Good Fruit Grower

March 15

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NAMES influence fruit sales K ole Tonnemaker, an organic grower and direct marketer at Royal City, Washington, says variety names are important to his customers. Tonnemaker is growing WA 2, and when Tom Auvil, research horticulturist with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, called to say that other growers were calling the new apple Crimson Delight, he was quick to adopt the name. "I think we would all like to think it doesn't matter with an apple, and it should stand on its own merit and the taste and quality, but sometimes to get people to try it, you have to have a name," he said. "We grow plenty of peaches that just have a number, and people don't like that. In our situation, where we're standing face to face with the customer, they like to feel a little more personal than a number. I think a good name does help the sales." Tonnemaker grows Honeycrisp, which is an example of a name that helps to sell the variety, but it works the other way around as well, he said. "There are names that definitely don't help. We have an early apple similar in appearance to Golden Delicious called Earligold. It's a good apple, and it has a nice flavor, but the name is horrible. It sounds like a Golden Delicious that's picked too early before it has any flavor. That's what people think, and it's not right. I think the name was picked with the best intentions, but I don't believe it's helped that variety at all." However, an apple with an enticing name like Honeycrisp or Crimson Delight has to live up to expectations, he said. Tonnemaker thinks WA 2 is unlikely to disappoint. The fruit he's grown so far had good, uniform color. It's a sweet apple that's very firm, and he thinks firmness is more critical with sweet apples than with tart ones. "The people who like Gala and Fuji are going to love WA 2," he said. John Yaryan of Greenbluff, near Spokane, Washington, is another early producer of WA 2. He and his wife, Beverly, have a 20-acre orchard with about 20 varieties that they sell directly to the public. In 2011, John planted 160 trees of WA 2, which were all that were available at the time. Last fall, he harvested 20 to 30 boxes of fruit from them and sold it as WA 2. Yaryan says it's a high-quality apple that his customers like, but, because of its remarkable keeping quality, he tells them not to eat it right away. "This particular apple is better after you store it for a while," he said. "We have to tell our clients to hold the apple for a month or so. Put it away and bring it out at Christmas time." Now that the variety has a name, he'll call it Crimson Delight. "That's a pretty good name if they will hold to that name," he said. —G. Warner "This particular apple is better after you store it for a while." —John Yaryan GOOD FRUIT GROWER March 15, 2013 7

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