Good Fruit Grower

January 2013

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photo courtesy of bill dodd FIRST fruit Bill Dodd stands next to the EverCrisp mother tree, which grows at the Doud family���s County Line Orchard near Wabash, Indiana. T Midwest apple group releases its first apple, EverCrisp. 20 JANUARY 1, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER photo courtesy of bill dodd he first fruit of a grassroots apple breeding program is making its The name EverCrisp, suggested by board member Daniel ���Dano��� way into growers��� orchards. Simmons at Peace Valley Orchard in Rogers, Ohio, was chosen to capitalEverCrisp apple trees are being sold this winter by Wafler���s ize on two features of the fruit. ���Its outstanding quality is its keeping abilNursery in Wolcott, New York. EverCrisp was bred by the Midity,��� Dodd said. ���The fruit keeps so well, we thought it was worth investing west Apple Improvement Association, which has no formal in it. It harvests late, similar to Fuji, maybe a little earlier. It has a pretty plant breeder other than a group of growers who wide window of harvest, mid- to late October in organized in 1998, convinced they can recognize Ohio.��� superior apples and could create them���and do it Its parents are Honeycrisp and Fuji. ���It is more like operating on a shoestring budget. a Fuji. It doesn���t have quite the Honeycrisp texture, The EverCrisp patent has been applied for, the but it is crisp,��� Dodd said. name has been trademarked, and Wafler���s is budding Two years ago, when David Hull of White House trees that can be ordered now for delivery in the Fruit Farm in Canfield, Ohio, was MAIA president, he spring of 2015, according to Bill described this promising, unnamed selection this Dodd, the Ohio apple industry leader way: ���This late-season apple is a roughly three-inch who is president of the MAIA. Bill Pitts fruit, sweet with a crisp texture reminiscent of Honfrom Wafler���s is taking orders at some eycrisp, but somewhat harder. It is irregular in shape of the winter horticulture shows, with color of washed red over a light yellow/green Dodd said. Wafler���s has been increasbackground. The seedling tree exhibits moderate to ing budwood from the mother tree in low vigor with good crotch angles. The fruit appears Indiana for about four years, he to store very well. We are now trying to build a quanadded. tity of scion wood to make large-scale testing ���Bill Pitts has been incredibly helppossible for spring 2013 planting.��� by Richard Lehnert ful to us,��� Dodd said. ���It has to be a A grassroots story royal pain for him, providing 20 trees The decision to go with EverCrisp as its first cultiof this, 20 trees of that.��� The process of finding promEverCrisp apples are var is not easy at first to understand. The initial goals ising lines and evaluating them is starting to pay off, described as large, sweet, of MAIA don���t mention storage quality. Like its parand Wafler���s will be the only nursery offering crisp, washed red in color ents, EverCrisp has no special resistances to diseases EverCrisp trees. over a yellow/green like scab or fireblight, nor is it thought to be a late ���MAIA is interested in licensing EverCrisp with background. bloomer. These were qualities that were given top other nurseries,��� Dodd said, ���but because of the limpriority. But there was another as well. ited supply of budwood, trees will only be available About 15 years ago, some experienced Midwest apple growers with from Wafler���s for 2015.��� No trees will be available before then. good reputations as growers and marketers���Mitch Lynd, Ed Fackler, Dodd said EverCrisp will be a ���managed open release.��� Growers will David Doud, Jim Eckert, Dano Simmons, Gregg Bachman, and others��� pay $1 per tree royalty to Wafler Nursery at the time trees are delivered, came to believe their future was threatened by club apples. In their view, plus annual trademark fees (see ���EverCrisp growers must sign license the clubs were capturing the best new apples and they were not going to agreement���), and must become members of the Midwest Apple Improvebe available to direct farm marketers. ment Association. The fees will help offset expenses of the breeding proThese growers market their apples directly to consumers through their gram, which up until now have been paid from $100 annual membership farm markets, many times as pick-your-own. Their markets are usually fees paid by from 50 to 100 growers.

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