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What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Posted by fruitnut Z7_4500ft elev SW TX (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 14:56

New issue of The Good Fruit Grower is singing the praises of Honeycrisp. Says WA state production will increase four fold to 13 million boxes in a few years. Also says consumers love everything about them.

Having only eaten the fruit once I ran to the store and plunked down a hard earned $1.29 for one medium apple. Just tried a sample and it's awful!! Ok crisp and juicy but not sweet at all and a terrible green apple taste. It's the awful green apple taste I remember. I won't pay 10 cents a bushel for apples like that. They'd have to pay me to dump them!!!

And I paid 50% more than I charge for premium stone fruit. That $ucks!!

What's your take on Honeycrisp? Did I get a bad batch again?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

definitely a poor specimen.

I have been told repeatedly Honeycrisp does poorly where warm into autumn.
We don't generally have that problem! Ours are Great. They should be sweet but with good acid balance. Green apple flavor only if really quite under ripe.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

rob:

These Honeycrisp were likely out of WA. Applenut says they do great in the heat east of LA. It was 80s there last week.

Apples from the store are a crap shoot.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

1 Dimensional for me, but not awful.
Very crisp, very juicy.
Has the flesh texture of almost a Macintosh, but very sweet and very large in comparison.
I'd take a Gala over a Honeycrisp every day of the week from the market, and Gala isnt really that good.


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brix

I tested the brix of that apple, 10.5. One reference I have says poor, average, good, and excellent brix for apple is 6, 10, 14, and 18 respectively. If this is near average, then average is awful.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I planted one this year. It is so crisp. The kids love them. I just bought a new apple for me Sonya. It was very good like a golden delicious.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

My experiences with them have been mixed. I planted a tree a couple of springs ago, just because it is now a staple variety, and commands a high price in the stores.

I've had them from the grocery store several times, and some local ones from the farmer's market. Honestly, my opinion is that they are a decent apple, nothing wrong with them, but I don't see what the fuss is about -- good but nothing all that special. I know various other apples that I think are better, including my tree ripened late-in-the-season Ark Blacks, and my Karmijn da Sonneville, which is probably the best apple to date I've tasted. Honestly, I think a tree ripened local Macintosh at its peak is better. A grocery store apple I've tried that I think is better than Honeycrips is Pinata aka Corail (got a tree of that one going, too!).

But to each his own.


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Pink Lady

  • Posted by fruitnut Z7_4500ft elev SW TX (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 15:59

My best ever apples were Pink Lady grown in Amarillo. The fruit were small, probably from water deficit and medium/low nitrogen. They were amazingly sweet and tart at the same time. Also dense and crisp. I'd say well over 18 brix.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

fruitnut,

Your posts have been very helpful to me, so I'd like to perhaps contribute a little in return. There is a local apple orchard with a ton of apple varieties throught a long season. I'm no expert, but Honeycrisp is one of my two favorites. But they are grown in a climate different from yours.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

"flesh like Macintosh"...I would have to disagree strongly with that. Not the same at all.

I agree it is not a "complex" apple. For us any that don't get good sun are pretty bland but still decent....which is to be expected.
Well exposed fruit is quite flavorful/


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Climate does make a tremendous difference in outcome on various fruits, including apples, peaches, and tomatoes. So that is part of it. Personal preference is the other part, I guess.

The honeycrisp apples I've tasted are relatively sweet and have a nice texture, but they seemed lacking in the high acidity and the aromatic flavor compounds that I prefer in an apple. That's why I guess I liked my Karmijn so much -- its an apple that will practically curl your toes. And, that is typical of me, I like highly flavored foods of all kinds -- I'm the guy that adds extra citric acid to every jar of pickles I make because the standard vinegar brine just isn't tart enough.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I've had some good ones from the grocery store. It seems like about 80% are bland but once in a while I get a batch that has an intense sweet/sour flavor with some zing.

I like the texture of the apple. Very crisp and crunchy but not hard to bite into like a dense pink lady apple.

The texture and flavor is not good at all if they sit for a few days outside of the fridge.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 13, 12 at 18:01

As sold in the store they are an above average apple. I think the problem is that they don't let them ripen enough. I got some at a pick-your-own this fall which were so stellar that I have trouble imagining a more flavorful apple. While the ones from the store are crisp and light, these were crisp and dense and not so watery. Initially I was even suspicious that the apples were another variety. It tasted like what I imagine a Karmijn da Sonneville would be like (I want to find one to try sometime...)
This apple has a very high ceiling, so I suspect that it would be perfect for you. It may take a little fiddling for you to get the right conditions, but you're able to control a lot of variables with the greenhouse.
Bob

Here is a link that might be useful: Super-ripe Honeycrisp


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I've tried a lot of apples (they grow them all over around here) and Honeycrisp is hands down the best apple ever grown. I'm not huge fan of apples (i prefer stonefruit, pears, kiwis, etc), but Honeycrisp made me a big fan of apples again. Of course I had some "ok" ones and some that were very good. I'm converting my trees over to Honeycrisp. You can't have enough of these things.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Frank:

Being a Minnesota bred apple you are probably in a good spot for this. I've heard Honeycrisp is where the Midwest and possibly NE shine. The one I ate was probably WA. If it does well in MN and Riverside CA, I'd think WA should be able to grow a decent specimen.

Any chance anyone could take a brix on the really good Honeycrisp?


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

The ones grown around here suck, at least all the ones I have tried. I had one from the upper midwest and it was a good apple, all the other ones I have had were bad. To me it looks like yet another case of bad growing killing a good variety (in a few years, once the hype dies down and the badness of the quality gets even higher).

Even the one good HC I had was nothing super to me, the flavor is like any decent apple and the only thing that stands out is the breaking crunchiness which is pretty cool.

Scott


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I keep wondering about what the hype is all about myself. Every Fall I keep trying a few from differing markets and suppliers. Plenty enuff sour and tanginess overall it seems like if that is one's preference. But where and when does the 'Honey' part come into play that is in the name. I've learned the hard way to only buy one at a time.

These are usually Midwest grown apples as well. Many of them say Minnesota grown on them even. I know, the whole grocery store scenario is at play. But come on, 4 or 5 years of trying to find ONE that actually appealed to me. Scott is right, I can see where so many growers in on the bandwagon with low quality may be what eventually does this one in.

I am with fruitnut on another note. Brix is where its at. For me, I highly prefer a dose of sweet within the flavor mix of my fruit. These I have been trying have obviously been on the wrong end of the meter. It's all about gett'n them first to market with the shiniest coating of crud on them it would seem to me.

I grow another MN 'Honey' variety - HoneyGold. It needs to stay on the tree as long as possible to get to that optimal honeyed flavor factor going for it. And when it does, best apple I've ever eaten - OMG factor! I'm talking staying on the tree through multiple early frosts, before the really hard stuff hits. The later into the Fall the better by far. Chances are the HonyCrisp need more of the same sort of growing season in order to properly finish off. This will never happen in the rush to market mass marketing practices of today. A local PYU is probably one's best bet in my opinion. That or franktanks backyard! ;~)

I have had some Sweet Tango's on occasion from grocery stores that actually made me pay attention and take note. That's the crispest breaking and juiciest store-bought apple I have tried if gotten fresh and early in the season. I like the flavor of those better than the HC I have had too. I'll keep trying to get me that one HC YUM! apple specimen.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Scott-

Does this description fit what you get from a honeycrisp...jolly rancher apple flavored candy? Maybe its a childhood thing. I just love the flavor, texture, and juice... I probably need to try more heirloom type apples. I still stand by that its by far my favorite apple I've had and I've had others tell me the same.

questor-I wanted to try sweet tango but the price shocked my system :) I can't believe the mark up on some of these new apples. It great for the grower, but its out of my range.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I know what you're saying frank, but curiosity out trumps frugality for me. At least on the small stuff. Those Honey Crisps tain't cheap either. Try yourself a new-crop Sweet Tango next year. The snap in each crunch will make the $ pain go away for at least a moment or two!


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I'm pretty sure I tried one at Bauer's (in La Crescent, MN), but I think I wasn't too impressed, although the apple could have been sitting out for a while or it may have just been a bad one...so I'll hold off with my thoughts.

Woodmans here had Honeycrisp (3 lb bags) for $3 and they ran out fast...I think I bought 5 or 6 bags. That was months ago now. I think the price will really start dropping when the big boys start growing large amounts (WA/MI/NY)...


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Sounds like a lot more bad apples than good. Guess I won't feel sorry for them next time sales fall when they're selling junk like I bought today. Pretty pathetic really.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

We harvest them in October, which is very warm (90-100F) after a brutally hot September (weeks of 100+). The heat doesn't seem to bother them as they're very crisp, very sweet and enough spice to be interesting.

Contrast to that a bag of Honeycrisp "lunchbox apples" from Trader Joes that was absolutely horrible, picked green and colorless, and storage didn't do them any favors at all. I'll take them off my tree any day.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

My Honeycrisp tree is just beginning to bear, but we have been very pleased with them. Northwoodswis


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

The best apple I've ever had from the store is Pacific Rose. Good enough that I'd try growing one if I could find it. Which Honeycrisp has never done for me.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

From one 2005 study of the Tree Fruit Research Center in Wenatchee:

"Immature �Honeycrisp� may never mature and thus remain of poor eating quality. Fruit
harvested too early do not develop varietal flavor and are almost tasteless. If harvested too late,
�Honeycrisp� can develop fermentation products, such as ethanol and acetaldehyde, which cause
undesirable flavors. The onset of such off-flavors is difficult to predict, as there are no
associated visual symptoms. Harvesting at optimum maturity is the best way to achieve the
characteristic flavor of �Honeycrisp"

As I understand it, Honeycrisps are temperamental and problematic for some of the growers.....but are not a bad variety for the backyard grower if he knows just when to harvest it and doesn't store it for too long...


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

  • Posted by mrclint z10SoCal Valley (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 14, 12 at 15:49

Honeycrisp are hit and miss here locally, mostly bland and poor texture akin to the ubiquitous red delicious, which are best used as decorations. On the other hand, I can't recall ever having a bad pink lady or fuji anywhere.

"Contrast to that a bag of Honeycrisp "lunchbox apples" from Trader Joes that was absolutely horrible, picked green and colorless, and storage didn't do them any favors at all."

Got a nice laugh out of that one. I'm certain I've bought those in the past. Thanks! :)


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I'm still trying to get some fruit's of this one, for the most part this one is not hardy but some are growing it in the city, have tasted and was very disappointed,...growing season too short!

As with allot of other fruit's, location is the key, ...plant and see if it works out for you.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

donnie:

Where did you find this?

"Immature �Honeycrisp� may never mature and thus remain of poor eating quality. Fruit
harvested too early do not develop varietal flavor and are almost tasteless. If harvested too late,
�Honeycrisp� can develop fermentation products, such as ethanol and acetaldehyde, which cause
undesirable flavors. The onset of such off-flavors is difficult to predict, as there are no
associated visual symptoms. Harvesting at optimum maturity is the best way to achieve the
characteristic flavor of �Honeycrisp"

I sent an email to Good Fruit Grower about my experience with Honeycrisp. Based on donnie's post they already know why my experience has been so poor.


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I found it

  • Posted by fruitnut Z7_4500ft elev SW TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 14, 12 at 17:21

This may be the source.

Here is a link that might be useful: Honeycrisp harvest and storage


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

A honeycrisp grower along lake mi. has a u-pick orchard set up and caters to a huge number of chicago buyers who come up to their homes along the lake and buy UP the bushels of these apples in early oct. Many come just to buy prepicked bags of them. They look nice, but the ripe gala's are great. We pick Jonagold, let them ripen in the fridge, and if we're up north late season, Suncrisp is my personal favorite. I don't see it anywhere in the stores.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Frank, since I only had one even decent apple my one decent HC could have still been quite a bit off the best. Overall the problem with this apple is it is too finicky to grow and store, and has too narrow a picking window.

Scott


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

  • Posted by AJBB none (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 15, 12 at 19:21

We won't be seeing Pacific Rose (Sciros) from any of the usual growers for the home gamer anytime soon. It's still under patent and strict licensure by ENZA. I agree, it's probably the best commercial apple variety being cultivated today.

I also like Opal, a commerical variety that looks like Golden Supreme.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

We have a seedling called "Fresh Candy" that tastes like a jolly rancher candy for a couple weeks and then it starts to taste more and more like a McIntosh in storage. We're actually considering a patent on that one.

Honeycrisp tastes great (very crisp, very sweet) here in Eastern Kansas on the border of Zone 5/6 - they don't always have the best appearance. They're usually very large and not uniform in shape or color. Like many of the comments above its sweet and crisp and thats about all. There are some many more apples out there with more complex flavors.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

  • Posted by murky z8f pnw Portlan (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 17, 12 at 14:05

The first time I had Honeycrisp it was from a farmer's market in Yakima, WA and they were the best apples I'd had up to that point. That was maybe 6 years ago or so.

Since then I haven't had any that came close to that good and the ones available in the local markets seem to be getting worse each year.

I definitely agree with the idea of buying them one at a time (if I can't get a sample) before buying more.

I have two trees, one on M26 and one on M27 that are maybe 6 years old. The homegrown apples are better than nearly all from the local stores but not nearly as good as that first batch.

If I let them hang too long the texture begins to suffer, but they do get very sweet.

The tree on M26 has good structure and is very productive. I've kept it about 7 feet tall and wide so far in the corner formed by the driveway and sidewalk.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I love Honeycrisp. Well, I love Honeycrisp grown on my own trees and from a select few of the local orchards. The grocery store ones are nasty and even most of the local places pick them too early and they have no flavor. The best ones are left on the tree until September and have bright red stripes on a yellow background. It stores fine for me but I eat them pretty quickly. I might have one or two of the WI ones left but not many. If I did have one of the good ones left, I suppose I could send it to someone who wanted to test the brix on it. Let me know and I'll check my fridge.

From what I've read, quality issues with Honeycrisp is a big part of why the new Sweetango is only being licensed to certain growers. The University wanted more control over where it was grown and when it was picked.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

Thanks for all the good information. It's clear to me that the Honeycrisp I've tried have all been picked too early. In a year or two I can try my own.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I've been harvesting Honeycrisp for a few years and find it to be mediocre on years with warm Septembers. They ripen poorly in the heat and drop off the tree before achieving adequate sugar, but when it's cool it's an apple that people go ga-ga for.

I don't find it distinctive taste-wise- no aromatics- but the flesh has huge cells that break when you bite into the fruit. Other apples split between the cells when you chew them. This creates a sensational crunch that is not a huge thrill to me but is to a high percentage of apple consumers.

I wonder if weather in Western Washington is cool enough at time of ripening to make a quality Honeycrisp. I find Zestar to be much more reliable- less weather sensitive and not so prone to bitter pit but with a similar crunch.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

In my PNW orchard Honeycrisps are spectacularly good. My favorites. In local stores they are generally quite good but not always.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

fruitnut, I think I'm in the same situation as you. Out of curiosity, I planted one (on M26 roots) last spring. I am very curious to see how it turns out. If harvestman is correct, it might not turn out well - we often have very warm September days. I'm hoping that since it is very cool at night that they will be fine. If you are still interested when I get apples in a couple years, I can post the brix readings. Since this seems to be a climate-sensitive apple I'm very curious how they turn out in your unique "climate" (greenhouse).


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I assume the problem is warm weather as they ripen but it might be in combination with ample water in the ground. There are a great many variables potentially at work but the last 2 years growers in the Hudson Valley have not done well with Honeycrisp (and neither have I at all sites with full exposure). If the ground had been dry maybe the apples wouldn't have been bland when they ripened.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

hman:

Maybe yours never ripened. Applenut claims they are great in his climate with twice the heat you get.

backyardener:

I'll get chilling in the greenhouse, strange I know, and then outside. Probably shouldn't have potted them up. We've had good chilling so far this winter.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I've heard the complaints about poor quality in warm Septembers too often to dismiss it; however, our Septembers are miserably hot, over 100 every stinking day. Maybe there's something else that makes for the poor quality? I expected them to be bad, but they were very, very good; Tom Spellman from Dave Wilson Nursery tasted it also and agreed.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 23:46

I founds some Pacific rose apples the other day at the grocery store. They weren't bad, but I felt they didn't have a strong enough flavor. They reminded me of a slightly denser/crunchier Gala. My kids loved them.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

has anyone else had trouble with Honeycrisp on Geneva 30? We had a very brittle graft union and lost most of them.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I had a Kidd's Orange Red break cleanly at the graft union of G30 when the tree came into full bearing- first time that's happened to me with any rootstock. That rootstock has compatibility issues that are not yet fully understood but now Cummin's recommends staking trees on G30.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

@ bob z6 - Good call on the Pacific Rose apple. I came across some today. Purchased and ate one. Exactly as you described. The one I ate had a hints worth more kick than a Gala I thought. So I would probably pick it over a bland groc store Gala probably in most cases. I totally looked past the still available, higher cost, but now seemingly deteriorating Honey Crisps.

My go-to grocery apple of choice this time of the year has been the Jazz. Pretty reliable under the circumstances it seems. I've have found myself falling back onto these for several Winters now. I just hope my own home crop provides for me much better next Fall than this last.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

While I don't have an experienced palate and half of my 50 plantings are just entering their 3rd leaf, I have to say that eating a ripe, local orchard grown HoneyCrisp (& a Mutsu Crispin) 3 years ago is what enthused me enough to battle pests and fungus. Of course, the bad influence of reading this forum has me digging additional holes for new names every spring & fall... not to mention adding stone fruits.
Chad


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

I'm in western Wa, east slope of the Olympics. Our Honeycrisp fruited for the first time this fall (2013, planted in 2009) I think there were 5 apples. They were very large with outstanding flavor and crispness. This tree had either damage or disease to its central leader at year 2, so it got a radical pruning which it recovered from and now is an open vase tree.

I have read, but can't find the link, that this tree needs extra/more calcium than other varieties. So I top-dressed the soil with fish bone meal (what I had on hand) at the start of the growing season. Maybe this made these outstanding apples do so well this year?

Seriously thinking about top grafting honeycrisp onto some other trees that are not as good to eat.


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RE: What's your experience with Honeycrisp apple?

So many varieties, so many choices...I don't trust any apple I buy in the store to represent what I can grow in my back yard. I have a few HCs in my collection with only a few apples so far, but the ones I do have never make it from the tree to the house. they are my favorite, crunchy and juicy, to me what the ideal apple tastes like. I have room for 43 trees this year, fifteen will be HC.


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