Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

The cooking apple Doctor Harvey

Doctor Harvey cooking apple

Doctor Harvey cooking apple

If there is one cooking apple which I took to very much in my younger days it is this apple. In the late Fifties we had a small orchard in East Suffolk. The village was quite isolated in the depth of rural Suffolk. At that time close to us lived a wheelright, well in his eighties. He had an ancient workshop full of magnificent old tools. He never had electricity or running water. Just his own pond on the side of his garden. Next to this pond was a very old cooking apple tree, Doctor Harvey. During the winter months he would bake these apples. This was his sweet and it would keep for a week, without the use of a fridge, which he never had the use of. I saw a lot of him during the winter months as the land work was restricted to the short daylight hours. In the evening, by the light of an oil lamp, we would enjoy eating this apple together during the cold winter months right up to the end of March. He was a bachelor all his life and was very dedicated to keep this old tree in good condition as long as he lived. He passed on to me what he knew about the history of this apple. According to him this variety was already well known for many years in Suffolk and its origin was in Cambridgeshire. In that county Doctor Harvey was a master of Trinity Hall. Gabriel Harvey owned an estate at around 1630, in which the tree had been bearing fruit for many years. It is therefore one of the oldest known English cooking/baking apples. It is a regular bearer of good sized fruit, totally green in colour. Best harvested in late October. It has a very good shelf life and as all apples do it will become sweeter as the days go by. Nowadays with the aid of a fridge or a cold store, it will retain its original flavour much longer when stored at 3 degrees Celsius. A most wonderful baking/cooking apple. Delicious apple pies as I remember it well. Definitely worth planting particularly on rootstock MM106.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties with a provisional order

2 responses to “The cooking apple Doctor Harvey

  1. Thorpe February 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Im teaching English food in Japan and my memory is of my father harvesting Dr Harveys from our tallest tree up a ladder in Yaxley Eye in the farm cottage where I was born.

  2. Brian Overall October 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Very Interesting read up about doctor Harvey Apple, I have a doctor Harvey in my garden be leaved to be planted by my Grandfather . Just picked some lovely apples. Brian Overall Wethersfield Braintree in Essex.

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