The commercial apple industry in Arkansas was booming in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, it declined significantly and is no longer considered a prominent agricultural industry. Fewer than 150 apple orchards remain today with most of those located in the northern half of the state. Many of those small orchards offer their produce in area farmstands and farmers markets which is where I typically buy the Arkansas Blacks that I use to make the applesauce for this Walnut Apple Cinnamon Bread.
Certainly you can use commercial applesauce, but once you’ve tried this with the applesauce from those Arkansas Blacks, I promise you won’t go back. Granny Smith’s make a tart applesauce as well and are usually more readily available. They do not produce the deep color that the Arkansas Blacks do however.
I never tire of promoting the use of Arkansas Blacks for cooking and freezing because they hold their shape so well. These are not apples you would probably choose as lunch-box or snacking apples because they do tend to be tart and more firm than varieties typically used for those purposes.