No rush for GoldRush
When Ohio apple grower Mitch Lynd first saw the GoldRush apple, he was excited about it. It's remarkably sweet, with soluble solids seldom under 17 percent. It has tremendous keeping quality, probably better than Fuji. Consumers can keep it in their refrigerator until July or August and still have an apple with good texture, good flavor, and a lot of zip, he says.
In fact, he was so excited about the apple that he sent a single-layer gift box to more than 60 retail chain buyers. "Without exception, 63 out of 63 said they would not give that apple any shelf space at all because it was cosmetically borderline disgusting," he said. "The fascinating thing, to me, was that out of the 63, there were around a dozen or so of those chain store buyers who asked, 'How can I get some of those apples myself?'"
Lynd laments that marketing hype and outward appearance tend to trump other attributes of a product when it's sold in a supermarket. "Its underlying value is not considered. It's whatever triggers the hand to move out and put it in the basket."
Lynd, who operates Lynd Family Fruit Farm at Pataskala, not far from Columbus, Ohio, sells all his crop at the farm, and says his customers love GoldRush. The only drawback is that it matures in late October. Its extremely high sugar level protects it from freezing on the tree, he said, and it's survived temperatures as low as 22F, but its lateness limits how much he wants to produce. It matures during the last couple of weeks that his farm market is open for the year, and if the weather is cold at the end of October, business drops off significantly.
"It's not the best timing from that standpoint," he said. "It would be a bigger seller if it were at the front end of the picking schedule, rather than the back end, but you can't manufacture a great apple in 120 to 140 days. The great apples need to be on the tree for 180 days."
Ed Fackler, a fruit consultant in Indiana, is a great fan of GoldRush, though he admits it's not for everyone because of its long growing season. He thinks it's a better apple than Pink Lady, which matures at around the same time, and believes it would be a good choice for areas with a long growing season.
"Why people in Southern California don't grow GoldRush by the bazillions is beyond me," he commented. "It's one of the easiest things to grow in my life."
It's a very sweet apple with incredible storability, he explained. The tree sets a heavy crop but is easy to thin to achieve good-sized fruit. The tree is naturally small.
"This is just a moron-proof apple," he said. "Why these people haven't planted it, I don't have a clue."