[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[nafex] Apple quality, Gala

For a good many years Galas have been in the supermarkets of St. 
Catharines, Ontario most of the year, between New Zealand and North 
American production. They are good, but not really outstanding. 
However, a few years ago I bought some Galas from a small local 
grower in the farmers' market here , which were extremely tasty with 
a "wild apple" flavour note I had tasted before only in a very few 
very special seedlings.

I am sure one of the differences between supermarket apples and those 
of the best quality is the amount of nitrogen used. It is known that 
best quality and keeping ability comes with a moderate amount of 
nitrogen and therefore moderate yield. Commercial growers use fairly 
high amounts of nitrogen on fresh market apples for yield and 
financial survival, and higher amounts still on processing apples.

Picking time is also a factor. With some apples like Golden Delicious 
if the fruit is picked at the time for best quality, even for 
storage, either the picking is very slow and expensive or the 
proportion of bruised apples is unacceptable - unless the grower has 
managed to train and keep a very skilled and careful group of 
pickers, which is rare.

I don't expect in the foreseeable future to see mass production 
apples reach the quality attainable by *knowledgeable* and careful 
home growers.

The best Jonagold I ever ate came from a home orchard tree with no 
fertilizer, but on clay soil long in sod. The best McIntosh type 
apple (identification was a little doubtful) I ever ate came from an 
old homestead tree which had not been fertilized in many years, but 
after an unusually sunny and warm summer. Both trees grew near 
Kingston, Ontario at the northeastern end of lake Ontario, on the 

The ignorance of the modern apple eater and buyer about cultivars
and quality factors is a problem, and the anonymity of bin apples is 
another problem. In stone fruit the problem is even worse, for the 
retail customer is not allowed to know the cultivar name and in many 
cases the grower name. Some commercial growers in the roadside 
stand/farmers' market trade seem to grow for quality to some extent, 
but most grow to a minimum standard and care only about yield. There 
is no reward in the mass market for any other policy. 

Sports selected for eye appeal rather than taste are another problem.

But I am not sure that things were ever a great deal better in the 
past on average; indeed I have read of Ben Davis apples a century ago 
being shoveled out of boxcars into the buckets of housewives, which 
sounds rather ominous for taste and texture. Possibly in the past 
quality was more variable both for good and ill. But perhaps, given 
what the psychologists tell us about the power of variable interval  
and variable ratio reinforcement, the variable quality of the past 
was effective in getting people to buy fruit.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor ---------------------~-->
Get your FREE credit report with a FREE CreditCheck
Monitoring Service trial

------------------LIST GUIDELINES----------------------

1) Please sign your posting.  Include climate and location information if relevent.
2) Attached files will be stripped from your messages.  Post attachments on the www.YahooGroups.com website.
3) To unsubscribe send a BLANK message to 
4) Include only pertinent comments/questions when replying to a posting and NOT the entire message (especially if the initial posting was large). 

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/