Good Fruit Grower

January 15

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Postharvest picked immature, because fruit picked too early will not taste good either before or after storage. Acid levels can vary greatly at harvest, in the range of 0.3 to 0.6 percent. Where fruit lots have equivalent soluble sugars, starch levels, and color development, those with the higher acid levels are the ones that will hold up better long term. The internal ethylene level is not a good indicator of long-term storability. At harvest, growers should look for a change in the background color from pure green to a more yellowish color that indicates that the fruit has matured and is beginning to ripen, Mattheis said. If the fruit is harvested on the green side, the color will turn to yellow in regular storage, given enough time, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will taste good, he said. "One of the great things about Honeycrisp, from a postharvest management perspective, is that firmness really is not what we're worried about." —Dr. Jim Mattheis • The carbon dioxide level should be between 0.5 and 1.0 percent. Honeycrisp is not as sensitive to carbon-dioxide injury as some other apples. The Fruit School was presented by Washington State University. • Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines • "The Orchard-Rite crew is great to work with." Long-term storage As production of Honeycrisp increases and exceeds packers' capacity to ship it all early in the year, they will have no choice but to store the variety for longer, Mattheis noted. He offered the following tips to producers in order to have the best outcome from long-term storage: • Make sure the fruit has enough red color at harvest. The background color should be breaking from green to yellow. • Starch conversion should be around 4.5 to 5.0 on the six-point scale. • The acid level should be fairly high, preferably at least 0.5 percent. • Although most packers would be more comfortable with a higher firmness level, Honeycrisp at 12.5 pounds pressure will retain firmness and texture if handled properly in storage. • There is a difference in how the apples perform in storage, depending on if they've been treated with MCP before harvest (Harvista) or after harvest (SmartFresh). Because Harvista tends to delay maturity, it can reduce sensitivity to chilling injury, which Mattheis has not seen from a SmartFresh application. The sooner SmartFresh is applied after harvest, the better the response in terms of eliminating greasiness and maintaining the acid levels, he said. He's seen no negative effects of applying it right after harvest. • It's essential to condition the fruit for a week at 50°F before putting into storage at 37° to 39°F to avoid chilling injury. However, low temperatures in the orchard before harvest can also induce these disorders. If the chilling has happened in the field, there is nothing that can be done postharvest to prevent the disorders. • The oxygen level should be 2 to 3 percent. Low oxygen is not necessary because the variety retains its firmness well, and there can be fruit injury from very low levels. have been farming since 1974, and currently grow 70 acres of cherries. Last year, we put in two Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines, giving me frost protection on about 40-45 acres. We had a very cold, wet spring. These wind machines were very beneficial. I Because of our Orchard-Rite® Wind Machines, we actually had our best crop in what would normally be the poorest-producing portion of the orchard. We are installing two more wind machines this year. The Orchard-Rite crew is great to work with. Anytime I've called for information or assistance, they have been Johnny-on-the-spot. Don Nusom Gervais, Oregon Get the Orchard-Rite® story from your nearest representative: 1615 W. Ahtanum • Yakima, WA 98903 • 509-248-8785, ext. 612 For the representative nearest you, visit our Web site: GOOD FRUIT GROWER JANUARY 15, 2014 21

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