Washington Apple Varieties Pt 2

Washington Apple Varieties Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. Your options for different varieties of apples has never been greater and Washington apple growers are expanding in order to the changing demand. Washington State Tree Fruit Association president Jon DeVaney says more options is a good thing ...

Devaney ... "You know, it used to be the consumers would be satisfied with a couple of options and any more, in any number of consumer items including food, they want a lot of different choices and options available and that's what we're trying to give them."

DeVaney says that includes the demand for organic, which doesn't happen overnight...

Devaney ... "The transition acreage for organic takes about three years to get fully-organic certified. So, we know that more acreage is in the process of becoming certified organic and this year the projection is about 14% of the total apple crop being organic production and that compares with 10% last year."

Those estimates, DeVaney says are just that ... estimates ... but there's no doubt organic production is climbing ...

Devaney ... "There's certainly an estimate percentage in that so that could fluctuate a little bit because some of these newer orchards, you know, you don't know for certain how productive they are until they produce for a couple of years. But, then we also have the fact that the organic sell at a premium and not every fruit that's grown organic ends up getting marketed that way for that higher-end consumer."

DeVaney says some organic fruit of lower grades end up getting mixed in with other fruit and just sold on the conventional market if it won't fetch the premium price of certified organic.


BL: Welcome back to another "Fruit Bites" brought to you by Valent U.S.A. With us again is Valent's Allison Walston. And this week Allison, let's talk about ethylene and fruit ripening.

AW: Ethylene is basically the natural aging plant hormone. It changes the texture, color and softens the fruit, like in bananas, apples & pears.

BL: So ethylene is involved with apples and pears ripening too?

AW: Yes! For example, if you put a banana and a green pear in a paper bag together, a couple of days later ... the pear will be yellowish and ready to eat. That's ethylene being produced by the banana to ripen the pear.

BL: Wow, great tip! What about apples in the orchard?

AW: In the orchard, the apples are also producing ethylene and naturally ripening. Imagine trying to pick these huge apple blocks, the logistics alone, plus labor availability, that's tough. Growers can use an ethylene blocker, like ReTain, to slow the ripening. This gives growers more time to harvest before the apples become too ripe.

BL: Well, thanks Allison. Join us again next time for Fruit Bites, brought to you by Valent. Until then, I'm Bob Larson.




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