Saturday, October 15, 2011

'GoldRush' apples & apple crosses ripening

   We started harvesting 'GoldRush' apples a couple days ago, and now have some harvested ones for sale and some for pick-your-own.  'GoldRush' was named for the rush of flavor you get when you bite into it, and it's the favorite apple of many customers.  'GoldRush' keeps for 7 months in the fridge -- I eat one fresh with my lunch every day until strawberries start in early May -- and the flavor gets even better after a few weeks in the fridge, as starches convert into sugars.
'GoldRush', our latest-ripening apple variety, has started ripening.
   Many 'Enterprise' apples are also still ripening, and we have lots of these harvested for sale and for pick-your-own.  'Enterprise' is also excellent for fresh eating, baking and cooking, and keeps 6 months in the fridge.
I harvest 'Enterprise' apples from the upper branches using a ladder.  Pick-your-own customers harvest fruit they can reach when standing on the ground.  We planted dwarf apple trees and keep them pruned low, so most fruit can be picked without a ladder.
   I've also been harvesting the apples from the controlled crosses I made this year, to save the seeds to grow in my breeding program.  This year I made crosses between 'GoldRush' and Coop 27 apples.  Both parents are immune to apple scab and have large, crisp, flavorful fruit.  Coop 27 has a flavor similar to 'Jonathan', and 'GoldRush' has flavor similar to 'Golden Delicious' but more intense, so I'm hoping some of the offspring may have a flavor similar to 'Jonagold'. 
The 'GoldRush' apple at left is one of my crosses, 'GoldRush' x Coop 27.  You can tell it's a cross because it lacks the sepals (tiny green leaves at the bottom of the fruit) of the apple at right.  I cut off the sepals, petals and anthers before pollinating the stigmas with Coop 27 pollen I'd collected, to ensure a controlled cross of the chosen pollen parent.
   I'll have to wait at least 6 or 7 years before I get to taste fruit from the offspring of this year's crosses.  This year, I've harvested fruit from some of the first crosses I made 6 and 7 years ago.  I have a couple of seedlings from 'Sundance' that have great flavor.  I've taken notes on these selections, and will watch them again next year.