Stark is said to have come from the farm of John Main, Troy Township, Delaware Co, OH, about 1822. The story of its origin is vague, but the legend goes that he purchased several trees from a nursery, and one or two of them produced the apple that is now known as Stark. Like a number of mid-western varieties (Pewaukee, Wolf River being two of the most well-known) Stark moved back east while people continued to move west. In central Maine people planted the cold-tolerant Stark as an alternative to Baldwin which is not hardy north of MA. The apple was grown all over central and southern Maine, right up into the early 20th century. It is one of the most common old, commercial apples still found in the central part of the state. Long-time orchardist, Frank Getchell of Vassalboro, Maine was a big fan of Stark. Frank passed away this year, but the huge old Stark tree beside his garage lives on.
The Stark apple should not be confused with Starkey (Star-key) which is adessert apple from Vassalboro, Maine. It should also not be confused with Stark Brothers Nursery of Louisiana MO or Starking Delicious, one of the strains of the dreaded Red Delicious.
Stark resembles Baldwin at first glance although Baldwin is often redder and Stark is more of a combination of a dull red and green. Stark often has a bit of a stem lip (a la Pewaukee). The cavity may be russeted though not often. Stark is a rounder more compact shape than Baldwin. The firm flesh is greenish white. Stark keep all winter and is a truely all-purpose variety.