'Washington Grower' features Cosmic Crisp on TV

An episode of TV’s "Washington Grown" series featuring Washington apples is scheduled to air this weekend.

The Washington Apple Commission, with the help of production company North By Northwest, created segments for the show, according to a news release.

"Washington Grown" showcases agricultural products from the state and shows “behind the scenes” footage of growing and production, the release said, as well as visits to local restaurants. The show is in its fifth season.

The episode includes a visit to Legacy Orchard and an explanation of the pollination process, according to a news release.

It will also feature a talk with Cosmic Crisp apple variety breeder Bruce Barritt and a history lesson with a visit to the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center.

The show ends with a visit to the Wenatchee Apple Blossom Festival, with an interview with the Apple Blossom queen.

The episode airs 5 p.m. Pacific Saturday on KIMA, 2:30 p.m. Sunday on KOMO4 and 7 p.m. Sunday streaming live from "Washington Grown’s" Facebook page.

On Oct. 23, the video will be available on YouTube.

Article by Jessica MacCallum, The Packer

Washington apple harvest half-way finished

Autumn has finally arrived in Eastern Washington, bringing with it the cool nights that create the spectacular apples that Washington is known for. Dave Gleason, Chief Horticulturist, boasts about Washington’s weather, with 300 days of sunshine, an arid climate, and less than seven inches of annual rain in the Central Washington.

Cosmic Crisp replaces Gala

As the seasons change, Superfresh Growers® transitions older orchard blocks to new varieties. Superfresh Growers is currently tearing out an older Gala orchard, and replacing it with a high density Cosmic Crisp orchard. “We know the science of growing the best quality fruit, now we are moving to efficiency with high density orchards,” explains Gleason. This process includes turning over the soil and adding compost, enhancing soil conditions. The new high-density orchard will be designed with a trellis system with technology in mind: both platforms, which are currently used, and robotic systems of the (not so distant) future. 

360 million apples picked per day

Parker Sherrell, Pre-Production Manager, and newest member to the Superfresh farm team, joins Gleason to discuss how massive the Washington State apple harvest is. On a peak harvest day in Washington State there are roughly 30,000 pickers, each picking an average of six 850 pound apple bins. Sherrell shares that this equates to 360 million apples, which is enough apples to create a continuous line from Seattle to Shanghai, back to Seattle, and back to Shanghai. In other words, Washington State harvests about 17,000 miles of apples a day. 

“We are about 50 percent done with apple harvest in Washington. It takes an incredible amount of hard work to get these apples off. We are so grateful to have the people we do have helping us. There is a lot of work that remains, and everyone is in positive spirits,” said Sherrell. 

Cooler spring weather manifested smaller than normal apples. Apples are peaking three to four sizes smaller than last year, making this an excellent year to promote bagged fruit. Superfresh Growers has a full line of organic and conventional pouch bags ready to support retailers this season, as well as mesh, poly, and tote bag options. 

Gala harvest has concluded

Superfresh Growers is half-way finished with harvest. Galas have concluded, and the Superfresh team is moving on to Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, Pink Lady® and Autumn Glory® apples. Autumn Glory harvest will double in volume this year, providing a crop that will continue to build its national presence.

Article by Pamela Riemenschneider, Produce Retailer

Growers get latest Cosmic Crisp horticultural tips

Stefano Mussachi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, shows growers a Cosmic Crisp apple tree in spindle tree style at the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard near Rock Island, Wash., in spring of 2016. Growers are keen on learning horticultural aspects of what the industry hopes will be a great new variety. (Photo by Dan Wheat, Capital Press).

Stefano Mussachi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, shows growers a Cosmic Crisp apple tree in spindle tree style at the WSU Sunrise Research Orchard near Rock Island, Wash., in spring of 2016. Growers are keen on learning horticultural aspects of what the industry hopes will be a great new variety. (Photo by Dan Wheat, Capital Press).

Washington State University tree fruit researchers shared their latest perspectives on how to grow the new Cosmic Crisp apple variety with growers at a recent field day south of Wenatchee.

ROCK ISLAND, Wash. — Mechanical pruning works well on Cosmic Crisp apple trees by the fourth year and cutting the tips of one-year old limbs controls growth better than limb bending.

Those were main points growers learned at a Washington State University field day at Sunrise Research Orchard south of Rock Island, Sept. 27.

Cosmic Crisp is the new WSU-bred apple tree the industry is starting to plant in a big way with plans for the first apples to hit grocery stores in the fall of 2019 and quickly ramp up thereafter.

Promoters say cosmic Crisp is a great eating apple with great flavor and good crispness and firmness that consumers will love more than Honeycrisp, one of its parents. It stores well without storage disorders such as water core, internal browning and superficial scald that hampers other varieties.

Perhaps it’s only negative is vigorous growth causing too much spacing between fruit, called blind wood, resulting in fruit on outer edges rather than closer to tree trunks where desired.

Stefano Musacchi, WSU tree fruit physiologist, “now believes that’s better controlled by cutting the tips of one-year-old limbs and cutting tips in subsequent years rather than by bending limbs down,” said Karen Lewis, WSU Extension tree fruit specialist. Musacchi calls it click pruning. Bending limbs down actually creates more blind wood, according to a tip sheet the scientists wrote for growers.

Apple trees produce the plant growth regulator auxin in their stems and shoot tips inhibiting bud formation. Cutting limb tips or girdling or notching every foot of a trunk on two-year-old trees interrupts auxin flow allowing more buds to form where desired.

The tip sheet gave equal credence to spindle and biaxial (two trunks off a one) tree structure for good fruit coloring and automation and mechanization of pruning and harvest while European V is more problematic for mechanized pruning and harvest.

“At the end of the day, Cosmic Crisp responds well whether vertical or angle (V),” Lewis said. “Growers need to put the math to it (what’s profitable) and their ability. They’ll do what they know.”

Musacchi is now experimenting with a fourth tree structure, what he calls top grafting which is grafting Cosmic Crisp onto stumps of other varieties above their rootstocks to develop three trunks, she said.

Lewis has focused a lot on mechanical pruning, also called hedging. Mechanical pruning in June eliminates blind wood by producing buds closer to stems and produces higher quality fruit, she said.

“We’ve also noticed that in the first couple of years when hedging the tree responds vigorously (more growth), but in the fourth year it settles down and gives you the tight narrow canopy you’re looking for,” she said. But it can result in smaller fruit which is something to consider, she said.

Article by Dan Wheat, Capital Press

New apple brand developed at WSU to be available in 2019

PULLMAN, Wash. – Move over Granny Smith and Golden Delicious, there is a new apple in town.

The Cosmic Crisp apple is expected to be available for consumers by 2019.

This new brand of apple is a cross between Enterprise and Honeycrisp created by Washington State University’s Tree fruit breeding program.

According to WSU, the fruit has a rich red-purple color over a green-yellow background and is speckled with little spots. WSU tree fruit experts said the apples will flavor profile will provide ample sweetness and tartness.

WSU made 300,000 trees available to growers this year. The growers were chosen through a drawing, according to WSU. Other growers will be able to buy trees from Washington State fruit tree nurseries for delivery in 2018 and 2019.

Article by Krem 2 News