The first Inored apple harvest has been taken off in the Witzenberg Valley above Ceres, impressing the South African pioneers of the French-bred open variety with its strong colour and low sunburn incidence.
De Kock Hamman, technical advisor at Ceres Fruit Growers, saw the fruit on a visit to Italy in 2014 and realised that the red apple, the result of breeding and not mutation, could have particular utility in South Africa.
Together with renowned South African apple breeder Buks Nel, De Kock visited France in 2017 to get first-hand experience of the cultivar.
“The apple comes at a very good time, after the Golden and Top Red harvest, but before the Pink Lady harvest. This is a very useful time slot after other full red apples have ended.”
Inored apples are attached to very long stems, facilitating harvesting and offering resistance to wind
The flesh doesn’t have a tendency to become mealy-textured, like other full red apples, and it has another unique characteristic: the fruit hang on very long stems, making them easier to harvest and, De Kock notes, fewer of the Inored fruit seem to have blown off during recent strong winds than other red varieties.
Also, importantly, the fruit colour is very good and there was very little incidence of sunburn during the past season. The fruit has an average Gala size or a bit larger and has the ability to remain up to eight months in Regular Atmosphere cold stores.
“We’re still learning as we go. The oldest orchards are only in second leaf, planted in 2018, on Wakkerstroom, the farm of Robert Zulch, where we’ve picked the first harvest of 15 bins. Robert is himself a pioneer of new apple varieties.”
Wakkerstroom farmer Robert Zulch with Jannie Theron of Witzenberg Properties in the young Inored orchard (photos supplied by De Kock Hamman)
Currently 8ha of Inored apples have been planted on a number of farms, including in warmer areas where it could do well; volumes will have increased over the next few years to consider wider opportunities.
“South Africans like a red apple a lot, and there is good interest from Italy and France, where the apple is known. It could have potential for the African market because of its long shelf life.”
In South Africa the cultivar is managed by TopFruit. In Italy it is marketed as Epli and in France as Story or Lolipop.
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