Stemilt Honeycrisp volume up

Stemilt Growers has started its biggest harvest of Honeycrisp apples yet.

Expanded acreage means the Wenatchee, Wash., company expects to be shipping Honeycrisps until early next summer, according to a news release.

Stemilt’s organic Honeycrisp volume is nearly triple last year’s harvest, the most significant increase in organic volume of any of the company’s apple varieties, according to the release.

The company has worked to develop the quality of its Honeycrisp apples by selecting new strains and developing specialized handling practices for the variety, which is susceptible to bruising.

“There is a lot of attention in the field to ensure proper coloring of Honeycrisp,” Brianna Shales, communications manager, said in the release.

Workers clip the stems of the apples at harvest to prevent punctures and bruising, Shales said. “We’ve learned a great deal over the past decade about Honeycrisp and all of these little details are resulting in fruit with great finish and eating qualities.”

Stemilt is planning to launch a pilot program for premium Honeycrisp in the spring, called Honeyhill, according to the release.