• Eliminating LADDERS

Eliminating LADDERS

  • December 1st, 2010

Auvil Fruit Company, based in Orondo, Washington, has developed a picking platform with two objectives in mind: to keep costly cull apples out of the ­packing house and to expand the potential labor pool.

For more than 20 years, Auvil has had workers use platforms, rather than ladders, to prune, [...]

  • An oddly grand apple

An oddly grand apple

  • December 1st, 2010

That Gala apple sport called Grand Gala apparently deserves its name, and researchers at Purdue University have found out why.

It’s because of a process called endoreduplication—never before found in apples—in which cells in the fruit carry out an unusual cell division, doubling the DNA in the nucleus but not [...]

  • Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

Bin hauler becomes orchard platform

  • December 1st, 2010

The Bin Bandit hauls bins during the harvest season, and a platform sits on it for use in thinning, pruning, and tree training.

A machinery manufacturer came to Lamont Fruit Farm three seasons ago, wanting to ­demonstrate a five-bin pickup system to see how the machine, developed as a harvest [...]

  • Platform transforms orchard work

Platform transforms orchard work

  • December 1st, 2010

Tom DeMarree bought this Blosi platform and uses it for many tasks, including installing trellis wire.

Workers crimp stabilizer wires onto trellis wires. The stabilizer wires eliminate the need for additional stakes
or posts.
Two years ago, the Lake Ontario Fruit Program, with a Northeast Risk Management grant and funds [...]

  • Orchards designed for efficient harvest

Orchards designed for efficient harvest

  • December 1st, 2010

Michael Zingler stands next to a planting of SweeTango in its third leaf and describes the reasoning behind the design of the orchard: Efficient use of harvest labor.

Western New York apple grower Michael Zingler likes his harvest system well enough to design his orchards to fit it.

“This is kind [...]

  • KC Bailey Farms taps wind and sun for power

KC Bailey Farms taps wind and sun for power

  • December 1st, 2010

This shiny new roof is covered with 110 photovoltiac solar panels that will provide 25-kilowatt power capacity for the cold storage behind it.

Chip and Karla Bailey saw the potential for generating renewable energy on their farm already in 2001, but it took a while to get there.

After years of [...]

  • More quantity than quality in China

More quantity than quality in China

  • December 1st, 2010

Chinese packers have been unable to convince growers to update orchards to improve yields and color. Shandong growers are unwilling to lose production in the short term in order to improve future production.

Although China is the world’s top apple producer in terms of volume, its apple producers have a [...]

Last Bite — The rise and fall of the fruit box label

  • December 1st, 2010

As this is the last article in this series, I decided to provide a brief overview of the history of the fruit box label, as described in The Ultimate Fruit Label Book, which I authored (with the help of many others).

Between the years of about 1880 and 1956, millions [...]

Capturing the light

  • November 1st, 2010

If apple growers could capture all the sunlight energy that falls on their orchards and convert it into salable fruit, they could sell more than 20,000 bushels per acre each year, instead of about 700. Less than one percent of the sun’s visible light energy striking an orchard is [...]

  • Last Bite – Exponential growth

Last Bite – Exponential growth

  • October 1st, 2010

Capitalizing on Native American images to sell fruit, Skookum and Yum-Yum labels were developed in competing regions of Washington State.

After large-scale irrigation systems and a railroad network became operational in the Pacific Northwest, there was an exponential growth in the amount of fruit being harvested and marketed. This put [...]

WSU releases second new apple, called WA 5

  • October 1st, 2010

Just a year after the release of WA 2, WSU’s apple breeding program in Wenatchee is releasing its second new cultivar, WA 5. WA 5 is sufficiently different from WA 2 in ripening season, appearance, and eating quality to justify its release.

With a bright orange-red stripe covering 60 to [...]

  • Steps to commercialization

Steps to commercialization

  • October 1st, 2010

New apple varieties from Washington State University are evaluated and ­commercialized under the following general guidelines.

Phase 1: Initial seedling selection and evaluation The Washington Apple Breeding Program evaluates many thousands of seedlings, with input from its Industry Advisory Council. The breeding program identifies selections for ­advancement to Phase 2.

Phase 2: [...]