Horrible Honeycrisp

I bought a bag of the most horrible Honeycrisp apples from Trader Joes this week.  They were very green (unripe), bland, tasteless, with not even a hint of sweetness.  I had hoped that they were just shaded during the season and didn’t get much color, but were still sweet and juicy inside.  Nope, they were just picked way too early and marketed anywaywith this lousy quality.

This just adds justification to breeders who want to protect their brand with strictly-controlled co-ops, who can dictate quality standards for any of their brand that reaches market.  If I had not known much better, I would have determined from this bag that Honeycrisp is a horrible apple, and that I prefer sweeter apples like Pink Lady instead.  Now Pink Lady is the trademark name for Cripp’s Pink apples that are grown to the standards set by the Pink Lady marketing association, and usually consumers will get a good taste experience, something not guaranteed by the expired-patent, non-trademarked Honeycrisp.

For that matter, it really lowers the bar on how good my homegrown apples have to be to beat the taste of supermarket apples.  But no worries there, the Honeycrisp we grow here in the heat are outstanding and are on par with even the best of what I’ve tasted in the store or even local mountain U-pick orchards, and we’re testing them in Africa also.


7 Responses

  1. I feel the pain. Single Honey Crisp here are running just a bit under $2.50 a pound. It would be had to swallow a bad one at that price.

    Just think, in about five months the Anna’s will be come in. To me, very comparable to a Pink Lady.

    Started pruning both peach and apple this week in South GA. Worried about early bloom with the warm weather we are having.

  2. I was just thinking about ordering a Honeycrisp apple tree, but was under the impression they were high chill (800-1000hrs). Are you stripping the leaves on your Honeycrisp tree(s)? How many chill hours do you have in Riverside?


    • Hi John;

      We had a pretty cold year this year and the UC Davis lists UC Riverside as having 344 chilling hours. We don’t strip the leaves on any of our trees; they just fall around the new year and leaf out mid to late April.

      Ignore the chilling hours with apples and just plant what you want.

      • Looks like I get more chilling hours than you do, I’m in Topanga Canyon(1100 ft elevation) near Los Angeles, I figure about 600 hours. BTW, my Pink Lady tree still hasn’t dropped it’s leaves.

        I’m also curious to know if you have tried growing Newton Pippin apples in your area.

  3. Like I said, this has been a cold year; usually we get about 200 hours. Pink Lady and Granny Smith will often keep their leaves through the winter, the new leaves pushing the old ones out and then blossoming and fruiting just fine.

    I tried Newton Pipping but the vertical growth habit drove me nuts and I pulled it out. The few apples I got were just OK, as were all the ones I tasted in Virginia. King David blows it away IMHO.

  4. Can I really ignore chill hours? I’m in Scottsdale, AZ and planted an Anna because it was supposed to be good for warm climates. The apples ripen in the summer and are smallish and mealy. I’d love to try some tastier varieties but thought chill hours would be too low. I welcome all advice. Thanks!

    • Yes, but not all apples are good in the heat. You can contact the Phoenix chapter of California Rare Fruit Growers, who is testing a lot of apple varieties to see how they do there.

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