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Journal of the American Pomological Society
(J Am Pom Soc)

American Pomological Society

Volume 64 Number 4 Article 4 Pages: 226-233
Year 2010 Month 10
Title: Relationship Between 'Honeycrisp' Crop Load and Sensory Panel Evaluations of the Fruit
Authors: T. Auxt Baugher and J.R. Schupp
A two-year study was conducted to determine if sensory evaluation panels could detect color and taste differences among ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit grown at varying crop loads. In 2007, consumer panelists who were polled at a metropolitan farmer’s market preferred the appearance of fruit from trees with moderate crop loads to those with high crop loads. A panel of market professionals participated in a parallel sensory evaluation study, and the color ratings and percent acceptance levels followed a similar trend. It was notable that the market professionals were able to distinguish even smaller differences in fruit color due to crop load. In 2008, 100 Penn State Food Science Sensory Laboratory consumer panelists evaluated both the color and taste of ‘Honeycrisp’ from trees with varying crop loads. The panelists also evaluated ‘Honeycrisp’ harvested at varying harvest dates. Consumer preferences were influenced by both crop load and harvest date. The taste rankings of high crop load ‘Honeycrisp’ were significantly lower than the rankings of moderate and low crop load fruit. As with the farmer’s market and market professional panel evaluations, the color rankings of moderate crop load ‘Honeycrisp’ were higher than the color rankings of the high crop load and low crop load apples. The panelists preferred the taste of mid-season and late harvested ‘Honeycrisp’ to early harvested fruit and the color of late harvested fruit to either early or mid-season harvested fruit. The results of the sensory evaluation trials suggest that consumers can readily detect the inferiority of apples harvested immature or from heavily or lightly cropped trees.

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