You would think I would have learned by now about assumptions, especially when it comes to apples.
I always assumed that since Honeycrisp was developed by the University of Minnesota to be very hardy in frigid conditioins, and because the texture is so crisp, that it would get fried down in our heat and have terrible quality.
But last fall I bought a bag of Honeycrisp from Oak Glen, which has cold winters but gets a good bit of heat in the summer, and they were the best I’ve had. So I decided to take a chance and try it down here at our Riverside nursery.
September here has been stinking hot- well over 100 degrees since Labor Day, peaking out around 109 degrees. The Queen Cox tree next to the Honeycrisp got fried. But we tried our first Honeycrisp off the tree yesterday, and IT WAS GOOD! A little bit denser than in the supermarket, but VERY crisp, VERY juicy, VERY sweet, even when picked quite a bit green (the seeds were still pale). The color wasn’t anything like the supermarket example shown in the above photo, but the flavor was better, as the above apple was a bit sour.
This matches reports I’ve received from Northern California, where they have cooler winters but stinking hot summers as well. The tree definately has vigor issues in our heat (the professor at U of M says it has vigor issues everywhere), and so I’m grafting it onto more robust rootstocks like M111 and even seedling, as I want more of these! I’m happy to add it to our “Favorites” list, and will try not to be so prejudiced in the future; who knows what treasure I would have overlooked.
By the way, the patent on Honeycrisp ran out this year, and so it may be freely propagated. We’re going to be sending it to Africa to see how it does in Rwanda.