Thursday, September 22, 2016

Harvesting Apples from Breeding Program

   I'm still harvesting some early apple varieties and a few 'Enterprise' apples.  Most 'Enterprise' apples will ripen between Sept. 26 and Nov. 5.  Our pick-your-own apple season starts this Sat. Sept. 24, but only a few 'Enterprise' apples will be ripe yet, so the best pick-your-own time is the entire month of Oct.
   All our apple varieties are immune to apple scab disease, so we don't have to spray for that disease, so we can put on 1/3 fewer fungicide sprays than if we grew scab-susceptible apple varieties such as 'Jonathan'.  'Enterprise' and most of our other apple varieties originated from a cooperative apple breeding program between Univ. of Illinois, Purdue Univ. and Rutgers Univ. that began in 1945.  We also have one tree each of two other selections from this cooperative apple breeding program, Coop 27 and Coop 34, which are not yet named.
Coop 34 apples are just starting to ripen.  I harvested a few today and they all sold, but more will ripen over the next couple weeks.
   I also have my own apple breeding program, which uses apple varieties immune to apple scab disease as parents.  I've selected several dozen seedlings for further testing, and have named 15 apple selections so far.  Today I harvested selection SD34 1301, a cross of 'Sundance' and Coop 34 that I've tested for 4 years now, and decided to name it 'Sunburst'.  I harvest all the apple trees from my breeding program, as there's just one tree of each cross, and I take notes on fruit characteristics of each cross.
Today I started harvesting this selection from a cross of 'Sundance' and Coop 34, and named it 'Sunburst'.
   Asian pears are almost all harvested now, and almost all have sold.  Our European pear crop was greatly hurt by the 6 frosts during bloom, so we had only a very few European pears for sale this year, only about 5% of a full crop, and almost all have sold.
   I give taste samples of all our apple varieties.  Scroll down two blog posts for apple prices.
   From Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, as the sidebar at left says, we're open our fall hours: Mon. to Sat. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. only.  I'm usually harvesting apples in the orchard, so I put a sign on the sales building to ring the bell.  Ring it loudly, once or twice, and I'll hear it.
   Many early mornings I apply herbicides around fruit plants, and I can't see or hear cars come in the driveway while I'm spraying.  So if you want to come before 10 a.m., please phone 620-597-2450 the day before you come and leave a message saying the day and time you'll come, so I can look for you. Thanks.