It is fruit picking season in the Pacific Northwest, and Yakima, Wash.-based Domex Superfresh Growers is in the midst of harvesting cherries, blueberries, apples and pears, with kiwi berries set to start in September.
Dave Gleason, horticulturalist and proprietary variety developer for the company, posted a harvest update in mid-August and discussed the science involved in creating superior fruit.
Using the example of a Cosmic Crisp orchard, Gleason talked about the extensive structural planning that goes into orchard building.
With intense days of sunlight in Washington growing regions, Gleason said that shade cloth is utilized to protect the apples and reduce risks of producing non-marketable fruit.
“Shade cloth over the tops of these apples helps the trees grows better,” Gleason said in the video update.
“We get up to 16-plus hours of sunlight during the most intense and longest days of the year, and that gives us beautiful trees, large fruit with high sugar levels.”
For a Cosmic Crisp orchard, using shade cloth can reduce solar intensity by 14%, which protects against sunburned fruit and also allows full maturity to develop, he said in the video.
“We’re adjusting and adapting, looking at the results from what we’ve done in the past and trying to improve,” he said. “We’re excited to be at the front end of this apple harvest.”