It’s hard to get into the fall spirit of October when its 105 F. outside. But it’s still apple season here in Riverside, and yesterday I harvested this basket of Granny Smith from our espaliered tree. I whacked this poor tree HARD for scionwood cuttings last spring, but the nubs I left still blossomed and fruited a nice harvest; this is a great variety for a hot climate, as it is reliable and productive.
The apples are pretty much what you get in the store, but without the chemical essence they get from being in Controlled Atmosphere storage for a year. Crisp, juicy, firm, tart, and my wife baked an absolute KILLER pie from them this evening, which probably isn’t going to last very long. The neighbors are probably wondering where that smell is coming from, and that it reminds them of fall.
OK, it’s not the flavor, but the texture, that reminds you of a hunk of coconut. The flavor is definitely apple, very sweet with a hint of cinnamon, even when quite green and unripe. The texture is firm, slightly chewy, moderately juicy, …and very enjoyable. The tree is vigorous and bears heavily and reliably, and leafs out fully in a low-chill climate. The apples get decent sized and start to ripen mid-season, right after Hawaii, filling in a nice gap. This was developed by Garfield Schults in Homedale, Idaho.
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.
Outdoor Apple Pie
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