Department of Agriculture and Food technical officer Steele Jacob has been a regular visitor to apple orchards to ensure one of Western Australia’s newest apple varieties reaches the market in top tasting condition.
The department, alongside Fruit West Co-operative Ltd, is working closely with growers around the country in the lead up to the second commercial season of its latest variety ANABP 01, of which premium fruit is sold under the Bravo™ apple brand.
WA consumers got their first taste of the rich burgundy apple when it was released commercially in limited quantities last season.
“Monitoring fruit quality in the lead up to harvest is common practice with all apple varieties,” Mr Jacob said.
“Because this apple variety is new to growers, the department is helping to share our production knowledge gained over the 20 years it has taken to breed and develop the variety.
“This includes assessing fruit on the trees to predict crop load and collecting weekly apple samples as harvest approaches to ensure the fruit is harvested at the optimum quality.”
Determining fruit maturity involves measuring size and weight as well as eating qualities like sugar content and firmness. Appearance standards also have to be met so that all Bravo™ apples sold are consistent for consumers.
There are 14 orchards with fruiting ANABP 01 trees in WA this season, from the Perth Hills through to Manjimup.
“We have been testing the fruit maturity for the past few weeks to track the crop development in all growing regions,” Mr Jacob said. “The apple harvest is now underway in some orchards.
“Fruit quality is excellent this season. Cold nights and sunny days have really enhanced the deep burgundy colour and the fruit has a high natural sweet-balanced taste.
“This is exactly what we expect from this variety, and we are so pleased that all growers are achieving the same results.”
Department Irrigated Agriculture Executive Director John Ruprecht said the apple was bred by the department in Manjimup as part of the Australian National Apple Breeding Program, supported by the State Government and Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited.
“We hope this apple will follow in the footsteps of other successful varieties bred by the department that produce premium apples including the popular Pink Lady™ and Sundowner™,” Mr Ruprecht said.
Commercialising the Bravo™ apple is enabling the WA apple industry to expand and look at exporting apples to the world.
Fruit West Co-operative Ltd is managing the commercialisation of the variety in Australia.
Fruit West has advised fruit is now available in specialty stores in small quantities, with further volumes expected in coming weeks.
Media contacts: Jodie Thomson/Lisa Bertram, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937/3325