Best Tasting and Easiest to Grow Apples

Tom and Jill Vorbeck share their picks for the best tasting and easiest to grow apples. Each fall ship apples all over the United States from their Applesource orchard.

| August/September 2002

Tom and Jill Vorbeck tell readers about the best tasting and easiest to grow apples.

Visit this story's main page to learn more about the North American Fruit Explorers and growing America's best fruit..

Each fall, Tom and Jill Vorbeck, both active NAFEX members, ship apples all over the United States from their Applesource orchard — 1,700 apple trees set on 12 hilly acres in Chapin, Illinois. Many varieties planted there are antiques, such as "Esopus Spitzenburg," "Cox's Orange Pippin" and "Pitmaston Pineapple."

The couple, former computer analysts who tired of city life, first started selling their conventionally grown (nonorganic) apple samplers to NAFEX members in 1983.

"We wanted to help folks avoid wasting five years waiting for an apple tree to fruit, and then finding they didn't like the fruit," Tom says. "They can order apple varieties from us to sample before planting a tree." The offering was so popular the Vorbecks started marketing their samplers nationwide in 1984.

An Applesource sampler pack contains up to 12 different varieties, each chosen by the customer and shipped at the peak of flavor. If a customer prefers a particular apple, the Vorbecks will help locate trees for planting, part of the NAFEX spirit.

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