The best way to determine what type of tree you want is to visit an orchard or market and decide which fruits you like best. Certain apples varieties are easy to come by through local markets because regional growers have been successful with them. Most varieties of apple trees grow well in East Tennessee because the region offers the adequate period of cool temperatures needed to produce quality fruit. The "Southern Living Garden Book" says "most selections require between 900 and 1,200 hours of 45 degree or lower temperatures." Whether you want to make pies, cider or eat apples fresh from the tree, a few varieties are East Tennessee favorites.
Known for a deep, dark red color, Arkansas Black is staple among growers in the upper South. The fruit ripens late in the season, is medium-sized and quite crisp. It may taste dull straight from the tree, but the flavor will improve after a couple of months in cold storage.
Freedom is a midseason harvest fruit, with a round, red shape. Recommended for cooking and eating fresh. Plant this variety alongside Liberty; both are known for disease resistance and co-pollinators.
Widely found in markets, this well-known variety is a favorite for fresh eating. The large fruit ripens to a yellow color in midseason. Golden Delicious is just one of few known apples that can pollinate itself, so it can be planted as a sole variety. But the bloom season is long and heavy, making it a great choice to grow and pollinate other varieties.
Found to resist the sinister cedar apple rust fungus, Liberty is often planted by growers for its sweet taste. It's a productive cross-pollinator, often fending off scab and fire blight diseases as well. The blush-red fruit is medium-sized and ripens midseason.
Cider-makers tend to grow this big, round variety, which is a favorite for pies as well. The fruit ripens late with red skin. The flesh can look somewhat green and is not known to be flavorful when eaten fresh. Red Romes bloom earlier in life than most varieties and can self-pollinate as well.
The best uses for Winesap apples are cooking and cider-making. Those who take a fresh bite from the green, yellow and red fruit will notice a an almost fermented flavor. Grow Winesap apple trees alongside heavy-pollinating varieties, like Golden Delicious. Winesap bears fruit early in the season, but not without help.