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Runkel Apple History

     In  1940 Walter E. Runkel discovered an apple seedling of unknown parentage in his Lincoln Park, Michigan backyard.  His daily habit of eating various fruits while walking and discarding pits or cores to the ground,  resulted in this chance seedling.

    Walter transplanted this tree in 1950 to Southfield, Michigan.  The tree began to bear in 1960 and by 1965 was consistently yielding late ripening, bright red apples that were hard, juicy, and sweet. Not only were the apples excellent for fresh eating but for baking as well.  Walter began testing their keeping quality and found that the apples could be kept 180 days in refrigerated storage without shriveling.  Impressed by both the distinct rich, sweet taste and post harvest longevity of the fruit, he began to realize the apple's commercial possibilities.

    In 1967 Walter's job as an electronic engineer at Detroit's WWJ-TV station provided him the opportunity to have his apples examined by two agricultural experts appearing on a local farm show. They agreed that the apple was indeed unique and was worth naming.

    Walter decided to patent his discovery in 1968 and proceeded to attach grafts onto all existing apple and flowering crab trees on his property.  He began to study apple rootstocks, joined the Dwarf Fruit Tree Association, and started to plant dwarf trees.  He propagated the seedling tree from 1968 - 1972 using various dwarfing and semi-dwarfing rootstocks.

    On February 20, 1973, Plant Patent #3308 was granted to Walter E. Runkel and the common name Runkel was registered by him with the American Association of Nurserymen.  From 1972 - 1989 Runkel apple trees were propagated by Walter and daughter, Joan, in Southfield and Fowlerville, Michigan.

    The original Runkel, derived as a seedling, is a vigorous, round-topped, upright semi-dwarf tree of annual bearing habit. Its fruit is well distributed in the canopy and born on short spurs. Fruit of Runkel are symmetrical; regular; round-oblate to round conic with calyx end crowned by five small but distinct points.

    The fruit has a noticeable aroma with yellowish, cream-colored mildly sub-acid flesh that is both hard and juicy.  The red skin is thin, tender, smooth, bright, and waxen.

    The Runkel completed the NRSP-5 Program at Washington State University and has been certified virus free.  In 1999 a  selection of the Runkel was included in the NE-183 variety tests with plantings on twenty-four sites throughout the U.S. and Canada. Grower tests are underway in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin. Public tests at city markets in Michigan have yielded favorable results. The apple's versatility has attracted consumers with its wide range of uses from fresh eating to use in cider, baking, cooking, wine and sauce making. 

For more information contact info@RunkelApple.com
Runkel Orchards, LLC
AppleIcon15.gif (855 bytes)P. O. Box 713 AppleIcon15.gif (855 bytes)Webberville, Michigan 48892