God loves us. Otherwise, why would he give us a golden Haralson?
I was at a growers’ meeting one summer where we were being shown from one block of young trees to another, listening to presentations about the variety, rootstock, age, production, pros, and cons of the plantings we were visiting. The hosting grower pointed into one row, telling us there was a tree growing yellow apples in a Haralson row. And, with Haralson being a red apple, a golden Haralson would really be something. It was a point of great interest, that’s for sure.
Such a thing can happen. I’ve explained it elsewhere, especially detailed in the Fireside/Connell Red write-up.
Well, the fact that the golden Haralson turned out to be growing on a Honeygold tree (meaning it was a Honeygold) doesn’t change the fact that it would be real special to come upon a golden Haralson. And you can’t blame anyone for thinking a Honeygold could come from a Haralson, because Honeygold is the cross ‘Golden Delicious’ x ‘Haralson’. There are sure to be some similarities. And it’s possible that that particular grower didn’t have any Honeygold trees to compare it to. Maybe he never grew any Honeygolds. I don’t know that.
How can it be, then, that he actually did have a Honeygold tree growing in a Haralson row in the case that he may never have purposely planted any Honeygold trees? Well, it happens once in while that a tree or trees get misplaced at a nursery between harvest (when they dig the trees) in the fall and shipping (when they box up the orders) in the spring. With no apples on them, it’s not that easy to identify one tree as being different from another when they’re all the same size and age, too. At Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest we grow hundreds of bushels of Redwell and hundreds of bushels of Oriole apples annually on trees we never ordered. A nursery sold them to us as Fireside. They’ve come in handy, though. We don’t want to trade them back. But it was interesting trying to figure out what they were when they started fruiting in 1978. We didn’t have any other Redwells or Orioles to compare them to. We’d never seen those varieties.
But we did actually get a real Golden Haralson at Minnesota Harvest. It appeared as a limb sport of a Red Haralson tree. You can read some of the technicalities of sports on the Fireside/Connell Red page near the end of the write-up. It’s where I say, essentially, that there’s no such thing as a limb sport. All sports are bud mutations. They may be limbs or whole trees when you finally notice them, but they each start as a single mutating bud.
So I’m getting all tangled up in apple tree branches here, aren’t I? I called our Golden Haralson a limb sport, but I’m saying everything is a bud sport. Not so! If you read it again in the paragraph above, I said it “appeared as a limb sport.” See? It’s a bud sport that was a limb by the time we had a clue it was there.
In general, you’d expect a yellow apple to be on the sweeter-tasting side. That’s probably because the predominant yellow apples, Golden Delicious and its progeny, are sweet apples. But our Golden Haralson is no relative of Golden Delicious. Its appearance is similar to Goldens grown in our conditions, but it tastes very much like Haralson. It isn’t sweeter just because it’s yellow.
Like Golden Delicious and the majority of other yellow apples, Golden Haralson tends to have a pink cheek on the side of the apple that faces the sun while it hangs on the tree. (Actually, not all apples hang. As an example, many apples on a tree grow upward from the top of a branch, so their bottom end is up. So the pink cheek I’m talking about may well be at the bottom of an apple rather than on a side.)
Varieties vary. There’s a genius statement for which I hope to be credited from this day forward. That’s what varieties are supposed to do. Vary. Right here, this is the first time I’ve actually deposited that great nugget of truth. It’s been on the tip of my tongue so many times. But I’ve refrained from using it, because I really didn’t have it established. Now I do. So if you’re reading elsewhere in my writings and I send you here to find out, you don’t really have to come back here again. You already know varieties vary. And I’m free to say so anywhere I wish from now on!
So, since varieties vary, there are exceptions to just about everything you can say about apples. There are lots of varieties, so there must be lots of exceptions. And why I bothered to establish that varieties vary just at this point is so that I could say that it’s typical to find more sugars (and, therefore, more sweetness) in the flesh on the sunny side of an apple than on the side away from the sun. Sometimes it’s distinctly that way, and other times there probably isn’t a difference. And I’m confident you know I’ll say varieties vary about that.
Another thing happens, and that’s that sugars may accumulate at the calyx (bottom) end of an apple a little bit more than elsewhere. Now, is that because the sugars are pulled there by gravity? I don’t know, because, like I’ve said, not all apples hang with their bottom at the bottom. I imagine someone has done a study to find out, but I haven’t spent any time looking for it yet.
The pink cheek, I think, is a delight. A golden apple with that blush is such a finished, lovely piece of fruit. Sometimes, a golden apple exposed to full sun will blush almost entirely, and that, to me, is a prize apple. It’s a “golden,” but it’s pink or red. In the case of Golden Haralson, the side away from the sun is truly yellow or golden in color. On the sunny side, the blush develops. I’ve seen it, though, when the blush goes all the way around. So then it’s virtually a Haralson in appearance. That’s humorous to me, because a Golden Haralson is special because it’s yellow, but a prize-quality Golden Haralson that blushes entirely isn’t yellow anymore. So it’s kind of secretly yellow. You have to know it was supposed to be yellow in order to realize it’s a prize.