An earlier-maturing cripps pink cultivar, which is branded as Pink Lady. is delivering all the taste and color of cripps pink but with a little bigger time cushion before the threat of freeze temperatures.
That advantage may have come in especially handy this year, with freezing temperatures reported in some apple growing regions in late October.
Temperatures in the teens and 20s hit some Washington apple regions the nights of Oct. 28-29, but industry sources said it was too early to make any conclusions about crop damage to fruit yet to be harvested.
About 85% to 90% of the total apple crop was thought to be harvested as of Oct. 23, said Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, Wenatchee.
Fryhover said Oct. 30 that cripps pink represents most of the remaining crop on the tree, with along with some fuji and granny smith apples. Fryhover said one more subfreezing night was anticipated, followed by a slight warming trend.
The dense cell structure of cripps pink apples could help them endure the cold spell. “Growers will have to take the discipline to let the fruit hang, let the weather improve and reassess,” he said.
Tim Kovis, communications manager for the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, said Oct. 30 that apple harvest traditionally continues through most of November. Industry leaders were in the midst of preparing the Nov. 1 storage report, which should determine if the forecast of 137 million cartons is on target, he said.
Cripps pink, widely licensed and sold under the Pink Lady brand, is a late maturing apple variety that is typically among the last fruit harvested in Washington.
In recent years, some growers are benefiting from a new cripps pink sport called LBARB1 (Barnsby) which can be harvested three to four weeks before other cripps pink strains, according to a news release.
The selection was discovered in Australia by Dennis Barnsby and brought to the U.S. by Teak Enterprises and Proprietary Variety Management, according to a news release.
With the Barnsby cultivar’s early harvest timing, the release said Pink Lady brand apples are now able to be grown in parts of the country that were previously too limited in growing days to grow the apple.
“Reaching the growing areas of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York have expanded the brands outreach and given the growers of those areas another choice in the ever-expanding branded apple category,” Lynnell Brandt, president of Proprietary Variety Management, said in the release. “We are excited to have this selection within our variety offerings and think that it’s an excellent addition to the Pink Lady brand.”