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Apple Production - Castroville, TX


You are looking at the first ripe apples in the United States, of course they're here in Texas. This is an early ripening variety called Dorsett Golden. It's kind of a yellowish apple. Then we have some Anna's that will be ready to harvest here, and they're ready to harvest here now as a matter of fact. Since apples are so new to Texans, a lot of people go out and don't even know when to harvest them or sometimes the people growing them don't even know how to harvest them, but we can beat them a little bit because I can tell you exactly how to know when they're ready to harvest.

First of all, you look for a color change. In other words, this is normally a yellow apple so when it changes from a green, such as this one is, to a yellowish, then that's an indication that it's getting ready. If it's a red apple, normally we won't have a lot of color develop in Texas on red apples, so what you see on them is just kind of a red blush developing before they're ready. Another thing that will tell you that they're ready is some lying on the ground such as we have here under this tree. Of course if you want to cut a few, if you see one that's yellow and you say, "well, that's getting close to the kind I want," and you take it and you cut it, the seed should be black in there. Well, this seed is beginning to turn kind of blackish, so we're getting close there. And then of course, probably the ultimate test on it is taking a bite of it. That's getting pretty close but it's not quite ripe.

OK, people say wait a minute, what are you going to do with that green apple, you've already harvested it. The best apple pies in the world are made with green apples. We are out here at Castroville with these. These are locally grown out at Castroville, out at the Burges Farm and as you can see we have a good crop of apples this year so you might want to try and find a 'pick your own' operation and get you some fresh apples now that you know how to tell when they're ripe.

This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.

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