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2022 Commercial Harvest and Storage Criteria for WA 38

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Prepared in August 2022. This document is reviewed and updated on an annual basis

General harvest criteria & procedures for all fruit:
– Starch Index (1-6 scale) minimum of 2.0

  1.  To qualify for packing, 90% of fruit in a lot must have reached a starch clearance of 5.0. Fruit picked at 2.0 starch clearance will take an average of six weeks in RA storage to reach the required clearance. (example: Oct. 20 pick date + 6 weeks storage = Dec. 1)
  2.  Fruit harvested below 2.0 starch clearing will not develop good flavor.
  3.  Fruit harvested at or above starch clearance of 3.5 may result in lower yields and/or packouts due to increased stem bowl cracking, bird damage, and development of fruit greasiness in the orchard and/or in storage.

– Breaking background color
– Decay management: Stem clipping recommended, pre- or postharvest fungicide, bin & room sanitation
– Soluble solids concentration (°Brix) equal or higher than 11
– Firmness (in lbs.) of 23 or below
– Days after full bloom between 165 – 175
– Ethylene action or synthesis inhibitors preharvest (ReTain, Harvista, Etherol etc.): not recommended.
– DPA: not necessary (no superficial scald risk), but drench mixes with fungicide & DPA have not shown to cause phytotoxicity to date.

Use this guide in addition to the published marketing and quality standards for the 2022 crop year. First ship date for fruit produced in the 2022 crop year: December 1, 2022.


Young orchards (2 and 3- year old trees)
– Fruit maturity development will be more uneven.
– Excessive greasiness may appear on the fruit preharvest or in storage and is not controlled with 1-MCP.
– Heavy cropping of 2-year old trees may stunt tree growth and/or may induce bianual bearing.


Mature orchards (4 year old trees and older)
– Fruit maturity spread within trees should allow for one pick.


Storage and Packing
– Tasting fruit before packing and shipping is recommended to detect off flavors.
– Bitter taste is rare, and dissipates when fruit is held in RA after several weeks.\


Storage Duration Starch Index 1-MCP recommended Background Color Additional Recommendations
RA 4 months 2 – 4.5 No breaking Refrigerated Air (RA): 32-34°F, >90% relative humidity (RH)
Short CA 4 months 2 – 4.5 No breaking Controlled Atmosphere (CA): 33°F, 1%CO2, 2%O2
Mid CA 4 – 6 months 2 – 3.5 No breaking
Long CA 6 – 12 months 2 – 3.5 No breaking Mature orchards only: 1-MCP application may reduce greasiness for fruit harvested at advanced maturity (3.5-4.5)

Fruit Matters articles may only be republished with prior author permission © Washington State University. Reprint articles with permission must include: Originally published by Washington State Tree Fruit Extension Fruit Matters at treefruit.wsu.edu and a link to the original article. 

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