13 October 2014
Mark Gores - Lake Chelan, Washington
"It's all about the lake and the environment. The lake goes back into the Cascades for 55 miles. It's all glacier-fed. The snow melts and continues to be pristine."
"I'm 58 and I've been in this business all my life. And I'm lucky enough to be involved with the beginnings of new varieties. We’re right on Lake Chelan, and the water is from a glacier. If you look off the end of my dock the water’s 10 or 12 feet deep, but you can see the bottom. It’s clear, like a swimming pool. On Sundays I’ll take my dog and walk up the same hill I’ve been walking up since I was 6 years old and just look at the view. There’ve been a number of dogs over the years, but the view hasn’t changed. We’re on the east side of the Cascades over here, so near Seattle. I’ve got relatives on the west side of the mountains, so it’s fun to introduce them to these new apples and they’re asking immediately, ‘Why can’t we find these in the stores already??!’ That’s when you start to get excited.
We heard there was another apple with the same parentage as the JAZZ™, a Gala/Braeburn cross but still a totally different apple, and they had pictures of it from New Zealand. And I raised my hand as quick as I could, so to speak. I wanted to get it out into the orchards to see what it was going to perform like. Right away, you see its growth habits and it looked like it was exactly what we needed. There was nothing out there like it in terms of a firm, sweet apple. I don’t think there’s anything that touches it in terms of the density of its flesh and sweetness.
Flavor has become the issue. It doesn’t have to be 100% red. It’s all about the flavor. The fact that I can take it home and it tastes good after it’s been at home a while. It mellows. Something like that is really neat for someone who has been around the business as long as I have: that suddenly you’re growing something that has flavor, and it counts.