Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association

THE HAINES FRUIT SEASON

December 28, 1990

We had an excellent fruit-growing season in Haines, with an early and warm spring. By the time the apples were in bloom, insects were active and did an excellent pollinating job. Many of my trees bloomed for the first time, including my ‘Summer Crisp’ pear and ‘Mt. Royal’ plum. Since my other pear tree, Hudar’ did not bloom, none of the pears set fruit. However, the ‘Mt. Royal’ plum is self pollinating and did bear fruit:

 

This was a record year for cherries in the Haines area. No one can remember ever seeing their trees so loaded with fruit. I had to prop the branches of my sour cherry trees. All varieties of sweet cherries did exceptionally well. Even the bears discovered the cherries. One black bear in our area would send its cub up the tree to break the branches so mamma could eat her fill, too. The bears did extensive damage to many trees in the area, although they didn’t find my orchard.

 

This, too, was an excellent season for apples. The first to mature was ‘Rescue’ crabapple on 16 August. It was ripe in time for me to enter it in the SE Alaska State Fair. The fruit was sweet and had a nice flavor, but it was not as crisp as I prefer.

 

On 24 August, ‘Norland’ apples were ready to eat. This is my favorite apple, so crisp, sweet and juicy.

 

About 26 August, my ‘Yellow Transparent’ were ready to eat. They were a little tart but not bad if picked just right.

 

In late August, I had some ‘Early McIntosh’ that looked ripe. However, someone else must have decided the looked good, too as they disappeared. Another apple that ripened in late August was ‘Tetovsky’, an old Russian apple. It is a yellow apple, nice size, but a little tart. If eaten early, they are crisp; later they become sweeter, but softer.

 

‘Livland Raspberry’ apple became ripe about 30 August. The fruit was yellow with faint pink blush. The fruit was juicy, crisp but tart. My ‘State Fair’ apples ripened during the first week of September. This tree had lots of apples, and of a nice size. However, the apples had some scab, more than any of my other fruit. The apples were very good to eat, crisp and sweet. I rate this apple just behind ‘Norland’ perhaps because the ‘State Fair’ is a little too sweet for my taste.

I have 3 ‘Chestnut’ crabapples, and they all had big crops. I began eating them by 10 September and continued right up until the end of October. This year some of the apples were almost as large as small regular apples. I really enjoy eating those little apples. They are so crisp and juicy.

 

This was the second year my ‘Wellington’ tree produced fruit. I waited until October before I picked them. Of all my apples, they are the most beautiful, deep red and perfect formation. They looked just like a bowl of waxed fruit. However, they leave something to be desired for eating raw. I didn’t try them for cooking, but expect they would be excellent. You can eat them raw, but they don’t measure up to most other apples.

 

I have a ‘Wealthy’ apple in its second year. It produced one apple this year. It was a nice sized apple, mostly yellow with a faint pink blush. It did not prove to be the best eating apple, but the seeds were still white, so if I had left it longer, it might have been better.

 

Lastly, my 80-year-old ‘Waxen’, which came from the old Anway ranch, produced very heavily. We picked 5 bushels of big apples from this tree. I picked these just before the end of October, wrapped and stored the apples for winter use in sauce and pies. They are inedible raw, but nothing is better when cooked.

 

I have only a ‘Mt. Royal’ plum, and it is self-pollinating. This was the first year it bloomed, and I was happy to find several dozen fruit formed. By mid September, the fruit turned deep blue with yellow flesh. Later they became so ripe that the skins split. They were about the size of a pullet egg, and had an excellent flavor. A neighbor had a ‘Stanley’ plum that produced so well that she was able to make several recipes of jam.

—Bob Henderson