On Monday, September 23, we collected Rome, York, Fuji, and Stayman apple samples for this week’s maturity report (2013 Sept 23 Maturity Report). The weather in the northern Shenandoah Valley will remain cool, with clear sunny days for the next week. These conditions are continuing to promote excellent fruit color and varietal flavors, while also extending the harvest window for many cultivars.
Of the fruit we measured this week, Rome harvest should be starting soon (starch = 3.3; ethylene <1.0), while the main Fuji harvest crop will probably not be ready to pick until next week at the earliest. Staymans and Yorks still have very high firmness (>18.8 and 23.6 lbs, respectively) and very low ethylene (<1.0) and starch degradation (=1), indicating that it will be several more weeks until they will be physiologically mature enough for harvest.
Golden Delicious harvest is concluding for many growers, though fruit that is still on the trees has maintained a high level of quality. For a pre-harvest drop test, we did a large Red Delicious sampling late last week, and we will do another one next week. Red Delicious harvest is still ongoing, with many strains still viable for long-term storage and SmartFresh applications.
As always, due to location, rootstock, strain, and environmental factors, fruit in your orchards may be at a different maturity than the fruit at the AREC. For this reason, you should be checking blocks several times a week to ensure that you harvest at your desired maturity. More information about harvest maturity indices can be found at my post from last year.