(Agri-Food Canada) — Apple lovers will have a new variety to sink their teeth into that is set to debut in select stores this fall. The Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, revealed the name of the newest apple on the market today at the annual University of British Columbia (UBC) Apple Festival by introducing the Salish.
"This is a delicious example of government and industry working together to deliver new market opportunities to our farmers," said MP Cannan. "When you taste the Salish apple here today, you are sampling the sweet rewards of many years of research and investments in innovation that will pay off for the farmers that grow this tasty achievement."
The Salish is tangy, juicy and very crisp. It is medium-sized, with a pinkish red blush over a yellow background colour. The apple has characteristics that appeal not only to consumers, with its high quality appearance, texture and flavour, but also those that Canadian apple growers seek, such as its late harvest date, good storage and shelf life, high yields and good growth habits for high-density orchards.
Previously only known as SPA493, the Salish apple was developed and tested by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) scientists, in partnership with the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation (PICO). Like all AAFC varieties, this new apple was developed using traditional cross-pollination methods. It originated from a cross between 'Splendour' and 'Gala' cultivars made in 1981 at AAFC's Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC) in Summerland, British Columbia.
Once the desired characteristics were yielded by AAFC scientists, PICO worked extensively in testing and evaluating the new variety with growers. The partnership between AAFC and PICO is a rewarding one and has resulted in the introduction of some significant tree fruit and berry varieties. PICO licenses new varieties of tree fruits - both domestically and internationally - that appeal to consumers and growers and helps refine horticultural practices.
"With already fifteen orchardists committed to growing the Salish, we look forward to having increased production year after year," stated John Kingsmill, General Manager & CEO of PICO. "This delightful apple holds the promise of being one of the best."
New apple varieties help Canadian tree fruit growers expand production and give them a competitive edge in markets around the world. The commercialization of new apple varieties also boosts the economy by expanding domestic production and increasing exports of tree fruit products. The Canadian apple industry generates a significant amount of economic activity not only at the farm gate, but also throughout the horticulture value chain through the packing, processing, selling and transportation of apples. With a farm gate value of $160 million, apples were the second most valuable Canadian fruit in 2011, and with the introduction of this new variety, apple producers can be assured that their sector will continue to grow.
To find out more about AAFC science, please visit www.agr.gc.ca.