A new variety of apricot shows good potential for use in both fresh and dried product markets. 'Goshen Gold' was introduced in the March 2016 issue of HortScience by Craig A. Ledbetter of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service. The promising late-season apricot is self-compatible, consistently producing fruit after self-pollination.
"Late-season fruit maturity is the characteristic that first distinguished 'Goshen Gold' from other siblings and led to its selection and propagation," Ledbetter said. "Although making a new selection is usually based on a review of quality characteristics of the new accession as compared with an established competing selection or cultivar, quality comparisons were not possible in 'Goshen Gold' in that it has sufficiently late maturity, and fruit of all other selections and cultivars had already matured and dropped to the orchard floor by that time."
'Goshen Gold' trees are vigorous and feature a semispreading habit. Ledbetter noted that the trees require heavy maintenance pruning during the growing season in order to enhance light penetration and stimulate flower development for the following year.
Fruit of 'Goshen Gold' is generally elliptic in shape with a dull gold-yellow skin color that is not enhanced by blush. Fruit remain on the tree well after commercial maturity, allowing sugars to increase and providing excellent fruit for a premium dry product. "Physical measures of 'Goshen Gold' and 'Patterson' are quite similar in fruit weight, axial diameter, and flesh hue, differing only slightly for each of these characters," the author said. "However, flesh firmness did differ between the two cultivars, and juice characteristics of the two cultivars differed appreciably, perhaps due to fruit maturity differences as demonstrated in flesh firmness."
Drying ratio (fresh fruit weight:dried product weight) of 'Goshen Gold' was significantly less than that of 'Patterson' (the predominant drying apricot in California), and color stability of 'Goshen Gold' during storage was significantly better than 'Patterson'. "Using this new cultivar as feedstock for dried product will provide growers with promising alternatives to the popular Patterson cultivar," Ledbetter said.
'Goshen Gold' has no restrictions placed on its propagation and is considered a free cultivar, without registration or patent. According to the report, limited quantities of dormant budwood are "usually available on request." Wood from the mother tree was indexed by the National Clean Plant Network Center at Washington State University's Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center and was found to be free of known viruses and phytoplasmas.
Scions of 'Goshen Gold' have been deposited at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Davis, California; requests can be made for research purposes, including development and commercialization of new cultivars.
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