Good Fruit Grower

December 2015

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26 DECEMBER 2015 Good Fruit Grower C onsumer tastes, marketing presentation, economic considerations, and ease of growing are all driving new apple varieties, according to Bill Shane, who is one of the organizers of the Fruit Variety Showcase at the upcoming Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, and Farm Market EXPO. "The apple situation is pretty diverse. Just within the fresh side of it, there is quite a bit of difference in flavor preferences. Some people like big and red, some people are really turned on by the new names and new varieties, and there are traditionalists who know what they like and Fruit Variety SHOWCASE EXPO Preview New and notable apples highlight of 2015 Great Lakes Expo. by Leslie Mertz it is those same apples they have liked for 20-30 years," said Shane, senior extension tree fruit specialist at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center in Berrien County. Within the large number of new and coming varieties lie certain overarching trends, he said. For many, it's all about redness. Consumers often equate red with ripe- ness and will pass over a blush apple that has its yellow side up and red hidden in a store display. "Growers are running to get the best appearing of the types, and we're seeing that with new and redder strains of Honeycrisp coming out," Shane said. This is the same path followed by older varieties, including Red Delicious, Jonagold, Gala, and Empire. "Just about every fresh apple has gone through that push to find varieties that look better in the grocery produce section," he said. Striping is also becoming increasingly common among new varieties for the same reason: They present a more uniform appear- ance in a basket or on the shelf. Another trend is toward varieties that extend the growing season. Certain up-and-coming Honeycrisp strains are good examples, Shane said. "For instance, there is a new strain called Premier that ripens earlier, so obviously if growers can get it two to three weeks earlier (than the standard Honeycrisp), that would open up a marketing niche." Discovered by Steve Slaybaugh of Mt. Ridge Fruit Farms in southern Pennsylvania in 2010, Premier was developed as a variety by the nearby Adams County Nursery. PHOTOS COURTESY OF BILL SHANE Bill Shane, senior extension tree fruit specialist at the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center, is one of the organizers of the Fruit Variety Showcase. Bleyhl ad / Dec 2015 Quality custom-order steel for today's high density orchards Competitive bid pricing AmeriTrellis WA Premier Dealer For Orchard Stakes Quotes for shade cloth & wind screen We want a stake in your future Bleyhl Country Store 800-645-4416

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