Document Type

Gardening - Fruit: Selecting & Planting


Apples, often called the “King of Fruits,” are grown commercially and in home orchards in all parts of Tennessee. Most varieties of apples can be successfully grown, although some may present special challenges. The primary harvest period for Tennessee apples extends from about mid-August to mid or late October. Some producers have varieties which will ripen either earlier or later than this time. Growers having cold storage facilities can supply markets with quality apples for several months after harvest. Currently, no Tennessee apple growers are using controlled atmosphere facilities which allow storage of fruit for up to 10 or 12 months.

Red Delicious, Golden (Yellow) Delicious, Romes and Winesaps are the primary varieties grown for sale to grocery stores and fruit and vegetable markets. Many of the growers who are concentrating on direct sales to the consumer through on-farm markets are emphasizing production of apple varieties not commonly found in stores. Examples of such varieties include Gala, Empire, Jonagold, Melrose, Arkansas Black and Fuji. These apples offer unique taste differences. They can be very good for drying, cooking or use in cider, as well as for fresh consumption.

When selecting apples, choose those that are mature and free from defects such as bruising and decay. Not all blemishes are detrimental to the fruit. Russetting, which may be especially prevalent on Golden Delicious, is considered a defect for apples undergoing USDA inspection. However, russet does not detract from the usability of the fruit in any way. In fact, many customers prefer a “rusty” Golden Delicious over a smooth one. Russet is primarily caused by high humidity and/or rainfall shortly following bloom.

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