Heritage Plants

Me Again about my Sunset apple.
Another thing that I found one website mentioning is that the Sunset Apple was a 'heritage' variety.
I have come across a number of places where they mention 'heritage' varieties of this that and the other but I am becoming rather suspicious that this isn't as rigorous a label as one might expect.
Can anybody tell me exactly what constitutes a 'Heritage' variety? Is there a set guideline, or is it more of a marketing gimmick intended to catch the romantic gullible gardener?
Thanks Steve
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Hi again Steve, The term 'heritage' does not have an exact definition, like the word antique which is also vague. Generally, heritage apples have some kind of history associated with them as being known to have been grown many years ago. This can be recorded in the literature, or old botanic books, etc. Thomas Jefferson had his favorite apple, so that would certainly qualify as a heritage variety. I'm not sure if there is any specific cut-off date between heritage and non heritage apples. The heritage apples have survived because of their superior qualities. There are many more apple varieties that were never recorded because of poor quality. All these surviving heritage apples have interesting histories associated with them, and many of them are not marketable because they are not bright red and shinny, or don't hold up well in shipment, etc. Most of them were originally not grown for commercial purposes and are suited more for the interested amateurs, or people with private orchards. There are probably some people who will abuse this designation, but you can always check out the history of these apples to decide for yourself. As a hobbyist grower of apples, I find the heritage apples offer something you cannot find in the stores, and in some cases, the gardening catalogs. There are some new modern apples, like HoneyCrisp, Fuji, etc. which are good tasting varieties, but here again, certain things were compromised in their development to make them more appealing to the mass market.
Hope this answers your question,
Sherwin D.
Steve Newport wrote:

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Steve, I checked on the Sunset Apple and it was developed in the UK in 1918 in Kent. It is supposed to be very close to Cox's Orange Pippen, but easier to grow. Cox apple itself comes from a seedling of Ribston Pippen in the year 1830. I would tend to classify both these varieties as heritage because of their age. I have grown the Cox apple here in the USA for many years and it is one of the richest tasting apples I have ever tasted, and makes great cider.
Sherwin D.
Steve Newport wrote:

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