Organic Apples: Better Taste, Comparable Yields

Research from Washington State has found organic apples are sweeter and firmer than those from conventional systems and also produces similar cumulative yields.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
October/November 2001
Add to My MSN

Organic apple-growing methods leave soil in better shape and has fewer potential negative impacts on the environment than conventional growing methods do.
Photo courtesy ISTOCKPHOTO/JOE BIAFORE


Content Tools

Related Content

A Resurrected Crabapple Tree

A sapling Centennial crabapple tree survives a series of mishaps and teaches new orchardists a thing...

Summer Apples and MeMa's Applesauce Recipe

Characteristics of early summer apples and an applesauce recipe from MeMa’s Bakery in Kansas City.

HOMEGROWN Life: It’s Cold Out There for a Farmsteader

HOMEGROWN Life blogger Bryce shares 5 things to consider before starting a farmstead—not the least o...

Dormant-Pruning Apples for Strength

Pruning apple trees to a three by three central leader shape for strength against high winds and to ...

It’s been known for years that organic farming is better for the environment than conventional growing methods. But a recent Washington State study has found that organic farming also can produce better-tasting food and be better for the farmer’s pocketbook.

“Our results show that organic apple production systems in Washington State are not only better for the soil and the environment than their conventional counterpart but also produce comparable yields, higher profits and greater energy efficiency,” the report by four Washington State researchers said.

The organic apples were sweeter and as firm or firmer than fruit from conventional systems. Organic methods also left the soil in better shape than conventional methods and had fewer potential negative impacts on the environment than conventional systems. The results of the six-year study were published in the April 19 issue of the prestigious journal Nature.

Researchers used compost and foliar sprays for fertilizers, and a combination of bark mulch, landscaping, cultivation and mowing for weed control on the test plot. Pest control was achieved by disrupting mating, which prevents worm infestations without hurting the environment or affecting apple trees.

Tree growth and cumulative yields were similar in all three test plots, but for two years the organic plot produced smaller apples than the others.

“Although crop yield and quality are important products of a farming system, the benefits of better soil and environmental quality provided by the organic systems are equally valuable and usually overlooked in the marketplace,” the report said.

Researcher John Reganold said the study has continued into its eighth growing season. Among other aspects, the researchers are studying whether the water content differs between organic and conventional apples.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.