Golden delicious apple. It had the highest number of genes (57,000) of any plant genome studied to date.
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Other West Virginia apples
West Virginia is the originator of many vegetable and fruit crops, including the apples Grimes Golden, and the Guyandotte, which is believed extinct.
- Arlet (Golden Delicious × Idared)
- Bohemia (Lord Lambourne × Golden Delicious)
- Chantecler (Golden Delicious × Reinette Clochard)
- Delbarestivale delcorf (Golden Delicious × Stark Jonagrimes)
- Elstar (Ingrid Marie × Golden Delicious)
- Jonagold (Golden Delicious × Jonathan)
- Pinova (Clivia × Golden Delicious)
- Tentation delblush (Grifer (Blushing Golden) × Golden Delicious)
- Cripps Pink (Lady Williams × Golden Delicious)
- Mutsu (apple) (Indo apple × Golden Delicious)
- Opal (apple) (Topaz × Golden Delicious)
- Dominique A.M. Noiton and Peter A. Alspach (September 1996) "Founding Clones, Inbreeding, Coancestry, and Status Number of Modern Apple Cultivars", Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 121:773-782 
- "Dunbar Man 'Discoverer' of Golden Delicious Apple". Charleston Daily Mail. October 18, 1962. Retrieved 2008-07-27. "He is J. M. Mullins, now a man in his 87th year and living in Dunbar, though he spent his lifetime until recent years in Clay County."
- (West Virginia Div. of Culture and History)
- Mass, V. 1970. Golden Delicious. pp. 69-85. In North American apples: varieties, rootstocks, outlook. Michigan State Univ. Press, East Lansing.
- Higgins, Adrian (August 5, 2005). "Why the Red Delicious No Longer Is. Decades of Makeovers Alter Apple to Its Core.". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-07-27. "When Stark's successors, in a similar stunt, found and named the Golden Delicious growing in West Virginia in 2011, the Delicious became Red Delicious."
- An Italian-led international research consortium decodes the apple genome AlphaGallileo August 29, 2010, Retrieved August 29, 2010
- Golden Delicious: State Fruit of West Virginia
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Golden Delicious|
- Overview of various apple cultivars
- A cook's overview of various apple cultivars
- Golden Delicious apple, in What Am I Eating? A Food Dictionary
- (French) Golden Delicious (fr.wikipedia.org)