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Zestar Apple Close Up
Zestar Apple Close Up Zestar Apple Cluster Zestar Apple Overview Zestar Apple Plated
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Zestar Apple Tree

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Early-Season Apple with Outstanding Flavor

Zestar Apple (Malus 'Zestar') is a relative newcomer; first being introduced in 1999 in Minnesota. With an exceptional balance of spicy-sweet flavor against the slight tang of its crisp, juicy flesh, Zestar has quickly established itself as a must-have for the apple enthusiast.

Zestar is not only delicious, but also beautiful, with a bright red skin enhanced by delicate yellow/green highlights.  It has good storage life, lasting as long as 2 months with proper refrigeration.

Zestar apple trees are cold hardy and one of the earliest to ripen. You'll be picking apples as early as August!. Cortland is a recommended pollinator for your Zestar apple trees as well as any white blossoming crab apples.

This early-ripening and long-storing apple will be a lovely addition to your home, and offer you a harvest of delectable fruit for years to come. You'll rarely find these in grocery stores and we have a hard time keeping them in stock.  Order yours today!

* Incredible flavor
* Early harvest
* Cold hardy
* Excellent fresh or used in baking

Long-Storing, Early Ripening Fresh Eating and Cooking Apple

The Zestar® apple is another heavy hitter of the introductions coming out of the University of Minnesota under the direction of David Bedford and his team. Bedford and his team have focused on varieties that taste good, are adapted to the colder northern climates with early production, and deliver a firm, crisp texture. Their successes have been tremendous.

David Bedford grew up in North Carolina but always dreamed of living in the northern climates. After receiving his master's degree from Colorado State University, Bedford took a job at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center in 1979. The assignment was timely, as Bedford's first notable decision in 1980 was to save seedling selections slated to be destroyed. This decision would later result in the Honeycrisp apple. Good save!

Zestar® originated from a cross of State Fair x MN 1691, done in 1972. As with all plant breeding, it has undergone intense observation and wasn't introduced until 1999. The outstanding flavor and texture of this early ripening variety was immediately recognized. The flavor is described as Sweet Tart with a brown sugar overtone.

Adapted to all typical apple growing regions the Zestar® can also be grown in colder climates in Zones 3b, 4a and b climates, giving it a huge boost of additional appeal.

The standout quality comes in the Zestar's® storage. Unlike most early apples, Zestar® stores for a considerably long time, up to 2 months when picked at peak ripeness. The excellent fresh eating quality and its firmness, along with extended storage season and being a great cooking apple add to its valuable commercial qualities.

Zestar® is only one of David Bedford and his team's introductions. Other exciting selections continue to be introduced from the impactful University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Program. Since 1878 varieties such as Haralson, Fireside, Sweet 16 and State Fair have delighted the apple loving world. Today's introductions such as Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango®, SnowSweet® and Zestar®, continues this long productive history.


Zestar Apple Tree Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-8
Growing Zones 4-8
More Information
Brand Nature Hills Nursery
Botanical Name Malus 'Zestar'
Mature Height 15 - 20 feet
Mature Spread 14 - 16 feet
Soil Type Widely Adaptable
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Growth Rate Medium
Fruiting Time 3 - 5 years