2019 Harvest Time in the Ambrosia Orchard
When are Farmers Picking Ambrosia Apples this Year?
Reports from the Ambrosia apple growers of BC are in and it looks like 2019 will be a good year. The fruit is just the right size, and exactly on time. Ambrosia apples are typically ready to pick at the end of September and 2019 is looking like a typical harvest.
Ambrosia apples came to be thanks to a chance seedling in Cawston, BC and it’s here, in the Similkameen Valley, where the BC Ambrosia apple harvest will begin. The Ambrosia apples grown in the low-lying, southern orchards of BC are ready for harvest almost 2 weeks before those at elevation in the north Okanagan.
Reports from farmers in BC’s southern region are that the 2019 harvest is scheduled to begin around September 20th, depending on elevation. Ambrosia orchards on the side of mountains in Coldstream and Vernon will be about 10 days later.
The exact dates are determined by experts who visit the orchards and conduct a ‘maturity test’. This is a fascinating process where they cut open a selection of apples and spray them with an iodine solution. After a few minutes, the iodine stains the starch in the apples revealing the sugar and starch levels.
When an apple is underripe, there’s more starch than sugar and the iodine will turn the apple almost black. When the starch has converted to the right amount of sugar, there’s very little staining from the iodine. We’re looking for the perfect amount of staining to know that there is just the right amount of sweetness in the Ambrosia apples.
Using this method, experts can tell the approximate date to start picking.
Did you know that the first fruit that gets picked during harvest time has a little more starch and is best suited for long-term storage? So, the first Ambrosias we’ll pick this year will be the ones you can buy last, next year.
Don’t worry. There’s only a few days difference between the first and the last apples harvested so you should see perfectly sweet, ready to eat, just picked Ambrosia apples showing up in your farmer’s market or local produce store in the last week of September.
Mmm. Harvest is so close we can almost taste it.