Gene Klein used to call this the Love Apple because it was found in Love’s Woods. He was very high on this one. It has a braggy barrel shape, looking about the same stem-side up as it does stem-side down.
It has a good, well-balanced flavor with the tart aspect offset by the slightly starchy sweetness. It’s a nice mouthful and chews great! The skin color finishes off as a perfect dark red or maroon blush with no hint of striping and is particularly attractive.
We’ve been growing Kleinheart since the early 1980′s. Before we became familiar with the characteristics of each, we often confused which was Kleinheart and which was Klein’s Friend. Klein’s Friend, which was later named Creme d’Licious, is shaped more like a cartoon heart, so we kind of thought that was Kleinheart sometimes. You’d reasonably call the one shaped like a heart “the Love Apple,” too, but WRONG!, it’s the one that isn’t shaped like a heart. However, Kleinheart is all red like a cartoon heart, and it’s actually shaped a lot like a real human heart, and it’s probably roughly the same size as a human heart. Works for me this year. But “Klein” is a German name and means “small,” so I often think of it as “Little Heart.” But it’s a big apple! Now, spread that out over a couple decades and you’ll see how it happens. The last time you figured it out was a year ago, and now you forgot what you had figured out.
The first tree we had was from a scion Gene Klein brought to me in the mid 1980′s. I grafted it fairly high up on a crab rootstock in a 1980-planted Haralson row where the Haralson part of a Haralson tree had died. I grafted it high because I didn’t want to chop that crab tree too hard and perhaps kill it, but a person should generally topwork a tree much lower than that.
Take a look here at these 2005 pictures of that first Kleinheart tree. I’m pointing to the location of the graft. Anything below that is the crab rootstock, and anything above is the Kleinheart. We have always let the top grow so we could harvest as many big Kleinhearts as possible. Do you see them all up there? It’s fabulous! But that’s about ten feet higher than any other apples on the property.
I’m never around when the guys pick ‘em (well, I have a lot of office work to do), so I don’t know just how they’re doing it. Our regular picking ladders are only half high enough. But they do get them, and I’m always happy to see them (the guys and the apples) coming in. Of course, we have other Kleinheart trees that were grafted and planted the good ol’ regular way, so we don’t have to climb very high to get those.
Too bad, though. We had 300 Kleinheart trees grafted out in Pennsylvania, grown there for a summer, and then stored there in the nursery tree cooler awaiting shipment to us in the spring of 1994. A big snowstorm hit in Pennsylvania, and the tree cooler collapsed. Our trees were right in the middle of it, and it took a while to recover them. We did get some of what we had coming, but 300 Kleinheart, 332 London, 287 of one of our red strains of Haralson, and some others perished. Otherwise we’d be growing many more hundreds of bushels of Kleinheart and London these days. That would be great.
An event like that really has an impact on the future. But it was just trees and apples. No one was hurt.
That’s all Doc ever wanted to know… did anybody get hurt.
Everything else, you can fix. Of course, he was dead for 15 years by that time. But I ‘spose he still cares.