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Welcome to Apple Journal, your resource for everything about apples, the "King of Fruit."

What's new at AJ:

Nov 25, 2011

   We are continuing with our blog experiment. Below you'll find two or three paragraphs of each new article. The link at the bottom takes you to the rest of the article and to the blog for that article. Your observations and opinions are welcome!
   Over the winter, we will be completely redesigning the "Orchard Trail" section. Rather than trying to put out accurate information about every apple grower in the country (an impossible task), we will provide detailed information on a select few orchards in every geographical area.
   We will be adding a major pictorial section on "Heirloom Apples" and another on "Cider, Hard Cider and Juice." Each will have its own blog to enable readers to share information.

May 20, 2011
An Amazing Free Book Offer from Apple Journal:
 — Albert Edmund Wilkinson's 492-page illustrated classic treatise, "The Apple" (1915)

   [from Chapter XXX, "Growing Apples for the Home"]

  Spring planting is generally preferred by the home gardener. It is the season of the year when almost everyone turns to nature and attempts the raising of some form of plant or animal life.

  It is generally difficult to cultivate much in the home orchard because many times the location or soil condition is poor. However, when possible it should be done. Perhaps where the orghard cannot be cultivated, a mulch of weeds, leaves, straw, or other material may be used. If the tree is planted in the lawn then no cultivation or mulch can be given. In the latter case, some attention to watering during the dry period should be given, remembering that a large amont of water at long intervals is better than a small amount more often.

   [on pruning in the home orchard]

  The top of the tree should be cut back in order to give the tree balance. Leave three limbs with three buds on each, the topmost or highest bud being on the underside of the limb. Sometimes five short stubs are left, and some men prefer to dut the whole top off, leaving nothing but a whip. However, for the inexperienced person three is quite safe and satisfactory.

  When it comes to pruning, do not lose heart because it is necessary to remove so much of the tree. Remember that you must be fair to both parts of the tree, so cut back the head.

To acquire your free copy of this book, go to the AJ blog!

April 21, 2011
Who Defines the "Local"  in "Local Produce?"
 — The saga of one family farm vs. the "deciders"

  I've never been known as one who has a propensity for stirring the pot or being a malcontent. However, when things I'm passionate about are sullied and bastardized by folks with no real credibility in the realm of the things I care about.

  This story really starts two years ago when I was trying to find a good mid-week market for our farm. We'd made a lot of great new friends in Greenbelt, Maryland, at our Sunday market there, and many of them expressed an interest in buying our products during the week. With this in mind, I searched for and found a market that both suited our needs (nearby to Greenbelt, middle of the week) and showed an interest in having us as a vendor...

— Ben Wenk

Continue reading...and comment on this article

March 20, 2011
Growers Show Up at Big Wisconsin Protest Rally to Support Public Employees
 — Great photos by Mark E. Andersen: An Apple Journal Photo Gallery

Check out lots more of Mark's work on his Flickr page.  Thank you, Mark!

  Why (you may ask) are we publishing these photos in Apple Journal?

  All kinds of growers and ranchers, from vegetable farmers to dairymen (and dairywomen!) showed up at the protest rally. We suspect that there were at least some apple growers among the crowd. AJ's motto is "A Passion for Apples," and the growers showed up in Madison with a lot of passion! That raises some interesting questions...

— John Timothy

Continue reading...view the photo gallery...comment

February 6, 2011
Dissent is Brewing over Hard Cider Downsizing

  Companies, whether publicly traded or privately owned, all have the same game plan: ever-increasing profit margins. Continually increasing the retail price is the way big businesses have traditionally squeezed more money out of the consumer.

But in these days of the Great Recession, the buying public won't put up with price increases—especially for those "discretionary" purchases. So, what's a multimilliondollar megacorporation to do?

  Well, apparently E&J Gallo has solved this dilemma by reducing the size of their Hornsby's Hard Apple Cider bottles from 12 oz. to 11.2 oz.—and keeping the price the same! And hoping nobody would notice.

  But cider drinkers did notice, and they aren't happy...

— John Timothy

Continue reading...and comment on this article

December 29, 2004
Surprising 'Honeycrisp' Information Released

  Today in an interview with Topper Sponsel of Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard, the first public release of unexpected information regarding the origins of the highly popular Honeycrisp apple was made by David Bedford, head of the apple breeding program at the University of Minnesota's Agricultural Experiment Station. It answers one question that wasn't even being asked, and leaves another that was thought to be known but, as it appears now, may never be known.

  Records and public releases from the University of Minnesota from 1991 to the present have identified the parentage of Honeycrisp as the cross 'Macoun' x 'Honeygold'. But recently completed DNA testing has determined that neither Macoun nor Honeygold are parents of Honeycrisp. That's the answer to the question no one was asking.

  The testing determined for certain that Keepsake, another apple from the University of Minnesota's apple breeding program that was released in 1978, is one of the parents. But, despite extensive searching, the other parent has not been identified. There is no DNA match among any of the varieties that are thought to be possible parents.

  Bedford proposed one explanation for the whereabouts of the parent that doesn't seem to exist. "It might be a numbered selection and even discarded by now."

  That statement seems to leave open the possiblity that a numbered selection which still exists may be the unknown parent, but he didn't say whether there are plans for any further attempts to determine that.

  No explanation was given as to how the erroneous parentage designations were made in the first place. The University's Research Center routinely crosses and plants thousands of seeds annually, moving them and the resulting seedling trees from place to place over a period of years, so there are multiple points where a mix-up could take place. Bedford did not mention it in regard to the error, but it is a matter of public record that he began work at the University's experimental farm in 1979 and took over the breeding program in 1982. The cross in question was made in 1960 and handled by others preceding him. Much more on Honeycrisp...click here.

— Mike Berst

December 29, 2004
100-year 'Haralson' Question Answered

  The DNA testing done on Honeycrisp afforded the opportunity to fill in the missing blank that has followed the 'Haralson' apple. Haralson, introduced in 1922 after its years of evaluation, has carried the parentage designation "open pollinated Malinda," meaning it started as a seed from a Malinda apple whose flower had been fertilized by pollen from an unknown apple variety. In the past, "open pollinated" meant you would never know.

  But DNA testing has identified the missing parent as 'Wealthy', the first commercially accepted variety the University's predecesser introduced from breeding work that began in the 1850's. The new, corrected cross for Haralson now shows as 'Malinda' x 'Wealthy'. Much more on Haralson...click here.

— Mike Berst

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Nor is it every apple I desire,
Nor that which pleases every palate best;
'T is not the lasting Deuxan I require,
Nor yet the red-cheeked Greening I request,
Nor that which first beshrewed the name of wife,
Nor that whose beauty caused the golden strife:
No, no! bring me an apple from the tree of life!
- Henry David Thoreau

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