Origin and History
As its name suggests, Ontario was raised in Canada. In 1833 horticulturalist Charles Arnold migrated from Bedfordshire to the small town of Paris in the Province of Ontario and in 1874 he bred Canada's first named apple from two American varieties - Northern Spy and Wagener.
Ontario is a large, handsome and delicious dual-purpose apple that fell out of favour because it bruised easily and didn't transport well.
In Waterfurlong, it was being used as a rootstock for a now lost and unidentified dessert apple.
The large ribbed apples have distinctive flattened sides and are pale green, with thin streaks of russet, faint stripes of pale crimson, and pale lenticels. They sometimes have an attractive pink blush and look not unlike a dull Lane's Prince Albert. The flesh is greenish-white, crisp, sweet and tangy, with very high levels of vitamin C.
Picking, Storing and Using
Ontario ripens very late and makes a good, tart cooking apple that keeps its shape. It also juices well. If kept for a few weeks, Ontario's sugars and aromatic flavours develop and it matures into a tasty dessert apple. Ontario stores exceptionally well and will keep in perfect condition until May.
Growth, Flowering and Pollination
The tree is upright, spreading and reasonably vigorous. It flowers mid-season and its exceptionally pretty and fragrant blossom is tolerant of late frosts. Crops can be heavy, but tend to be biennial.
Ontario is generally disease-resistant but can be prone to scab.
It is a triploid, needing two other varieties nearby for pollination. Good choices include Bramley's Seedling, Lane's Prince Albert and Peasgood's Nonsuch.
Copyright © Karen Meadows 2020