Why I grow Honeycrisp


To me about 13.5 is the line and some of mine reached that this year. However, they still can’t be stored- ones that I grow are too prone to rot for that.

Lucky for me, even a good HC is not especially appealing to my palate. I’m grateful that Goldrush and Spitz are both very grower and storage friendly apples that hold up through the months I actually need apples and are more to my liking.

I’m finishing my last nectarine this morning in my oatmeal and still have late peaches in my trees- Heath Cling still has a few days to go before even ripening and there are still a few Victoria hanging and a bushel in my fridge just picked. I’m still a month away from really appreciating the taste of apples, although I did eat an amazing Ashmead’s Kernel the other day (full russet version).

I even have some perfect Elephant Heart plums left to compensate for mediocre E. plums in storage near them.

With the challenging weather we have in the NE, the trick is to grow as many varieties as you can. That way every season will provide some excellent fruit no matter what the weather does. But whatever the weather, HC will never be taking space in my fruit fridge- they all are given away to people who love them- at least until grafts on my two original HC trees take over completely.


I was one of the people that was ready to remove Honeycrisp but I did leave a couple of limbs. Apparently it takes a few years for them to get to bearing. Got my first good tasting Honeycrisp this year. When HC does well they are worth the effort but I’m not confident enough in them at my location to add too many.


I knew that HC isn’t terribly suitable for my climate, it doesn’t get cold enough during our ‘winter’ (wet season really) and is probably too hot in the summer. However, Kuffle Creek was mildly optimistic that HC would produce in my climate. It would not be a vigorous grower or producer, but I’m willing to take that risk. As I mentioned, I was getting discouraged, but the few blooms I had this year raises hope that it will eventually produce something.


went to a new u pick apple orchard yesterday. had honeycrisp, cortland, janmac, freedom ,marcoun.all were at peak ripeness. freedom had the best taste. similar to a mac but spicier. very good but a smallish uniimpressive apple. the cortlands and janmac were perfect large, deep red and tasted fabulous! marcoun was ok. the honeycrisp were smaller like the freedom. were a solid light red. wasnt sold on the taste. was too sweet for me. better than store bought but im not liking this one. same reason i dont like red or yellow delicious. i prefer mildly sweet to tart apples. i almost bought a honeycrisp last spring. glad i didn’t now.


That’s interesting, I’d expect them to be pretty good in your area. Here in southeastern Connecticut there’s a place growing fantastic Honeycrisps and they sell them for the same price as all of their other apples ($1.99/lb, less if you buy them by the peck or half peck). Some are sweet and not as exciting, but still good because of the large cells, others have some good acid to balance out the sweetness. The redder they are the more “bland” they tend to be, but even these are still good. I read so many opinions here in the weeks before finally signing up that I had written off Honeycrisp and thought maybe I just didn’t have the palate others here have, but I still love it for what it is: an excellent apple for fresh eating. Yesterday at the apple orchard’s store I bought a half-peck of Honeycrisp, 2 individual Crimson Crisps, and skipped over the rest which included Mutsu, Macoun, Mac, Fuji, Gala, and some others. I’ll probably be back there in a few days to see if I can buy another half-peck of HC.

I added a HC tree to my order for next spring.


We’ll see if your tastes change when you get to the point that you not only don’t need to buy apples but wouldn’t eat apples grown more carelessly than your own. Your buds ain’t jaded yet.

However, in the end, everyone gets to love the fruit they love. If they love fruit and are or plan to grow their own they belong on this forum.


I hear you. The first year my HC flowers. Therecwere 4 cluster. I only thinned each cluster to 2 fruit. By the time the fruit mature, there were two apples left. Guess what, the next year, the darn tree went biennial. Not a single flower. And the biennial cycle continued.

I thinned like crazy lasy year, it flowered profusely again this year. I thought I thinned seriously again this spring. Now I am not sure because I have so many HC apples on the tree.


@moose71 does not care for sweet apple which HC is. Moose probably would really enjoy something like Gold Rush.


it wasnt a bad tasting apple just too sweet for my taste. i was raised on y. transparent apples my father grew so i was used to tart. i don’t give HC a bad rating. just not for me. pink lady is pretty sweet but i like it more than HC. just my preference.


never seen them for sale here. after all these years, im still liking a well ripened, frost kissed cortland or macintosh for a late apple, y. transparent rules for pie and applesauce!


I grew up loving the various Mac “types” that are grown locally here. The local Honeycrisps I enjoy the most must be a little bit under ripe. They are very sweet, but there’s a good acid kick to them. A few (again, the redder ones) are not as good IMO. To me, the rush of juice when biting into the Honeycrisp is what makes it special. Also, I do remember getting Honeycrisps that were good (but not this good) from the grocery store when they were really catching on.

I should get around to buying a refractometer.

Edit: and I just grabbed a small one with what I thought was good color, just sweetness and no acid. I can see what you don’t like in them if every one you try is like this. Munching on a SweeTango (from Aldi even) that’s excellent.


Goldrush has more sugar than Honeycrisp


It has been my biggest problem child. It consistently gets bitter pit every year. Usually they look fine at harvest but develop the spots later in storage. This year I could see the spots starting before I picked them.

This article suggests that high potassium might be part of the problem. If that is the case, then there isn’t much I can do. Every soil sample I’ve taken was off-the-scale high in potassium. I tried grafting to several different types of understock, including seedling, but it doesn’t seem to make much of difference. I noticed HC at a local u-pick also has bitter pit issues, so it could be a regional tendency.

I’ll probably graft over all but couple branches. It doesn’t break my heart too much. Over the years, I’ve had HC from many different sources. It can develop good flavor, but I don’t find it euphoric like its reputation would imply. I must be immune to the drug it produces. Since I can grow top-notch classic apples with minimal effort, it only makes sense to focus on what works.


That could be but Gold Rush has enough acid to balance its sweetness. The combo is what makes GR a very tasty apple, in my opinion.

Sweetness is a dominating taste in Honey Crisp. Its crispness also pleases a lot of people.


edit: I may have replied to the wrong post.

Honeycrisp must vary a lot by region or something, because I can’t find any with sugar from the stores. I’m in WA state.

I also prefer sweet plus tart, although a high quality low acid can be good too. In general terms, for me, I think the sweetness and tartness each need to be above a certain threshold, but once that is reached, sugar can go much higher and get even better.

Sweet without tart need something else, like texture, to stand out. Persimmons, dates, honey - they can all be nice.

BTW. I just had the first Golden Russet off of my tree that was worthy of my cravings for it. I’m happy.


im sure soil and climate create different flavor profiles. our soil is heavy rocky clay w/ a slightly acidic ph. we also had a very dry june - aug. could have concentrated sugars more. also maybe why the cortland, freedom and macs were so spectacular.


Your area probably produces some great apples that we,in New England, are envious of.

HC in my area is very sweet and crunchy in normal years. This year is so wet for so long. HC is not as sweet as usual but is still quite good.

I had my one and only Golden Russet last week. It was interesting. Too little sample to make a decision but so far, so good.


I just finished an apple from the Honeycrisp bag that was a little denser than usual for the HC, sweet, a little bit denser but still explosive, and dominated by the acid. The most fantastic HC I’ve been getting must have been picked a little under-ripe (I just opened up the core, the seeds are solid brown). Either that, or it’s something else. Have you experienced this at all with your home grown fruit? We’re so close that I find it hard to believe that the fruit as grown here would be substantially different than yours.


None of my HC over the year has what I call tartness. They may have a hint of it but not prominent. Mostly sweet. If they are green, not quite ripe, they are less sweet but not more sour. It is more like blander.

This year. They don’t taste as sweet as on drier years.


the ones I’ve tasted here in the stores were very bland and tasteless.