Superfresh Growers orchard update: Episode 43
Yakima, WA –As Superfresh Growers® transitions from cherries to new-crop pears and apples, sustainability and resource management is at the top of mind. In their most recent Orchard Update, Dave Gleason discusses the latest developments in their Central Washington orchards.
The growing season has been excellent so far and our fruit has good sugar and size. We should have good promotable volume. We are finishing one of the best cherry seasons in recent memory. Superfresh Growers Two Bite Cherries™ program produced some of the largest and juiciest cherries on the tree! Apple and pear harvest have begun, first with Organic Bartlett pears, Golden apple varieties, and Gala apples. These will shortly be followed by Organic d’Anjoupears, Organic Bosc pears, Organic Starkrimson pears, Honeycrisp apples and other apple varieties.
Central Washington receives some of the most intense light in the world, which makes photosynthesis incredibly effective. Too much light, however, can overload the leaves with excessive energy, as well as increase sunburn risk. Over the years, Superfresh Growers has managed light intensity in different ways. Traditionally, they grow large trees with big limbs that create many leaves and shade. This can create too much shade for the inner and lower parts of the tree, affecting fruit quality.
Utilizing modern technology, Superfresh Growers in investing in shade cloth to diffuse light, increase tree growth, and prevent sunburn. Gleason discusses an additional benefit to shade cloth is water reduction. Previously, the farm team relied on overhead sprinklers to cool the orchards. Shade cloth reduces water usage, and with the addition of drip irrigation, Superfresh Growers is cutting water usage by nearly 60%! Though water is plentiful in Washington State, it is a precious resource. Utilizing high tech sensor systems, the farm team is able to apply water only when and where needed.
Looking ahead into harvest, Gleason remarks that Autumn Glory® apples are developing well, with good sugars. The harvest is still slated for late autumn, with an excellent year ahead. Superfresh Growers holds exclusive worldwide rights to grow and sell Autumn Glory.