[NAFEX] MonArk apple

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Thu Jul 13 15:23:34 EDT 2006

Finally got to eat my first MonArk apple - and it was as good as 
everyone had said it would be - best doggone early apple I ever ate, 
and I can imagine that it is one that probably would hold up under 
storage for a much longer time than the typical Yellow Transparent, 
Lodi, or Early Harvest.

I've been waiting a long time for this one - think I bought the tree 
from Classical Fruits in '98, and it had grown well, but about 3 or 4 
years ago, something happened to it - vole attack or something - when 
everything else was blooming/budding out, I noticed that the MonArk's 
twigs were starting to look shriveled, and there was no evidence of 
it budding out.
I collected a few scions from the least 'shriveled' branches and 
re-grafted it onto a new rootstock.  Hailstorm back in April beat 
almost every blossom or small fruit off of almost every tree in the 
orchard, as well as knocking off big chunks of bark from many limbs - 
but two MonArk fruit survived.   Passed the tree on my rounds through 
the orchard yesterday afternoon and noticed that big, (mostly)red 
apple hanging there - with minimal insect damage.
Firm, crisp, tart; very much to my liking.  Believe I'll have to 
graft a couple more of this one.

Here's what Charlotte, at Vintage Virginia Apples had written to me 
about her experience with MonArk:
"I have two MonArk trees that went in in 1998, bought from Ed
Fackler's Rocky Meadow.  We had about three apples in 2001 and perhaps a
peck and a half in 2002 which was a horrible year in just about every way
here--no winter, early spring and bloom, late freeze, damp and drizzley into
June followed by unrelenting drought and searing heat into September.
Apples were unripe on Monday and overdone by Thursday...one just wanted to
cry.  But the MonArks were okay.  I don't think we picked them at the
optimal point, which was a real challenge this year and we are not very
experienced at this to boot, but they kept fairly well in cold storage
around 35-37 degrees for six to eight weeks or more.  They are a big red
apple, red over green really, and have a very fine flavor for an early
apple.  We have a small new upscale food market here to which I am selling,
and I think they will be very well received there.  This and Pristine are
our best flavored early apples thus far. "

Lucky Pittman
USDA Cold Zone 6
AHS Heat Zone 7
Hopkinsville, KY 

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