Lots of New Apples Coming to Market


Two of the many international introductions that are drawing interest are the New Zealand offerings PremA129 (to be licensed and sold as Dazzle), which is a cross of Scired (a Gala and Splendour cross known as NZ Queen) and Sweetie (a Royal Gala and Braeburn cross), and Smitten™, which has grandparents in Falstaff, Fiesta, Braeburn and Gala.

The New Zealand-based company Plant & Food Research, which is funded by and licensed to Prevar, developed both PremA129 and Smitten™.

The marketing collaboration Fruitcraft holds production and marketing rights to PremA129 globally and will begin exporting its apples from New Zealand in 2018 with hopes to be exporting 1 million cartons by 2028, said Steve Potbury, Fruitcraft manager.

“That will certainly make it one of New Zealand’s more popular new apple varieties,” Potbury said. The company also is propagating and distributing trees for trial plantings in the United States and other apple growing regions around the world, he added, and “over the next five years, we expect to license partners in all the major apple-growing areas.”

With Smitten™, Pegasus Premier Fruit Co. of Wenatchee, Washington, holds the exclusive license to produce and market the variety in the United States. Pegasus partner Randy Steensma said the company’s interest in Smitten™ stemmed from its search for new cultivars that would make choice managed varieties.

“We’ve always been on the lookout for exceptional varieties, and in our travels we came across and started watching this one New Zealand variety, which turned out to be Smitten™,” Steensma recalled.

As time went by, he said Smitten™ hit all the right notes: exceptional flavor, high juice content, excellent firmness with a pressure test of 20 to 22 pounds, a good crunch, heavy bearing and no stem-end splitting as is sometimes seen in Gala.

Since winning the license for Smitten™, Pegasus put in its own show orchard and started to spread the word about the new apple.

“Our goal is to give all growers access to the variety,” he said. Currently, Washington has 600,000 trees planted, and Michigan and New York growers are putting in 250,000 trees.

Which of these varieties will make the biggest splash? That’s hard to say, said MSU’s Beaudry.

“It’s great that we have all these apples that are being developed, but growers should keep in mind that it’s really only through long-term evaluation that we can determine some of the potential negative-quality attributes, such as storage issues or other sensitivities.” He added, “Things like that can arise because while the tree did very well at the breeding program’s orchard and may not have had any problems at all, you’re not growing it in that same place and keeping it under those same conditions.”

That said, Beaudry is seeing many high-quality fruits coming out of breeding programs throughout the United States, and some of them just might be the next apple to tantalize consumers and push the apple industry to new heights.

“There really are some very nice things coming out of breeding programs today from all over the country and around the world. I only wish there were something coming out of Michigan, too!”

. . .

Read the full article at: www.goodfruit.com