Update on Franklin apples?

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Don

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Feb 20, 2020, 2:43:00 AM2/20/20
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It was 3 years ago that a lively discussion on the Franklin apple took place. Between all the noise I think the consensus was this: Too early to tell, no idea how the fruit will grow on a variety of places. Well as stated it has been 3 years. Has anybody here had a chance to play with them?

I'm getting two trees this spring. I'm in South Central Alaska. It is zone 4 but with an often tree killing meltdown in January (temps hitting 50f, anything that wakes up gets hit with sub zero the next week), and a very short season; if apples are not done by end of September they may freeze on the trees. I'm guessing the trees will be hardy but have my doubts that they will have enough time to mature fruit. Then again, global warming and whatnot. Last year somebody up here finally got her filberts to fruit. 

Elizabeth Garofalo

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Feb 20, 2020, 10:17:05 AM2/20/20
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At some point, I thought Fedco Trees had the Franklin Cider apple listed, currently I don't see it though. Stark brothers nursery rates it as cold hardy to -32F. Ripening late Sept. - mid Oct. I'm not aware of any institutional research going on with the Franklin, yet (which doesn't mean there isn't, I just don't know of it). At UMass Amherst's research orchard we are in the planning stages of a new cider apple block that will include Franklin. 

Garrett Huber

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Feb 21, 2020, 1:51:37 AM2/21/20
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Amazing apples.  We bought 5 bushels from the original seedling.  18 Brix, super high tannin and moderately high acid.  I put them into a keeved cider.  We also bought about 20 trees and they are doing well in zone 3b..  Still too early for a crop of fruit considering they are on bud 118 in such a short growing season.


On Thursday, February 20, 2020 at 2:43:00 AM UTC-5, Don wrote:

Claude Jolicoeur

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Feb 21, 2020, 8:46:08 PM2/21/20
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For my part, I haven't seen any recent report about Franklin.
I know a lot of people have planted it, so normally some of these people should report here (hopefully).
Note it is patented by Stark, and as Elizabeth pointed, it would be surprizing if some other nursery such as FEDCO could have the right to sell some trees.
Claude

Brian Drake

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Feb 21, 2020, 10:37:22 PM2/21/20
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https://shop.cumminsnursery.com/shop/apple-trees/franklin

Sold out - probably selling large blocks to commercial growers.

Brian 
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Cillian Breathnach

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Feb 22, 2020, 9:27:12 AM2/22/20
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Hi Claude, do you know if any of those growers are from Quebec? Sounds like a variety that could do well here. 

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Claude Jolicoeur

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Feb 22, 2020, 10:22:41 AM2/22/20
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Le samedi 22 février 2020 09:27:12 UTC-5, Cillian Breathnach a écrit :
Hi Claude, do you know if any of those growers are from Quebec? Sounds like a variety that could do well here. 

Not that I know. I am not even sure if it is available from a Canadian nursery as it is patented. A nursery would have to buy the rights from Stark in order to be able to propagate it and sell trees.
Claude

Don

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Feb 24, 2020, 7:12:42 PM2/24/20
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While researching last year I corresponded with Bill M over email. He stated that Stark Bros were doing changes to their marketing strategy away from commercial sales. I'm not clear what that entailed but the result was that now there were license agreements in place (and budwood provided) to Adams County Nursery, Moshers Nursery, Van Well Nursery, Wafler Nursery, Feedco Seed Company, and Cummings Nursery. At the time (last August I think) two other license agreement requests were pending.

In addition to these two I'm also planting a Kerr and a Redfield on my small plot. 

Don

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Apr 11, 2020, 9:42:25 PM4/11/20
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Giving this one last try.

Has anybody actually bitten this apple? I keep finding the same post about people planting them but that's all; I'm yet to find a single post about the trees actually producing. I'm also curious about when they usually ripen. I see a wide range on the same old articles but no testimonials from people actually growing them.

Dick Dunn

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Apr 12, 2020, 11:32:58 AM4/12/20
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Don - Seeing no reply even to this recent message of yours: I wonder if
the lack of response is the actual news...that is, "The news is: no news"??

The initial fanfare for Franklin was so over-the-top it left a lot of us
wondering what, if anything, was really behind it.
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Brian Drake

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Apr 12, 2020, 12:15:25 PM4/12/20
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I’m still 2 years out from fruit - might topwork a snip just to speed that up a smidge.

Brian
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Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 12, 2020, 12:46:53 PM4/12/20
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Yes still very few have actually tasted it.
My take is that quite a number of trees have been planted during the last 2-3 years, but are still too young to bear.
It will take another 2-3 years before we get valuable feedback from those.
Claude

Don

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Apr 13, 2020, 2:19:45 AM4/13/20
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That's Starkbros for you. They parked themselves near the then newly built train line and have been hyping and shipping trees since 1816. Red Delicious was the product of similar beginnings; a chance sledding that got entered into a contest to find new varieties Stark Bros was running. At the time (1893?) they declared it to be the best tasting apple they ever tasted, and went as far as caging the original tree to stop people from taking branches. 

They have stayed in business for over 200 years because it works.

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 13, 2020, 7:40:38 AM4/13/20
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Le lundi 13 avril 2020 02:19:45 UTC-4, Don a écrit :
They have stayed in business for over 200 years because it works.

Yes it certainly works.
For them in my view it is a question of calculated risk.
If an apple works and is successful, they are way ahead of the others, and the cash comes in. If it doesn't fulfill its promises, then they might have a small loss, but another variety will succeed to compensate.

It is all the opposite of a prudent approach where you would do complete testing before putting a variety on the market. That prudent approach is however much more expensive and requires a lot more time before the cash comes in.


Don

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Apr 13, 2020, 4:28:11 PM4/13/20
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They have refined this approach for 200 years. I would say they know how to make it work :D

I can't fault them. Their first priority is to be a profitable business and compare to others they exhibit a much higher degree of competency and care. Take my local home depot for instance; right now they have blackberries for sale; blackberries do not survive our winters. Heck neither half of the apple varieties they will bring later on. They don't sell what grows here but instead they focus on the names people recognize. 

Brian Drake

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Apr 13, 2020, 5:31:28 PM4/13/20
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Just seems like an odd marketing strategy - did they get their target demographic right?  There must be 50-100+ customers that would buy a Honeycrisp apple tree from Stark's for every 1 customer that would buy a tree that only grows 'spitters'.  Then again, how many commercial operations are putting in large blocks of cider trees?  Who the heck knows what happens when you a have a 'market' that has nearly zero supply (of new cider varieties) and minimal demand.  Other than their GLINTCAP medal, we can only speculate.  (2nd coming of Kingston Black sets the bar relatively high though...)

Brian
OOLLC

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Frozen North Fruit

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Apr 23, 2024, 12:26:20 PMApr 23
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So, anyone have any updates on the famous Franklin Cider apple?  Juice characteristics.  Post fermentation blends?   2023 would have been 6 years from release so I would have expected to have more news by now.


I got a small first crop last year. Grown USDA 3b.  Winter thaw usually 1st to second week april.  First frost usually late sept or early oct.  Minimum temps -30-34C.


These are CRAB APPLES, mine were averaging 50-60g. Yellow-green with slight pink/red blush on sunny side and 30%+ russeting.  No huge disease as yet though a fair amount of sooty blotch.   On my refractometer they were 19-20 brix! Very acidic and quite tannic BUT not crazy so. Way less than a Frequin Rouge I had grown in the past. Franklin I could tolerate in my mouth. Frequin Rouge was impossibly puckering.


I actually paid to have them tested by a lab.


SG 1,0844

Malic acid 27,23 g/L

Total Polyphenols by colorimetry 11459 mg/L


I do not know if this is a true tannin level. As from data from:

https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5710/6/3/55#app1-beverages-06-00055

Has Frequin Rouge as 0.42mg/ml = which is 420mg/L or 25x less but that number does not make sense either compared to other data I have seen from the Quebec RECUPOM trials (https://www.agrireseau.net/agriculturebiologique/documents?a=1&r=recupom).


So while I am not certain about the laboratory testing, the apples ripened in 3b, were very small, were very sweet, had to my taste moderate, sharp tannins. The tannins were NOT as interesting as the only cider apple I have tasted previously which was Frequin Rouge which had more flavor and seemed "rounder, smoother". I will post back in future years but am very interested to hear others experiences, especially if you have some tannin numbers and can compare to traditional cider varieties.

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 23, 2024, 11:52:19 PMApr 23
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For my part, I still haven't seen a fruit nor tasted the juice.
However, I have seen recently that Eden Cider in Vermont has released a batch made with this apple, but I know no more...

As of the data you report, yes SG very high, but malic is simply huge, as high as Dolgo crab! Now the number for polyphenols is high but there are a few apples that have above 10g/L in polyphenols.
The problem maybe is that not all methods give comparable results. You'd need to have Frequin rouge analyzed by the same lab to be able to really compare the numbers.

Frozen North Fruit

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Apr 24, 2024, 11:35:17 AMApr 24
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I used the same lab as RECUPOM but yes, side by side comparisons are best.  I hope to be able to do it this fall as my fingers are crossed that a lot of my trees will give fruit for the first time this year.  Just have to find the $ because it is not cheap.....

Richard Hastings

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Apr 24, 2024, 3:13:32 PMApr 24
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We (Liberty Ciderworks) started a batch of Franklin as an SV in late 2022, purchasing apples from 3 Lazy S Orchard in Ellensburg WA (now owned by Puget Sound Cider Co.). Juice was wild-fermented to 1.007 or so over six months, then aged another 12 months in neutral oak barrels to an FG of 1.005 and an ABV of 9.9% We did a force-carb and bottled 48 cases of single-varietal 750ml product for a cider club release; flavor notes here: https://tinyurl.com/3hx3vu32 

We also included Franklin in our keeved cider, blending it at 28% with Chisel Jersey, Michelin, Harrison and McIntosh. 

We've been very impressed by this apple, and think cautious comparisons to Kingston Black are worthwhile, with Franklin offering higher brix, bolder aromatics and flavor profile than KB. Perceived tannin levels are also stronger than the KB grown in our region, though within balance and (to my tastes) an asset. Acidity levels were an issue we addressed by allowing spontaneous MLF in two of our four barrels, arresting to taste with SO2 and temperature. Though largely successful, I'd say Franklin is also similar to KB in that MLF doesn't seem to compliment the general fruitiness of the cider's profile. 

We poured Franklin in Portland at Cider Summit's inaugural "Artisans" event following CiderCon. As with feedback from our club customers, reviews seemed very positive. Based on this  - and our brand approach to utilize more American apples in our blends - one of our partner growers is adding a block of Franklin to their orchard. 

In addition to Eden's recent offering, I saw a Franklin SV for sale from Stormalong awhile back (was sold out before I could snag samples). We'll have remaining bottles of ours for sale online fairly soon. 

I'll grab my TA, pH and original gravity readings later today and add those to the thread. We don't test for polyphenols. 

Rick

LCW-franklin.jpeg

Elizabeth Garofalo

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Apr 24, 2024, 3:59:14 PMApr 24
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Terennce Bradsshaw, at UVM, did some work with Franklin a few years ago. Attached you should find a PDF of the article. 

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18Bradshaw_ISHS_CiderAppleCvrEvaluation_2PrePub.pdf

Claude Jolicoeur

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Apr 24, 2024, 7:59:19 PMApr 24
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Le mercredi 24 avril 2024 à 15:13:32 UTC-4, Richard Hastings a écrit :
We (Liberty Ciderworks) started a batch of Franklin as an SV in late 2022, purchasing apples from 3 Lazy S Orchard in Ellensburg WA (now owned by Puget Sound Cider Co.). Juice was wild-fermented to 1.007 or so over six months, then aged another 12 months in neutral oak barrels to an FG of 1.005 and an ABV of 9.9%

The initial SG had to be between 1.080 and 1.085 in order to obtain 9.9%ABV with a final SG of 1.005 (assuming there was no sugar added).
That surely is high SG! Comparable to what was quoted in the previous post.

 

Frozen North Fruit

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Apr 24, 2024, 9:00:55 PMApr 24
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Thanks!  Interesting read.  If you have harvest date that would be interesting as well.  We had a -5C temps in forecast so I picked all mine, not sure if they could have gone longer.  This was first year fruiting so we will see if the acidity was out of normal or not. 

Richard Hastings

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Apr 25, 2024, 1:27:14 AMApr 25
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Claude:

Yes, my notes show the original SG was 1.082. Additional measurements taken at start: pH = 3.04, TA = 9.9. No chaptalization and no additions other than some Fermaid O early on.  

As for Frozen Fruit's question, my records are a bit sketchy, but our invoice suggests the Franklins were picked the third week of September 2022. 

Rick 

AW

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Apr 28, 2024, 1:38:52 PMApr 28
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Very interesting.  I would have sent some "control" samples to the lab as well.  Frequin Rouge for example.  That polyphenol number doesn't make much sense to me without other context.  

I've never tasted it, but the reported acid level of Franklin has prevented me from planting it....I already have Dolgo, and its rarely useful to me for blending on account of the acid level.  

Frozen North

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Apr 28, 2024, 2:16:41 PMApr 28
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Honestly I was expecting to g/L Gallic acid equivalent or something more comparable.  I sent a couple other apples but nothing “known” as I had thought I could compare to published values and I did not have any “real” cider apples last year.

Hopefully my named varieties will fruit this year so there can be a better side by side comparison.

Cold climate fruit growing experiments North of the 45th parallel
https://www.frozennorthfruit.com/


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Andrew Lea

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Apr 28, 2024, 4:22:10 PMApr 28
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I would go back to your lab and ask them to explain their methodology. "By colorimetry” means nothing.  There are wine industry standard methods for polyphenols, notably Folin, which is normally expressed in GAE as mg/L. If they used some proprietary method then the result might be very different. 

One question though. Did you send them juice or cider samples, or actual apples? If the latter, then the result would depend very much on how they extracted the fruit. Ask them. Any reputable analyst should be happy to explain just what they did.

Andrew
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