Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Fruit & Nut Trees
Tom Vorbeck (page 2 of 2)
by Kathy Bond Borie
A sampling of apples
Another early gamble that paid off was 'Fuji', a sweet apple that extends the apple season after the red delicious harvest and has a crisp texture that - like the energizer bunny - just keeps on going. Tom thought demand would be high for this apple too, so he started by taking reservations for the apples even before harvest. Unfortunately the trees didn't keep up with the reservations, and Tom found he had three times more reservations than he had apples. The following year he tried a new strategy. He bought rolls of tickets to hand out at the farmer's market that determined how many apples each person could buy. People lined up in the early morning darkness to get a ticket to buy 'Fujis'. Before the market opened at 7 a.m., Tom had given out 100 tickets. Within 45 minutes, 86 bushels of 'Fuji' apples were gone.
"If I were planting just one sweet apple tree, it would be a 'Fuji'," says Tom. That's praise indeed from someone who has fruited more than 300 different varieties of eating apples, both antique and new. Applesource now offers more than 100 varieties of apples (fruit, not trees), and ships throughout the country. Their specialty is apple-tasting packages containing an assortment of different varieties. They also still do a brisk business selling apples and apple products direct from their orchard.
As varieties become available in supermarkets, the buying frenzy at Applesource may ebb, but there are plenty of tasty apples to generate excitement. Take, for instance, the relatively new apple on the market, 'Honey Crisp'. This explosively crisp, sweet variety from the Excelsior, Minnesota Breeding Station has star potential, judging by the praises from Applesource customers. A bite of a 'Honey Crisp' apple typically brings the reaction, "Best apple I've ever tasted in my life." Tom and Jill would be happy to send you some.
To contact Applesource, call (800) 588-3854 or visit: www.applesource.com/