We collected fruit on Tuesday for this week’s maturity testing. Most growers in the Winchester area are finished or near to finishing Honeycrisp and Galas and moving into the main cultivars. Golden Delicious harvest has started, but the fruit has not advanced in maturity very much over the past week and is still very variable based on location and planting system. Compared to last week, the Goldens have lost firmness, but not starch and they have not increased in soluble solids or ethylene. Most Red Delicious strains are still at least a week away from early harvests for long term storage. This is despite the deep red colors that are developing. Picking of early strains of Fuji is underway, and like the other red skinned cultivars appear to have very nice color and size this year. Empires are starting to ripen and can probably be picked sometime in the next week, particularly if the fruit is going to be stored for any significant amount of time.
Over the next week, we are going to remain in a relatively dry weather pattern with warm but not hot days in the 80s and cool nights in the 50s and 60s. These conditions are ideal for developing color on red skinned cultivars and allowing the fruit to hang on the tree until ideal maturity and flavor has developed. We can only hope that these conditions will continue for several more weeks.
Click on the below link to download a pdf of the complete harvest maturity report for September 3, 2013.