‘Honeycrisp’ apples are a consumer favorite, but if you ask growers in South Carolina, it is a much different story. While consumers desire a red apple with a combination of crunch and sweet, southern growers despise the disease issues and environment struggles that are associated with growing it. With the heat and humidity in South Carolina, ‘Honeycrisp’ is not reliable and struggles to color well. So, what does a consumer do to find local apples they love?
If you are a diehard fan of the crunchy and sweet ‘Honeycrisp’, I challenge you to try something else this season and keep in mind a few things. Not all apples of a variety are created equal. There are actually different types or ‘sports’ of each variety. Also, the flavor (sugar) and pressure (crunch) of apples are very different fresh-picked than those that have been in storage. The flavor of a variety even changes each day that it stays on the tree, even after it is officially ripe.
As we dip our toes into apple season here in South Carolina, start off with a locally grown, fresh-picked ‘Gala’. High sugar content and a crisp bite, makes ‘Gala’ an all-around favorite of most everyone. Continue the season with a ‘Golden Delicious’ in its prime, which has also been known to convert many ‘Honeycrisp’ fans. As the season moves later into October, my personal favorites are finally ripening. ‘Cameo’ and ‘Pink Lady’ are two consistently sweet and crunchy varieties that will find favor with most everyone. Check out the chart for approximate ripening times and find your local source of South Carolina apples. If you are interested in storing and preserving your apples for later in the year, check out our factsheet, HGIC 4247, Using & Storing Apples.
SC Apple Varieties and Ripening Times
July 25- Ginger Gold
August 1- Golden Supreme|
August 10- Gala
August 15- Red Delicious
September 1- Golden Delicious
September 15- Stayman, Granny Smith, and Mutsu
October 1- Fuji, Cameo, Rome, and Winesap
October 15- Pink Lady, Arkansas Black, and Yates
It’s just about apple season y’all, and we are ready for it. Try something new this year and let me know your favorite!