GRIMES GOLDEN was found by Thomas Grimes in Brooke County, West Virginia, in 1804, near the town of Fowlersville. This town is near Wellsburg, West Virginia, where John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and his brother established a nursery. Grimes Golden is believed to be one of the parents of Golden Delicious. Roundish or slightly oblong in form, the fruit is small to medium in size, and the skin is greenish-yellow, ripening to a clear yellow. It is sometimes roughened with yellow or russet dots. The yellowish flesh is crisp and tender, with a spicy, sweet flavor. A good all-purpose dessert and cooking apple, it contains 18.81% sugar that ferments to a 9% alcohol, and was popular for the making of hard cider in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It tends to overcrop, and must be heavily-thinned to produce large fruit. The leaves are shiny and smooth, dark green in color, and heavily folded with fine serrations. Heavy pruning to remove its bushy growth will also improve fruit production. There are knobs at the base of its branches, making the limbs more resistant to breakage.
Grimes Golden is self-fertile and is an excellent pollinator for other varieties. It is subject to collar rot, but is somewhat resistant to fireblight and cedar apple rust. Grimes ripens in late September and stores very well. Trees of this variety are found in abandoned orchards in Virginia, and after 50 years of neglect, are still bearing small, sooty-blotched fruit of extraordinary flavor.