Focus on Honeycrisp, what a difference a week makes!

With the continued cooler temperatures and heavy rainfall in August, fruit size is good and red color is improving. In the past week the starch pattern index in Honeycrisp fruit changed dramatically (See photo).


The average ground color of the Honeycrisp fruit is yellowish green. While most the fruit sampled were starchy and acidic a week ago, most fruit sampled this week have far less starch (See photo). With this year's early bloom, many people have been expecting an earlier harvest. Based on these changes, Honeycrisp are ready to spot-pick, and the good news is size and color are excellent. Remember, fruit going into long-term storage should not be tree ripe. When tree-ripe apples are stored for a long period, they can look good coming out of storage but may be too soft to pack.

hc week 5

Fruit color and starch staining pattern of representative samples of Honeycrisp apples harvested on August 29, 2017 in Adams County, Pennsylvania. A dramatic loss of starch in the core and flesh regions occurred during the past week. Photo by Tara Baugher, Penn State

hc pattern week 5

Fruit color and starch staining pattern of representative samples of Honeycrisp apple fruit harvested one week ago, on August 22, 2017, in Adams County. The great variability in the starch staining pattern in the Honeycrisp apples is typical of the spot-picked fruit we sampled. Photo by Kathy Hunt, University of Maryland

Here is a brief summary of the data from our last three weeks' sampling of Honeycrisp:

Cultivar & DateDiameter (inches)Red Color (%)Ground ColorFirmness (pounds)Soluble Solids (°Brix)Starch Pattern (1-8 scale)
15-Aug 3.4 10 Light Green 14 13 1.2
22-Aug 3.6 35 Yellowish Green 16 13 3
29-Aug 3.2 44 Yellowish Green 18.8 14 5.2


Growers with Honeycrisp and Gala will be challenged managing the harvest of both varieties. While Honeycrisp fruit have size, Gala have red color. This presents growers with a dilemma. Although still small, Gala fruit are tree-ripe making them crack-susceptible. With any significant rainfall from Hurricane Harvey this weekend, rain-cracking of Gala is likely.

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