Empire is the name of a clonally-propagated cultivar of apple derived from a seed grown in 1945 by Lester C. Anderson, a Cornell University fruit nutritionist who conducted open pollination research on his various orchards. In 1945, under the direction of A. J. Heinicke, scientists from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station of Cornell University in Geneva, New York, harvested the Empire seed, together with thousands of its siblings. The Geneva teams grew and tested ever dwindling sub-populations of the sibling group until 1966, when the final selection, the Empire, was released to the public at the New York Fruit Testing Association meetings in Geneva.
Empire apples are red, juicy, firm, crunchy and sweet. They ripen during September and October, and will keep until January.
The original seed was a cross between the varieties McIntosh and Red Delicious. Empire apples are excellent for eating and salads, and good for sauce, baking, pies and freezing.  It is an ideal lunch-box apple, not least because it does not bruise easily.
Sports patented in the US
By the year 2001, three mutant cultivars (sports) of Empire had received US plant patents. None of them were mutants of mutants:
|Date||"Inventor"||Marketed as||Assignee||Earlier||Color||Plant Patent Number|
|Mar 10, 1992||Teeple||Teeple Red Empire, Royal Empire||Cornell||no||redder|
|Oct 20, 1992||Thome||TF808||Inter-Plant Patent Marketing||5—7 days||redder|
|Feb 1, 2000||Crist||CB515, Crown Empire||Adams County Nursery||2.5 weeks||redder|
- McCandless, Linda (1996). "Experiment Station's successful Empire apple has its 30th birthday". Cornell Chronicle. Cornell University. Retrieved 2007-10-13.
- "Apple varieties".
- "Empire apples".
- Dr. Stephen Miller of the USDA Fruit Research Lab in Kearneysville, West Virginia.
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