Does climate affect the taste of apples?
In my last article I wrote about our first Spring Series class about pruning fruit trees. It will be held Feb. 12, 6 p.m. at the Senior Center in North Branch. Jim Birkholz, owner of Pleasant Valley Orchard, will share his knowledge. The price for all of our classes in $5 per person, which is a real bargain.
Jim is great at answering all the questions and at one of his sessions someone asked why the same variety of apples can taste different. In the January 2011 University of Minnesota Extension Yard and Garden brief, Thaddeus Camant wrote about the taste of apples. He mentioned that wine makers and wine consumers have know for centuries that wine tastes different depending on where the grapes are grown. Apple consumers should also start becoming as particular about their fruit as wine drinkers are about theirs.
Thaddeus wrote that the Honeycrisp apple was developed in Minnesota and has become very popular because it stays crisp long, has a high sugar content and has a moderate acidic content. Honeycrisp has a little more acid than Delicious or Fuji, but less than Granny Smith. The sugar/acid balance of the Honeycrisp is critical because a Honeycrisp with no acid tastes just like a bland Red Delicious.
When we compare the fruit quality of apples grown in Washington with those grown in Minnesota, there are a host of factors that can influence flavor such as soil, daytime temperatures, humidity, sunlight intensity as well as nighttime temperatures. I don’t know if the unusually dry summer had anything to do with it, but my apple crop has never been as sweet no matter what the variety.
Please join us Feb. 12 for our Apple Tree Pruning class. Our next class will be Feb. 26. Again, Jim Birkholz will conduct the class and the subject will be controlling apple pests and diseases. Those who would like to be on our mailing list or want more information or to register for any of our Spring Series classes or our Spring Gardening Bonanza, please call our office at 651-277-0151 or call me at 651-257-4496. People also call those numbers if they are interested in purchasing bare root plants from us.