WA 2 on view
Washington State University scheduled two field days this fall for growers to see and taste its new variety at harvest.
Bob Meyer of Toppenish (right) and Jim Cowin of Yakima compare WA 2 and WA 5. WA 2 is a blush apple and WA 5 is bicolored.
Washington apple growers were invited this week to see and sample Washington State University’s new apple, WA 2, fresh from the tree.
WSU’s breeding program hosted a field day on Wednesday at a test block in Quincy where WA 2 was just being picked. WA 2, the program’s first release, is a blushed orange-red apple that matures at around the same time as Honeycrisp. It needs good light exposure to color and is normally between 70 and 90 percent red over a yellow background. The tree is compact.
Dr. Bruce Barritt, retired WSU apple breeder, who developed the variety, said one of the variety’s most promising attributes is its storability. It is firm, crisp, and juicy and has potential as a long-season variety that goes on the market after January 1.
Dr. Ines Hanrahan, project manager with the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, is doing postharvest tests on WA 2 as well as WSU’s second release, WA 5, and eight other advanced selections from the program. Most are being color-picked twice.
She is placing apples from each pick in either regular or controlled-atmosphere storage, with and without MCP (1-methylcyclopropene), and will evaluate the fruit after four and eight months of storage. Some of the fruit will be run over a commercial pre-size line and packing line. Dr. Carolyn Ross, sensory scientist at WSU, will conduct formal taste tests.
Tom Auvil, research horticulturist with the Research Commission, said 120 growers or orchard companies have signed up to grow WA 2 in the Phase 4 wide-scale testing phase. Applications to test are being accepted only during a five-year period, which began last winter. Only those who participate in Phase-4 tests will be allowed to grow the variety commercially. Growers will have further opportunities to sign up to test WA 2 between January and March for the next four years.
WSU recently released its second variety, known as WA 5, which is being commercialized in the same manner. It is a bicolored apple that matures slightly later than Gala, but is firmer, crisper, and juicier, according to WSU. Growers will be able to apply to participate in Phase-4 testing between January and March for the next five years.
Washington State University scheduled two field days for growers to see and taste its new variety at harvest.