The tree tends to be a biennial producer, overproducing one season, and underproducing the next.
This apple is currently out of favour with producers.
Good for cider and for pies, holds shape well during cooking.
These apples were very popular as they kept very well over the winter.
Discovered as a chance seedling on the farm of a Mr John Ball in Wilmington, Massachusetts. He grew it for about 40 years and gave cuttings to his neighbours. About 1780, a Samuel Thompson brought it to the attention of Colonel Loammi Baldwin 1745-1807, the engineer who designed the Middlesex Canal in Massachusetts. He planted a lot of these apples on his own land, and gave away to others branches for grafting as early as 1784.
By 1833, it was said to be the most popular apple in Boston (Kendrick’s New American Orchardist, Boston, 1833). By 1852, it was even being exported to the East Indies. It was the most important apple in New York State in the last half of the 1800s.
The original tree on the Ball farm died between 1817 and 1832. Today there is a monument at that spot near what is now Chestnut Street in Wilmington, Massachusetts.
Hovey, Charles Mason. The Magazine of horticulture, botany, and all useful discoveries and improvements in rural affairs, Volume 13. Hovey and Co., 1847. Page 438.