What’s the appeal?

Dear Good Fruit Grower:

I’d like to respond to the recent articles “What’s the appeal of Honeycrisp?” and “Honeycrisp is set to soar,” in the January 15, 2012, Good Fruit Grower. There is no appeal if the fruit is like that I bought in response to your articles. It was labeled as Washington origin and tested 10.5° Brix with an awful green taste. That’s my experience with prior Honeycrisp, an awful green taste. Judging from response on the Internet, my experience is all too ­common.

Your article also quoted Dr. Carolyn Ross: “Her evaluations have shown for that for cherries, color is the most important trait to the consumer followed by shape….” Really? Shape means nothing, and color only indicates which piece of fruit is most ripe or, for Rainier types, got the most sun. Consumers want sweet, ­flavorful cherries and color is their best indicator.

Unfortunately, most Washington cherries, from what I can tell, are picked at least two weeks before peak quality. Last year, my greenhouse cherries tested 23–34° Brix when fully ripe. In the grocery store, anything over 19° Brix is a lucky find.

Sadly, most of the fruit reaching consumers is subpar. I grow and sell at a local market. I know how hard it is to move fruit even one mile to market. So, it’s not surprising that ­consumers get few 24° plus Brix cherries or 19° plus Brix apples. But that’s the industry’s problem as much as it is the consumers’.

Steven Winter
40-year reader and retired professor
Alpine, Texas

Editor’s note: The cherry consumer ­evaluations of Dr. Carolyn Ross referenced in the story were in regard to appearance traits that consumers consider before ­purchasing and tasting cherries.