U.S.: Early Cripps Pink strain a boost as cold front approaches
Washington apple growers who have invested in a precocious Cripps Pink strain will likely see it pay off this season.
Temperatures are expected to drop up to 12°F below freezing next week (-7°C) within parts of the State. Growers are therefore scrambling to pick the last of the apple crop.
While there are still some Fujis and Grannys on the tree, the majority of apples remaining are Cripps Pink or sport mutations of the Cripps Pink cultivar - typically one of the last varieties to be picked.
Most of these selections qualify to be sold under the Pink Lady brand, according to Proprietary Variety Management (PVM). It said the brand has generated consistently healthy grower returns for a number of years.
This makes the gamble of late-season freezing temperatures an attractive but potentially risky venture PVM says.
Many growers have therefore opted to spread their risk by investing in a new Cripps Pink sport. This helps spread the risk by harvesting up to three or four weeks earlier than the other strains.
Known as PLBARB1 (Barnsby), the selection was discovered in Australia by Dennis Barnsby. It was then brought to the U.S. by Teak Enterprises and PVM.
The selection delivers all of the qualities of the original Cripps Pink, but reduced the risk of frost damage.
The variety can be sold under the Pink Lady brand and fills a product void that can prove to be "quite lucrative".
Expanding Pink Lady production in the U.S.
A recent visit to Washington state by variety owner Dennis Barnsby as well as Teak’s managing director Geoff Godley proved to be an exciting adventure for the former Australian nurseryman.
“I have seen the pinnacle of orcharding for my selection” said Barnsby. “I enjoyed every minute of my trip which only proved to me which I already knew, that the selection is a fantastic product."
With the early harvest timing, Pink Lady products can be grown in areas where production was not previously possible.
“Reaching the growing areas of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York have expanded the brand's outreach and given the growers of those areas another choice in the ever-expanding branded apple category” states PVM president Lynnell Brandt.
He added the selection was an "excellent addition" to the Pink Lady brand.