As apple & pear harvest is well underway, The English Apple Man learnt of the sad passing of a great friend and mentor to so many UK apple growers.
Roger Worraker, sadly passed away on Tuesday 14th September after a short illness.
Below: Roger Worraker in his last year as a Judge at The National Fruit Show in October 2019
For many years The English Apple Man was paired with Roger as judges of the 'internal disorders' element of the 'Show Fruit' Class of the annual National Fruit Show.
The 2019 show was the last before the Covid-19 lockdown changed the format.
I will always appreciate his wisdom and cherish the time we spent together discussing the myriad of elements that influence growing apples successfully!
Roger was a true gentleman who spent his life educating members of the fruit industry. He was a champion of Bramley apples, and his Bramley tree management system was practised by many growers across the country from the 1970's with the lower and upper fruiting zones easily recognisable as "WORRAKER"
Below: left; the 'Worraker Bramley tree format' and right; award winning Bramley apples at the National Fruit Show
Below: left Harry Wooldridge and right; Roger Worraker celebrate the 21st Anniversary of the Gala Club in 2013
Roger was (along with other devotees) an enthusiastic supporter of Gala and with Harry Wooldridge a fellow key member of The Gala Club as the variety blossomed from a new 'minor variety' into the most important UK grown and consumed apple variety.
Two years ago, just in time for Roger's 90th Birthday, The English Apple Man published a profile of Roger which tells his life story.
Click on: Roger Worraker - People Profile
Apple & Pear Harvesting 2021
Picking for long term storage (March or beyond) should be very close to completion on all sites
and well underway on fruit destined for medium and short term storage. The past week has seen
pressures fall by;0.5kg, starches decline by;25% and soluble solids stay static.
Over the past week, pressures have declined by 0.5 - 1.0kg and starch has declined by 10-15%,
meaning it is below the recommended level of 70% for long term storage at all sites. Pressures
are also below the 8.6kg threshold recommended for storage until February/March on early sites,
confirming that fruit is now maturing rapidly. Picking of fruit destined for store should therefore
be coming to an end.
Gala picking for long term storage should now be starting on the vast majority of sites.
The rapid decline in starch (normally around 4%/day) has started and fruit has moved unbelievably
quickly over the past week. Picking with a starch level >80%, gives the best brix readings, the
best flavour and fewer internal disorders out of store.
A temperature differentiation between day and night temperatures of around 10°C is required for
optimum red colour development and unfortunately, this has not been the case over the past
couple of weeks. As a result, red colour has been slow to develop, particularly on clones such as
Mondial etc. Beware of using time as a means to rectify this!!
Due to a cool, dull summer brix levels are also a concern on many sites but again, DO NOT
DELAY PICKING IN THE HOPE THAT BRIX LEVELS WILL INCREASE.
As soon as starch has started to decline, any increase in brix levels will come from the conversion of starch into sugar and this is done much more efficiently in store, rather than in the orchard in temperatures of 20 degrees C+. At around 90% starch you will see up to a 1.5% increase in brix in store, whereas late picked fruit (<50% starch) will increase by 0.5% if you are lucky!
In all cases over the past couple of years the fruit with the highest brix levels was the early picked fruit and some
of the fruit left on the tree for a supposed increase in brix actually went down in store!
Russet - picking should be underway
Spartan - picking should be underway/imminent
Comice - picking should be underway
The later varieties: Jazz and Braeburn are projected to be ready for harvest circa mid October onwards.
The English Apple Man has featured 'harvesting rigs' in recent Journals and this Video (below) of the Revo Harvester in it's first year at (2020) Adrian Scripps Ltd. The 2021 season has started this week at Scripps with Gala One and The English Apple Man will be visiting the orchards to see the REVO in action next week.
Click on: Revo Harvester in action
Below: James Simpson - MD Adrian Scripps Ltd summarises the challenges facing UK fruit growers and the failure of our Government to sanction action to rectify the disastrous situation facing the industry
Click on: Securing Harvest Workers
To finish this week's Journal, the picture below of Roger Worraker and School Children from Capel Primary School learning about pollination in the Capel Diamond Jubilee Community Orchard created by Roger and his wife Celia in 2012
That is all for this week
The English Apple Man