I’m not sure where I got this variety (Axel Kratel?) but the beautiful apple is very productive here, the first one ripening mid-July (the rest of the ones on the branch are still quite green). The skin is tough, but the flesh is soft to the point of mealy. The juice is blandly sweet, almost like Red Delicious, with not a hint of acid. The result is not very pleasant or exciting, and you have no urge to swallow after taking a bite and chewing the sweet juice out of it. The mouthful gets spit into the trash can, and the rest of the apple is tossed in there also. Alas, just another pretty face that gets relegated to our “reject” list you can find at http://www.kuffelcreek.com/applelist.htm
Mama Josie stars in this baking video on how to make an apple pie outdoors.
I found a YouTube video shot July of 2013 at the Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) detailing their field trials with apples. This station is at a lower altitude (3,500 ft.) just north of the equator and is a truly tropic climate, with little difference in seasonal temperatures or daylight length. The enthusiastic Technical Person Grace Bazanya describes the trees and gives a good overview of what growing apples in the tropics consists of. The presenter Florence Naluyimba states what we’ve been saying for years, that “Researchers have proven that apples can grow in just about any sort of environment as long as they are properly managed and you don’t have to say anymore that the weather is a limiting factor in growing apples in Uganda”.
Well said, Florence, we completely agree with you.
While preparing to film our next video on baking an apple pie outdoors, I stumbled across this video. Not sure what this has to do with anything, but it’s really catchy and puts you in a pie mood. The music starts around 0:48
Picked the first ripe Shell of Alabama apple May 21st. Just a hint of starch still, but enough sugar to eat the whole thing and enough acid to keep things interesting and leave an “appley” aftertaste on your tongue. Not one drop off the tree yet, despite the heat wave last week. It seems to be much more sun-resistant than Dorsett Golden.
We tout a lot of Old Southern Apples for our nursery in Africa, but early results in Zambia indicate that the most popular apple to grow there might be Fuji. There’s a few reasons for this, not the least is Fuji’s excellent flavor; crunchy, juicy, and very sweet. The next reason would be its reliability. It takes a while to start bearing, but when it does start, it is extremely reliable, even in a hot climate with little to no chill. It is a tip-bearer, bearing apples only on the tips of branches, so the more tips you make by pruning, the more apples you’ll get. However it does over-set the applets, and clusters like this one should be thinned early on to only one apple, with a hand’s-spread between apples. This is to increase the size of the apples and reduce the tree’s tendency to bear a huge crop of small apples one year, and then hardly any crop the next year.
We held the first training seminars on apple culture at our Apple Center at Nakifuma, Uganda. We were going to hold them at a hotel in Kampala, but decided that they would be much more valuable to the attendees if they got to see some actual apple trees and the operations of the nursery. Those are some of the newly-grafted apple seedlings in the bag in front, and we also did some grafting during the seminar. They are three hours in total and cover Apple Basics, Apple Varieties, Planning the Orchard, Planting the Orchard, High Density Orchards, Apple Pests & Disease, Disease-Resistant Apples, Training for Productivity, Drip Irrigation, Fertilization, Grafting and Propagation, and Apple Marketing.
The cost of the seminar is 20,000/= ($7.84 USD) and the seminars are held monthly. You can get more information and the flyer at http://www.kuffelcreekapplenursery.com
The grafting season is winding to a close here in Southern California, but we still have fresh rootstocks and all the varieties of scionwood, including our champion bearer, King David (pictured). If you were contemplating getting an order in this spring, now is a good time to do it, as one big order can wipe us out for the season. And what a season it’s been; we’ve shipped to India, Africa, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, and a bunch of orders to that hot bed of apple-growing, Hawaii. Oddly enough, we’ve also had orders from Wisconsin and New York, which is OK since our apple trees do just fine there also. Not many fruits have this range of climates where it will grow.
They got their first apple at the Uganda nursery, and let me tell you, it’s one expensive apple. Hopefully it will have a bunch of buddies by next year. The guy holding it with the cap on is from NARO, the National Agricultural Research Organization, kind of like the Ugandan version of the USDA. He said the nursery operations were impressive and they look forward to working with us.
We shipped an apple order to Hong Kong this week. Yes, I know that Hong Kong is not the first place you think of when someone mentions apple growing, but all in all it was a very smooth experience. The permitting process was quick and easy, shipping time was four days, and inspection upon arrival was a breeze. My client already has them potted and on the balcony.
I’ve actually been to Hong Kong in 1985, and am aware of the tropical climate. But I have no doubt that our apple trees will grow there, and if they follow my directions in my book Growing Apples in the Tropics, they’ll be picking some nice apples in a few years.