Golden Delicious Apples
Golden Delicious apples are faintly aromatic and have a sweet, subtly tart flavor suited for fresh and cooked preparations.
Paul Stark Sr. of Stark Brothers Nursery traveled over 1,000 miles in search of Golden Delicious apples, a journey known as the "Trail of the Golden Delicious Apple." In 1914, after sampling one, he immediately ventured out to find the apple's mother tree. Paul Stark Sr. had to travel 1,000 miles by railway and 25 miles on horseback through the West Virginia Mountains to get to Anderson Mullin's farm in Odessa of Clay County, West Virginia. When Stark arrived, he knocked on the front door, but no one answered. Stark decided to look around the property and went behind the house in search of the apple tree. He wandered up the hill behind the house and found a small orchard. All the orchard's trees were barren except for one highly productive tree that was producing dark green foliage with plump, golden-yellow fruits.
Stark and Mullins agreed that day for Stark to purchase the tree. Before Stark left to return home, he constructed a 30 x 30-foot cage around the 900 sq foot piece of property, completely encasing the Golden Delicious tree. Anderson Mullins watched over the mother tree for over thirty years until the tree eventually died in the 1950s. After the tree's passing, a historical marker was placed along the nearby Route 1 for apple enthusiasts to visit. Golden Delicious apples were also named the official fruit of West Virginia in 1955. The commercially significant apple is honored yearly in September through a Golden Delicious Apple Festival in Clay County. The four-day celebration was established in 1972 and commemorates the history and impact of the apple's discovery. During the festival, visitors participate in baking contests, a 5K, a skillet flinging contest, clogging, and a parade.