In the end, fruit is all about the taste and texture. Everyone has their own idea of the perfect apple, but the Cameo Apple ticks all the boxes for most people. Sweet, but still with an acidic note, crunchy, but not hard, and with a real ‘apple’ aroma. This is also a beautiful looking apple, with bright red striping over a rich orange base. This apple is a perfect choice for an all-round tree. It is a versatile variety, useful in the kitchen, for pies, pastries, muffins and apple jelly, as well as for eating straight from your hand. Cooked, it holds it shape, so your pie will be apple pie, not apple-sauce pie.
Many apples quickly turn brown when cut, making them unattractive on the table, or in a salad. The Cameo Apple has flesh that stays white and clean for a long time after cutting – another plus for this terrific apple. The fruit ripens later in the apple season, that is, in September or October in most areas, so it is perfect for savory fall salads, like the classic Waldorf salad. As well, tests have found unusually high levels of healthy anti-oxidants in this variety – an added bonus for you and your family.
Growing Cameo Apple Trees
Apple trees are among the easiest of fruit trees to grow in your garden, and they can be grown across a wide area of the country. The Cameo Apple Tree thrives all the way from zone 4 to zone 8, and grows well in most soils that are well-drained. With pruning it will not become too large, and it can even be trained against a wall in the style called ‘espalier’, taking almost no space, and making a beautiful addition to your garden. If you have a larger property, you can plant a small orchard of fruit trees, with grass and wild flowers growing beneath them. The grass only needs cutting once or twice a year.
Planting and Initial Care
When planting your Cameo Apple Tree, choose a sunny spot in your garden. It will tolerate a little shade, especially in warmer zones, but it will crop best, and ripen the sweetest apples, in full sun. It grows best in rich, well-drained soil. If you have poor drainage, build a raised mound about 3 feet across, and plant your tree shallowly on it. In very sandy soil be sure to add plenty of organic material to the soil when planting, and to mulch every spring over the root area – to conserve water and provide nutrients.
Allow sufficient space for your tree to develop properly, depending on the style of growth you are pruning it to. To grow on a sunny wall, plant up against the base of the wall and tie the branches back of a series of wires stretched across the area. Trees on walls will flower and ripen fruit earlier than trees in the open, so this method is especially useful in cooler parts of the country.
Maximizing Your Crop
Like almost all apple trees, your Cameo Apple Tree will produce the best crop if another suitable variety is growing nearby. We recommend the Gala Apple Tree as an ideal pollinator, and that tree is also a fantastic mid-season eating and cooking apple, as well as the best juicing apple around. They are a perfect compliment to each other, and both will carry a bumper harvest. If you have a flowering crab apple tree, these are also good pollinators for almost all types of apples, including the Cameo Apple.
Care and Maintenance
Your tree should begin producing fruit in two or three years, and you should begin pruning after planting, as pruning brings the tree into fruit-bearing condition earlier. Choose a style for your tree. Common forms are open vase-shapes, with radiating branches, or a single central stem, with radiating side-branches. Pruning your trees is fun and easy, while leaving your tree to grow wild is not recommended.
If you have a heavy crop of young apples, these should be thinned when they are about the size of a quarter. Leave one apple per cluster, and space them about 6 inches apart on the branches. If you do not thin you will get a heavy crop of very small apples that are mostly core – thinning gives you big, juicy apples, and is very worthwhile. You can expect a heavy crop from your tree in a few years, but nothing will go to waste. This apple will store for several months, well into winter, if you store them in a cool place.
History and Origins of the Cameo Apple Tree
The Cameo Apple Tree is a relatively new variety that was discovered growing in an orchard in the community of Dryden, Washington State, in 1987. Like many great apples, the parentage of this tree is unknown, but it is likely to be a chance seedling of the Red Delicious and Golden Delicious varieties, since they were both growing in the orchard. Once its superb qualities were noticed, the tree was preserved. Our trees are directly derived from that original, by grafting stem pieces onto sturdy root systems bred for vigor and adaptability. This newer variety of eating apple has received a lot of attention – and no wonder, considering how versatile and tasty it is. Our stock will not last long, so order now to avoid disappointment.