Good Fruit Grower

August 2013

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PHOTO COURTESY OF BILL HOWELL Breeder hits jackpot Hobby breeder Bill Howell pple variety enthusiast Bill Howell of Prosser, Washington, began making crosses about 25 years ago with the dream of developing a great-tasting red-fleshed apple. Three years ago, he hit the jackpot. "I was out evaluating fruit, and I opened it and tasted it, and I could hardly catch my breath," Howell recalls. "It was a beautiful hot pink inside, and the outside had a nice red finish to it. And it was a crisp, juicy, good-tasting apple. It just has a really nice balance of sugar and acid." Red-fleshed apples that are good to eat have been the grail of breeders worldwide. The red-flesh trait originated in crab apples, and the trick has been to separate it from the tart, unpalatable flavor of crabs. In the early part of the twentieth century, California breeder Albert Etter worked to develop new red-fleshed dessert apples, making crosses with a variety called Surprise, which had been brought from Europe in the nineteenth century by German settlers and was probably descended from the Manchurian crab. Howell has been crossing red-fleshed varieties developed by Etter and others with great-tasting white-fleshed apples. The new apple that took his breath away came from an open-pollinated red-fleshed variety. Howell suspects the pollen parent is Honeycrisp, which is nearby in the orchard. It was September of 2010 when Howell made the discovery. Feeling like a gambler with a winning lottery ticket, he immediately contacted Lynnell Brandt, owner of Brandt's by Geraldine Warner Fruit Trees in Yakima, Washington. It was too late in the year to cut budwood and bud trees in Washington, but he knew that Brandt had propagation fields in Oregon's Willamette Valley, where there was still time to bud trees successfully before the onset of winter. Brandt's agreed to propagate and test the variety, which is known as TC2 (a reference to Howell's Topcliffe Farm at Prosser) along with another apple that Howell discovered, which has a yellow to orange skin and deep red flesh, and is known as TC3. In 2012, Lynnell Brandt formed a new company called Proprietary Variety Management to commercialize new fruit varieties. Brandt's is propagating the red-fleshed varieties, and PVM will handle the Bill Howell believes his red-fleshed varieties may be Honeycrisp offsprings. Dolco Packaging APPLE DRAINAGE TRAYS NOW AVAILABLE IN: Euro Tray Pack sizes ET 20-39 Euro Cell Pack EC 18-39 Committed to Dedicated Service & Quality Trees For 75 Years & Counting • Patented design with built-in channels to allow moisture to run off in hot / humid climates • Dolco Foam Apple Trays will now provide premium protection and superior delivery of your fruit to all locations • Available in full line of apple tray sizes (48's through 150's) • Eliminates the use of layer pads Contact your DOLCO PACKAGING OR HR SPINNER CORP. Sales Representative for more details. 800•613•8415 or 509•661•3176 Drainage Channel Drainage Outlet A TEKNI-PLEX COMPANY 1121 South Columbia Street • Wenatchee, WA 98801 Hickman: Reedley: 19701 Lake Road 21200 E. Dinuba Ave. Hickman, CA 95323 Reedley, CA 93654 209-874-1821 559-638-6675 800-654-5854 14 AUGUST 2013 GOOD FRUIT GROWER

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