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University of Maryland Extension &
Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park

Apple Maturity Assessments 2022: Cripps Pink, Evercrisp and Gold Rush Week 14 and Final

On our fourteenth and final week of apple fruit maturity assessment report, we continued to evaluate Evercrisp on G11 from Smithsburg, MD and Cripps Pink fruits from this same location. We additionally incorporated Gold Rush fruits located in Federalsburg, MD. None of these fruits have received any plant growth regulator. Evercrisp fruits are ready to be harvested as they are displaying ~80% of red coloration, maintained firmness values ~19lbs, increased their flesh starch disappearance values to 6.0 as well as their soluble solids contents to 18.4%. We have seen an increase in the presence of the physiological disorder of watercore in Evercrisp apples, which is known to increase with maturity. Cripps Pink apples, advanced in their maturity, but, as expected, are still not ready to harvest, displaying high flesh firmness values (~20 lbs) and starch disappearance values of ~2.5. In the case of Gold Rush, similar to Cripps Pink, they are not ready to be harvested yet. It is important to consider harvesting these fruits before the sub-freezing weather starts in order to avoid any losses. The information is summarized in Table 1. We acknowledge the important contributions of collaborators following the table.


Surface color (eye-balling): Evercrisp fruits are presenting ~80% of skin red color, while Cripps Pink increased its red coloration from ~55% to ~65% this week. Gold Rush, as expected, is diplaying a very low red blush percentage of ~10%.
Background color (DA index): Evercrisp decreased its values in ~0.6 this week, while Cripps Pink fruits decreased their values to 0.9 with respect to the 1.1 that we had reported last week. Gold Rush values are ~1.0. Fruits were measured with a DA meter, a device that measures the absorbance difference between 670 nm and 720 nm light. A higher DA index indicates a larger content of chlorophyll-a in the fruit skin.


Fruit firmness: As expected, Evercrisp fruits have maintained their high firmness values, and this week of evaluation are still ~19 lbs. It is known that firmness is not an issue with this cultivar, but it should be harvested with values no lower than 17 lbs. Cripps Pink are displaying flesh firmness values of ~20 lbs, while gold Rush with ~21 lbs. Firmness was measured with a penetrometer with a 7/16-inch diameter plunger.


Starch content:  Evercrisp and Cripps Pink increased its starch disappearance from what we measured last week and are now displaying values of ~6.0 and ~2.5, respectively. Gold Rush is showing values ~3.3. The common starch index rating system (Cornell chart) on a scale from 1 to 8, where 1 is full starch (all blue-black) and 8 is starch-free (no stain), was used. In general, on a 1 to 8 scale, values ranging from 5-6 are recommended for harvesting Evercrisp apples for storage. 

Sugars and Acids

Soluble solids contents (SSC)SSC values, measured with a portable refractometer, are showing an increase in values for Evercrisp from ~17.8 to ~18.4%, characteristic of this cultivar. It is worth indicating that we observed the presence of watercore to continue to develop in this cultivar, which will increase as the fruit is left longer on the tree. In general, it is recommended to harvest Evercrisp fruits with readings > 14% SSC. Cripps Pink increased their values to 13.8%, over the minimum 12%. Gold Rush is displaying values ~17%.

Acidity Evercrisp and Cripps Pink fruits decreased their acidity values to ~0.55 and ~0.64, respectively. Gold Rush is reporting the highest acidity values ~ 0.9. A decrease in acidity content is an indicator of advancing maturity, reason why this indicator is included in this report. Acidity was measured with an automatic titrator, quantifying malic acid (the major acid present in the juice of apples).

Table 1. Summary table of maturity assessments for Cripps Pink and Evercrisp harvested from Smithsburg, Maryland as well as Gold Rush harvested from Federalsburg, Maryland. Values in parentheses indicate the results from last week’s monitoring. 
Location Smithsburg, MD Smithsburg, MD Federalsburg, MD
Cultivar Cripps Pink Evercrisp Gold Rush
Date 24 Oct  24 Oct 24 Oct
Rootstock G11 G11 Unknown
Diameter (in) 3.1 (3.0) 3.7 (3.6) 3.1
Skin Red Color (% blush) 65 (55) 80 (75) 10
DA Index 0.9 (1.1) 0.6 (0.7) 1.0
Firmness (lbs) 20.0 (21.0) 18.7 (19.0) 21.0
Starch Index (Cornell 1-8) 2.5 (2.0) 6.0 (5.0) 3.3
Soluble Solids (%) 13.8 (13.0) 18.4 (17.8) 17.5 
 Acidity (% Malic Acid) 0.64 (0.7) 0.55 (0.62) 0.9



This project was funded by Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (USDA- MDA) and from start-up funds awarded to Dr. Macarena Farcuh. Special thanks to Matt Harsh (78 Acres, LLC), Brian Jacques (Edgemont Orchards), as well as to Steve Blades (Blades Orchards) for allowing us to harvest fruit for analysis. Thanks to Chloe Hinson, Lab Research Technician at the Farcuh Lab, for sample collection support as well as to all the students in the Farcuh Lab in the Department of Plant Sciences and Landscape Architecture at the University of Maryland for assistance in conducting all the weekly maturity analyses. Thanks to Haley Sater for her valuable collaboration. Thank you all for subscribing and we will resume next year! 

Fruit View

Smithsburg, MD 
Cripps Pink

Smithsburg, MD 

Federalsburg, MD
Gold Rush

Meet the Team
Macarena Farcuh is an Assistant Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. She is interested in investigating how to develop novel strategies for improving fruit quality, nutritional value, shelf-life capacity, safety and marketability throughout fruit development, harvest and postharvest storage. Macarena’s research program integrates diverse approaches, including systems biology, physiology, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, molecular biology, and sensory science. Her goal is to contribute to decrease fruit loss/waste, support environmental sustainability and, at the same time, enhance fruit consumption by meeting consumers’ expectations and thus improve the health and well-being of populations.
Haley Sater is an agricultural extension agent for Wicomico County specializing in fruit and vegetable production. She is interested in connecting with produce growers across Maryland to identify and promote profitable and sustainable fruit and vegetable systems. Her background is in small fruits and plant breeding. 
Contact Us: Macarena Farcuh, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist
University of Maryland, College Park


Haley Sater Ph.D.
Wicomico County Extension Educator 
Wicomico County Extension Office
28647 Old Quantico Rd, Salisbury
The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Los programas del Colegio de Agricultura y Recursos Naturales de la Universidad de Maryland están abiertos a todos y no discriminará contra nadie debido a raza, edad, sexo, color, orientación sexual, discapacidad física o mental, religión, descendencia, origen nacional, estatus matrimonial, información genética, afiliación política, o identificación y expresión de género.

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