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 virginia orchardists on YouTube 
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:37 pm
Posts: 2
Location: Winchester, VA
Post virginia orchardists on YouTube
Paulette Moore of Shenandoah University, in Winchester Virginia interviews Diane Kearns and Philip Glaize, both orchardists in Frederick County, Virginia about the state of their industry and the subtleties of apple tasting.

View 6 minutes now on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5GhYl4gjao

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Sat Jun 09, 2007 9:31 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
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Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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Interesting - from a commercial standpoint. I notice they're still growing Rome’s, and ‘her’ trees looked fairly old; no longer 'cutting edge' commercial varieties, but like she said, they're growing them for processing, not fresh eating.

I found her labor comment interesting... My parents’ harvested apples shortly after they were married. The growers provided cabins as the pickers stayed through the harvest. And her comment about "American's" no longer finding apple harvesting "Their cup-a-tea" may reflect as much on the grower’s unwillingness to pay a wage that allows average Americans the finical ability to take off a couple weeks in the fall to harvest apples...

And her complaint about receiving the same payment for their crop now as they did 20 - 25 years ago doesn’t jive with what I've seen in the cost of 'eating apples.' We're now paying twice what we did a decade ago for the few Hood River apples we'll buy… I suggest growers increase their price, and pay their pickers. And rising fuel costs should make it less likely bulk apples will be imported to compete with ‘homegrown.’

The 'guy's' comment about "Cardboard" tasting Washington State apples may reflect the difference in Oregon strawberry's vs. their California counterparts. Climatically stressed fruit is generally more flavorful than its heat & water fed counterparts. As verified by a local (Ore.) Extension Service agent, even our 'Filberts' (Hazelnuts) taste better than those grown in CA, because of the climatic stress. So... Virginia grown apples may have more character than WA grown apples?

His favorite apple list was interesting; it included everything but my current favorite: Braeburn. This guy needs to get out more! I had my first "Pink Lady" a couple of weeks ago in Portland. My Sister actually bought it for me … as I refused to pay even more for a fad. I can remember nothing outstanding, and I tried :?

Here again, a commercial testimonial - but interesting all the same.

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Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:30 pm
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Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2007 3:37 pm
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Location: Winchester, VA
Post thanks!
Thank you for taking a look - good between the lines insight about labor and apple trends!

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Sat Jun 09, 2007 12:37 pm
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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Viron, you must have tried one of those "cardboard" Washington grown Pink Ladies ;)

I'm sure you know better than most people that you can't judge an apple variety by one sample, although if your sister was raving about it and tasted the same batch, maybe Pink Lady really isn't your cup of tea.

The first Honeycrisp I tried was probably the best tasting apple I've ever eaten. I got it at a farmer's market in Yakima. Since then I've had ones that have ranged from unremarkable to very good, but nothing has matched that first bag.


Sun Jun 10, 2007 4:37 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1151
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
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When apples hit $1.00 a pound at the stores :shock: I refused to buy them... now I consider that a 'sale price :? ' My Sister paid around $2.50 a lb. for that Pink Lady... so it had a lot to live up to! And this was at a local road-side fruit stand selling apples by the tote. I tried to get her monies worth out of it... but just couldn't find anything that spectacular. I wonder if the public’s become so tired of the same old varieties that they're excited over anything different?

Back at my first All About Fruit Show the winner of the taste-test was "Criterion." So I hunted down some 'starts.' Shortly after finding a local source, that farmer plowed up his 8 acres because of their poor fruiting and high susceptibility to scab... and I've experienced the same thing ever since with mine. Guess there's more to taste if you're waiting every other year for a decent crop?

Consistency and lack of maintenance have become a very desirable factor for me ... and 'my' winner is: Winesap... and don't confuse me with, 'is it the Stayman or not?’ -- it's the Stayman. But my Braeburn’s are pretty consistent, the best eating -- and 'free.'

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Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:57 pm
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:18 am
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Location: Corvallis, Oregon USA
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Yes, interesting film giving an insight to the commercial grower's problems - I had a chat a few weeks ago with a part time small commercial orchardist growing.....Criterion apples! Near Salem, Oregon. His parents had bought the land, it came with the orchard; he said there was no way that it could pay a living, but that the tax benefits of having & operating it at least offset what the higher property tax would likely be if the orchard wasn't there - said his family couldn't live there if they had to pay what the likely taxes would be once it's been converted urban area fully. Bought a few stored apples from him; not bad for ones which have been stored too long!
Dave


Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:56 am
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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:21 pm
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Location: SW Washington
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Yeah, Viron, I forgot to mention that in the video she said the apples were used for processing. The impression I have is that the prices for processing fruit have hugely plummetted. I imagine the downward pricing pressure for competition on those is immense since they are likely viewed as even more of a generic commodity than are eating apples.

With processed food these days they can use bland, generic, low quality fruit and combine it with artificial and natural flavors, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid and whatnot to satisfy the undemanding palate of the masses. If anything, highly flavored fruit may be less prefered because it creates greater batch to batch variation.

Many people my age and younger have never tasted fully tree-ripened fresh fruit, and surely can't be blamed for not demanding it or having a taste for it. We simply don't know what we are missing.


Fri Jun 15, 2007 12:06 pm
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 9:18 am
Posts: 111
Location: Corvallis, Oregon USA
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Oops, forgot to mention what I was told by the part time orchardist about prices - he used to sell his Criterion's for processing, but several years ago figured out that he could make more money direct marketing them than the 2 to 3 cents a lb. he was getting from the processer! I also read somewhere that there's basically no market on the west coast for processing apples, since almost all the processing facilities are back east.


Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:05 pm
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