In the Pacific Northwest, the earliest varieties are often ready to start picking by mid-August. If you are not sure when you should start checking the varieties in your yard for their ripeness, review our ripening order list on our website under plant care or consult the Raintree catalog.

Some people like their fruit more green and tart, others more ripe and sweet. As with pears, the background color of the fruit skin away from the sun will change from green to a yellow or pale orange as seed maturity approaches.

Apples are an all-American success story-each ... Apples are an all-American success story-each of us eats more than 19 pounds of them annually. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A further test of apple ripeness is to cut the fruit open and look at the seed color, dark brown indicates the seeds are mature. October and November, with their cooler temperatures, slow down the ripening process, so fruits will tend to last longer on the tree than they did earlier in the year.

The latest ripening varieties, in October or November, will also have the best storage properties. Some varieties, such as Karmijn de Sonneville and Red Belle de Boskoop, are best after they have been stored a month or two, during which time the starches convert to sugar.