Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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Page 43 of 55

GOOD TO KNOW A research report from Bruce Barritt, Kate Evans, and Lisa Brutcher, Washington State University Tree Consumer expectations of apple quality How do WA 2 and WA 38 measure up? Fruit Research and E veryone has a favorite apple variety but what makes it so? How do Washington State University's new apple varieties WA 2 and WA 38 compare with each other, and with existing commercial varieties? Consumers and producers may not always agree when asked what characteristics they desire in a new variety. Here, we will focus on eating quality preferences of consumers rather than typical grower interests of return on investment influenced by yield, packout, market demand, and price. Growers also realize that each of these factors is influenced either directly or indirectly by fruit quality. To please consumers, new varieties must meet high standards for both texture and flavor. Texture includes firmness, crispness, and juiciness (negatives being soft, chewy, dry, and mealy). Flavor includes sweetness, tartness, aroma, and other unique tastes (negatives being flavorless, not sweet enough, too sour, and bland). Extension Center, Wenatchee Texture Fruit texture typically trumps flavor. When a person takes the first bite from an apple, they perceive the firmness first with the force of teeth sinking into the apple. As the bite continues, the flesh of the apple is fractured with an accompanying sharp cracking sound, which is a measure of crispness. As the person chews the apple, the cells rupture and the juiciness becomes apparent. If this first impression from biting and chewing is soft, chewy, tough, dry, or mealy, the consumer is discouraged from moving onto the delights of flavor. The biggest complaint from consumers is that apples generally are soft. It is essential that new varieties, when removed from medium and long-term storage, are firm, crisp, and juicy. Flavor Once juice is released, taste sensors measure the dominant flavor traits of sweetness (sugars) and tartness (malic acids), and apple aroma is revealed. A dozen or more aromatic flavor compounds create the apple flavor. Some varieties have secondary nonapple fruit flavors, including pineapple, peach, pear, citrus, and banana, or even nonfruit flavors, such as cinnamon, honey, vanilla, and licorice, which can contribute positively to the eating experience. Unlike wine flavors with fashionable descriptors (notes of berry, citrus, licorice, and spice; floral tones; lively acidity), there is little sophistication in describing or appreciating apple flavors and textures. This could and should change with some savvy marketing and new varieties. Many consumers and some marketers believe that sweetness and tartness represent opposite ends of a CONTROLLED POLLINATION USE FIRMYIELD USE FIRMYIELD POLLEN WHEN: POLLEN TO: The Pollinizer Bloom is Light Bloom is Poorly Coordinated The Weather is Not Conducive for Bee Flight Improve Pollination & Fruit Set Improve Fruit Size & Quality Improve Your Orchard's Profitability Pollen for Apple, Pear, Cherry, Plum, and Apricot Viability and Virus Tested Matched for Optimum Compatibility ''' &"( ! %$!! # $" +)0,'&/ ,'+&)/ //,1*521 24 ,'. /24)1 44 March 15, 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER !20 &-245 )164&/ "&//)9 !,0 2/)+1 !+) &//)5 /7) 2716&,1 428)45 BeeBooster® Pollen Dispensers and ATV Pollen Applicators Available /3)45 !4)) &/)5 766215 &9 47,6 2157/6 &1 ))6)45

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