• Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

Vacuum harvester passes bruising tests

  • December 1st, 2010

Critical components of the DBR harvester are the vacuum tubes (green ones carry apples), the decelerator wheels (circular steel), and the elephant-ear fruit distributor (fan-like device above apples). Here, a full bin is being lowered to the ground during a demonstration at Mike Rasch’s orchard in August.

The vacuum system [...]

  • 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 [...]

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 [...]

The apple world in 2020

  • October 1st, 2010

A panel of experts took a look ahead at what the apple industry might be like in 2020, ten years from now.

It was part of the U.S. Apple Association’s outlook and marketing ­conference in Chicago in August.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the marketing side of the apple business seems a little [...]

Mysterious ailment strikes

  • October 1st, 2010

A mysterious disease that has been killing the best looking, reddest strains of McIntosh apples in the nicest orchards in the northwest quadrant of Michigan has tentatively been identified, and growers now have some idea what to do about it.

“We’re not quite there yet,” said Dr. George Sundin, the [...]

  • Totally RED

Totally RED

  • October 1st, 2010

Because the red pigments are antioxidants, red-fleshed apples do not turn brown when sliced.

Swiss nursery owner and fruit breeder Markus Kobelt hit the headlines across Europe with the ­latest apple varieties he released. They are among the first red-fleshed apples in the world to go into commercial production.

Kobelt, who [...]

  • Future Fruit Growers of Lake Ontario

Future Fruit Growers of Lake Ontario

  • October 1st, 2010

The Young Grower Alliance organized this get-together with those from “the old generation” to discuss the orderly transition of ownership and management.

The Young Grower Alliance was formally organized with a mission “to encourage, develop, support, and equip the next generation of fruit growers in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

When the group [...]

Keeping the customer satisfied

  • October 1st, 2010

Over the past ten years I have initiated a number of research trials that, when taken together, tell an important story about the link between apple quality and profitability. I often quote my mantra that “we are in the food business” along with McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and even the slow [...]

  • 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 [...]