The 'Rome' apple (also known as 'Red Rome', 'Rome Beauty', 'Gillett's Seedling') is a cooking apple originating near Rome Township, Ohio, in the early 19th century. According to the US Apple Association website it is one of the fifteen most popular apple cultivars in the United States. It remains popular for its glossy red fruit and for its utility in cooking.
The 'Rome' is rounded, all red, and very glossy, with a thick skin and firm flesh. It is primarily used for baking, as its flavor develops when cooked, and it holds its shape well. It is commonly described as less desirable as an eating apple because of its subtle flavor that is not as sweet, flashy, or tart as some other varieties. It comes to market in late September and is considered a good keeper. 'Rome' apples are widely grown and available, and are a staple variety in American commerce.
The story is given that in 1817 Joel Gillet (also spelled "Gillett" or "Gillette" by his descendants) found a tree in a shipment from a nursery that did not match the others; he gave it to his son Alanson, saying, "Here’s a Democrat. You may have this one." His son planted the tree on the banks of the Ohio River, where several years later it was found producing red fruit. His cousin, Horatio Nelson Gillett took cuttings and started a nursery to promote the apple. Originally known as 'Gillett's Seedling', it was renamed the 'Rome Beauty' in 1832 in honor of the township. The original tree survived into the 1850s until it was felled by erosion of the river bank.
Proctorville, Ohio, which lies in the township, styles itself the "Home of the Rome Beauty Apple".
- Apple varieties by US Apple Association
- Dr. Stephen Miller of the USDA Fruit Research Lab in Kearneysville, West Virginia.
- "Apple Varieties: Red Rome". New York Apple Association. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- "Apple Guide". U. S. Apple Association. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- Overley, F.L. (Fall 2007). "From Whence Came: The Varieties of Fruit We Are Now Growing". Connections (Washington State University). Archived from the original on May 30, 2010. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- Kelley, Iris (November 21, 2007). "Hypes volunteered to refurbish sign". Ironton Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-18.[dead link]
- Griesan, Jean. "Joel Gillet". The Lawrence Register. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- National Fruit Collection page