[NAFEX] Apples vary like Wine

kieran or donna redherring at tnaccess.com
Fri Aug 19 14:05:20 EDT 2005

Bruce Hansen quoted and then commented:
"I have found that apples, like wine vintages, vary
greatly from year to year even if taken from the same orchards, indeed the
same trees - moreover, that the same varieties, growing just a few miles
apart but under different soil, air, drainage, or exposure conditions, may
vary widely too."
I have found the same results at
the Apple Branch...

    I even note differences in tomatoes when I have done something drastic
to the soil or we have a rainy year.  But I think that variations in black
walnuts are much more interesting.  Anthracnose causes premature leaf drop,
which prevents the nuts from ripening properly. Someone wrote a few decades
ago that when their grandfather went out to harvest walnuts, he'd crack
some.  If the kernals were plump and translucent with oil, and the skins
were light colored, he'd collect enough for two years.  When  the kernals
were dark skinned and white and watery inside, he didn't bother at all.  A
rainy year that favors anthracnose is going to involve less sunshine and
less heat units for photosynthesis.  It might be interesting to start
comparing your apples each year to the local walnuts.
      I knew some local people in TN who scoffed at the story of walnuts
varying from year to year.  They said that any given tree was either good
every year or worthless every year.  This changes the subject to disease
resistance.  A disease susceptible apple is going to really be at it's best
in a dry year or a dry climate, especially if not sprayed.   Spraying is
going to minimize the disease aspect of variable weather, giving a more
uniform crop, as Bruce noted the commercial growers seem to do.  Disease
resistant apples get a reputation for reliability in an area they are
adapted to, and make good backyard trees for the common people.  There is
still going to be some flavor variation due to differences from year to year
in crop load, sunshine, rain, and whether they have perfect conditions just
as they are ripening.  Even the commercial people can't control everything,
and I am sure they are aware of variations in their product.    Donna

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