Maturity

In Nova Scotia, harvest when fruit background color changes from green to cream. Harvest window is generally September 25- October 10 (Nichols et al., 2008). Clip fruit peduncles to avoid fruit punctures during harvest and grading. Growers may prefer later harvests to get better fruit color, but this can lead to increases in storage disorders (Nichols et al., 2008).

For the New York Lake Champlain region, the ideal harvest would start 2nd or 3rd week of September (Watkins et al., 2003). Fruit should have starch index of less than 6 on the Cornell scale for long-term storage.

For western NY, the optimum harvest period is from the 2nd-4th week of September (Wargo and Watkins, 2003 and 2004). Maturity can fluctuate from year to year. Spot pick fruit 3-4 times during harvest window, when starch index is 7 on the Cornell scale, with a minimum firmness of 13.5 lbs and 13% soluble solids content. Skin cracking can be a problem in late harvested fruit, so if rain is predicted, harvest before rain starts falling. Preharvest fruit drop is not a major problem.

For Maine, Massachusetts, and Michigan, in general follow the New York recommendations. Use change in fruit background color from green to cream to determine when to harvest. In Maine, harvest usually occurs during the last week of September, when starch index of fruit are 7 or more based on the Cornell scale (Watkins et al., 2005). In Michigan, harvest begins in mid-September, when the starch index ranges from 3-5 on the Cornell scale.

For Ontario-grown fruit, harvest when starch is between 5 and 5.5 on the Cornell scale, firmness is between 15 and 17 lbs, and soluble solids content is 15% (Cline and Gardner, 2005), OR when starch is less than 6 on the Cornell scale, minimal firmness is 13.5 lbs., and soluble solids content is 13% (Watkins et al., 2004).

Clip stems to prevent punctures during harvest and handling.

References

  • Schupp, J., Fallahi, E., Chun, I. 2002. Effect of particle film on fruit sunburn, maturity and quality of 'Fji' and 'Honeycrisp' apples. XXVI Intern Hort Congress.
  • Wargo, J., Watkins, C. 2004. Maturity and storage quality of 'Honeycrisp' apples. HortTechnology. 14:496-499.
  • Watkins, C., Erkan, M., Nock, J., Beaudry, R., Moran, R. 2005. Harvest date effects on maturity, quality, and storage disorders of 'Honeycrisp' apples. HortScience. 40:164-169