Good Fruit Grower

January 15

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10 JANUARY 15, 2015 Good Fruit Grower T he apple industry is still trying to learn how to best manage harvest and storage of Honeycrisp apples, a variety that behaves differently than all others. A panel of scien- tists recently summarized the latest research relating to management strategies of Honeycrisp. Representing Honeycrisp research from both sides of the United States, Drs. Chris Watkins of Cornell University, James Mattheis, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wenatchee, Washington, and Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission's Ines Hanrahan, answered the following questions: Is Brix level a good maturity index? Mattheis says you can get yourself into trouble using Brix to predict long-term storage potential. "If you have the value too high and are waiting before harvest to reach it, fruit can become too mature," he said. "A better way to use Brix is in helping identify fruit that should be marketed right away." Hanrahan said that in low-Brix years, growers might not reach the target. Watkins said, "Unlike other varieties, there's no hard and fast maturity index for Honeycrisp. It tells you when it's ready when you see color on the tree." He suggests looking at the brightness of color against the background color. "And there is no substitution for Strategies for Honeycrisp Postharvest Scientists respond to questions about harvest and storage practices. by Melissa Hansen TJ MULLINAX/GOOD FRUIT GROWER Recent research is reshaping practices in the harvest and storage of Honeycrisp apples.

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