Apple Cultivars for the Retail Market
To keep up with consumers' ever changing tastes, growers should routinely convert orchard blocks to new cultivars to remain competitive in the retail market.
In this video, we will discuss apple cultivars that have characteristics well suited for direct market retail operations. These include favorites customers are already familiar with, and some less familiar ones that have interesting flavors and appearances that will help you differentiate yourself at the market. This list contains apples that ripen throughout the harvest season, and while they may not all store well, their excellent flavor make them ideal for the farmers market or roadside stand.
This video is also available in Spanish.
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- [Narrator] To keep up with consumers' ever-changing tastes, growers should routinely convert orchard blocks to new cultivars to remain competitive in the retail market.
In this video, we will discuss apple cultivars that have characteristics well-suited for direct market retail operations.
These include favorites customers are already familiar with and some less familiar ones that have interesting flavors and appearances that will help you differentiate yourself at the market.
This list contains apples that ripen throughout the harvest season.
And while they may not all store well, their excellent flavor make them ideal for the farmer's market or roadside stand.
Honeycrisp was developed at the University of Minnesota.
The tree is not very vigorous and should not be planted on M9 or B9 unless they are spaced close together.
Leaves of Honeycrisp frequently exhibit a green mottling during the summer.
Fruit matures early to mid-September and are well-known for their crisp texture.
Several new higher coloring strains are available from various nurseries.
Storage life in common regular atmosphere storage has been as long as six to seven months.
For further information on Honeycrisp and other apples released by the University of Minnesota, visit their page at apples.umn.edu.
Gala is another very popular apple.
It is crisp and juicy with an excellent flavor.
The fruit mature at the end of August in the southern portions of Pennsylvania, but require multiple pickings for best quality.
Storage life is rated at three to six months.
The original was yellow with red-orange stripes, but there are now many high-coloring strains available.
Fuji is firm and crisp with a sweet subacid flavor.
It has a strong biennial bearing habit, so trees need to be adequately thinned.
Trees with moderate crop loads respond very well to multiple return bloom treatments.
Standard Fuji matures in late October, and may not reach maturity in central and northern PA.
However, there are now many early-maturing strains which allows for Fuji to be grown in nearly all fruit-producing regions of the state.
Cripps Pink is correct name of the apple cultivar that is being marketed as, Pink Lady.
When trees are purchased, the grower receives a royalty-free license from Pink Lady America allowing the grower to use the Pink Lady name.
Trees grow vigorously and upright, but are susceptible to fireblight.
Fruit mature mid-November.
The fruit of medium-sized and oblong in shape.
The flesh is very firm and the fruit have a long storage life.
Many locations in Pennsylvania do not have a long enough growing season to adequately mature the fruit.
In central Pennsylvania, fruit are harvested still immature around November fifth.
Evercrisp was developed by the Midwest Apple Improvement Association, a private grower-funded organization.
It is a cross of Fuji and Honeycrisp.
To purchase trees, the individual must be a member of the Association and agree to pay a per tree royalty once they begin producing.
Evercrisp matures mid- to late October and resembles its maternal parent Fuji in shape and appearance with a similar texture to Honeycrisp.
Fruit are sweet and have a long harvest and storage window.
Jonagold was developed in New York as a cross between Golden Delicious and Jonathan.
It's a triploid, so while it is a vigorous tree that produces large fruit annually, it cannot be used as a pollen source.
Fruit mature early to mid-October and are large and conical.
Jonagold has received high ratings in apple taste tests, but they only have medium storage potential.
Many high-coloring red sports have been released.
Zestar is another release from the Minnesota breeding program.
It is a cold-hardy early-season apple that matures in late August.
As a young tree, the growth habit is upright and vigorous, but the tree has more moderate vigor once it matures.
It is susceptible to scab and fireblight.
The apples have an average diameter of three inches and are typified by a red striping.
The fruit have an excellent sweet-tart taste and can be stored for approximately two months.
Ginger Gold is an early-maturing golden type harvested in early to mid-August.
Trees are very precocious, but are susceptible powdery mildew.
Fruit finishes very smooth with little russeting and storage potential is rated as very good.
Silken is another early-season apple that matures in August.
Trees are slow-growing, but they're precocious.
The skin has a soft yellow, almost translucent quality and the fruit are crisp and juicy.
This apple may be harder to find as there is currently limited commercial availability.
Sunrise ripens just before Gala, and the fruit appear to have natural resistance to tufted apple bud moth.
Fruit color is an attractive pinkish-red over a yellow ground color that is medium in size.
Fruit flavor is mild to slightly sweet.
We only recommend Sunrise for central and northern Pennsylvania as the fruit breaks down too quickly in warmer regions of the state.
Blondee matures one week before Gala.
It is a completely yellow apple with Gala texture and flavor.
It has a cream-colored flesh that is resistant to browning and can be stored approximately two months in regular atmosphere storage.
Suncrisp is a precocious tree that produces large late-season yellow apples that are harvested about one week after Delicious.
Fruit are conical, have a striped orange cheek over a yellow ground color and have a crisp yellow flesh.
The unique have a unique spicy pear flavor.
Quality tends to improve after a short time in storage and fruit have good storage potential.
CrimsonCrisp was developed by the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois cooperative breeding program for resistance to apple scab.
Fruit are also moderately resistant to rust and powdery mildew.
It matures mid- to late September and hangs well on the tree so fruit can be picked through early October.
The medium to dark red fruit have a cream-colored, mildly acidic coarse flesh, and fruit will store about six months in regular storage.
GoldRush was also developed by the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois breeding program, and is resistant to apple scab.
The tree is moderately vigorous with an upright growth habit.
The fruit ripen very late in early November, and may be too late to ripen in central Pennsylvania northward.
Fruits are medium to large and have a spicy to slightly acid taste at harvest, improving after two months in storage.
Fruit quality is excellent and they can be stored for about seven months.
Pixie Crunch is another scab-resistant apple from the Purdue-Rutgers-Illinois breeding program.
It is however, susceptible to powdery mildew and fireblight.
The blushed dark red to purple fruit mature mid-September, and have a yellow flesh that is extremely crisp and juicy.
Fruit flavor is moderate to mildly acid.
Fruit tend to be small, but can be marketed as a snacking apple, and storage life is at best two months.
Pink Pearl was developed by a private breeder, Albert Etter in California, and was patented by a California nursery company.
This apple ripens mid- to late August and is distinguished by its pink flesh that is slow to oxidize and its tart flavor.
Skin color is a greenish-white translucent color.
Trees are susceptible to apple scab and fireblight.
Fruit storage life is about two months.
Autumn Crisp matures mid- to late September and was developed at Cornell University from a cross of Golden Delicious and Monroe.
The bright red blush fruit have a white flesh that is slow to oxidize.
Although not related to Honeycrisp, the texture is similar and fruit are very juicy.
While good for fresh consumption, it was also developed to use as a processing type, and has attributes for both fresh eating and baking.
Orion was developed in the Czech Republic as part of the scab-immune Golden Sunshine series.
It is a triploid and is a vigorous grower.
Fruit are large and can be oversized in various fertile soils.
In addition to scab resistance, it is tolerant to powdery mildew.
Fruit ripen early October at the same time as Golden Delicious.
Flesh is firm, crisp and fine-grained with a good sweet-tart balance.
Fruit can develop a light russet near the stem, and can be stored until March.
These cultivars have been evaluated in orchards in Adams and Centre counties.
As mentioned some descriptions, there are a few cultivars that will perform well in one region of the state, but should be avoided in others.
Before setting out large plantings of a new strain or cultivar, always plant a few trees on a trial basis first.
Also try to visit or talk to growers who may already have bearing fruit of a particular apple you'd like to grow.
For more information on cultivars, root stocks and other orchard establishment topics, visit the Penn State Extension Tree Fruit Production website.
Also consider purchasing the Penn State Tree Fruit Production Guide.
If growing fruit is a new venture for you, gather as much information as possible prior to planning a new orchard.
Also consider taking a Penn State Extension workshop on commercial fruit growing.