Honeycrisp apples may be America’s favorite, but for growers they're a pain in the neck

Paul Kurtz
November 19, 2018 - 4:00 am

Paul Kurtz | KYW Newsradio

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BUCKS COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) -- Apples will be on many Thanksgiving tables this week, and one of America's favorite varieties is the Honeycrisp. People love them, but many farmers hate the hassle that comes with cultivating them.   

Take a bite out of a Honeycrisp and you’ll know why people rave about them.

"They're the best apple I ever had in my entire life,” one woman said. “They're so good."

"I like the texture, the flavor, the crunch," said another woman.

That kind of passion is why Bryan Smith has been growing the Honeycrisp for more than 20 years, at his orchard in Solebury, Bucks County.  And it's no easy task. You see, the Honeycrisp is thin-skinned which makes it vulnerable to being damaged.

 Smith says it is also vulnerable to something called bitter pit.

"Honeycrisps don’t absorb calcium as well as other varieties do and that shortage in the fruit leads to this quirky, sunken condition in the apple flesh," Smith explained.

So by harvest time, much of the fruit is set aside.

"When you're packing Honeycrisp, you're doing good if you're getting maybe 50 percent, whereas other varieties, it’s not uncommon to be 80-90 percent good," he said.

Still, Smith says the demand is so strong that he'll be expanding his orchard next season.

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