After the first cross of a wild red-fleshed apple from Kazakhstan with traditional eating varieties, two decades of research and four generations of breeding, Australia will get its first taste of the distinctively coloured apple later this year.
Montague Fresh is one of 14 shareholders globally in the Ifored breeding program, and the only Australian licence holder. Their first Kissabel trees were imported from France and, after two years in quarantine, 2000 trees of eight different Kissabel varieties were planted in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia in 2017.
There are 17 different cultivars that can be called a Kissabel apple with flesh colour ranging from pink to a deep red, and the skin from orange to crimson.
Finally, the first Australian trees have produced fruit. Montague Fresh general manager Rowan Little said the response to the crop had been so positive the company would plant a commercial volume of 5000 more trees next year.
“So by 2025 you’ll start to see them in the supermarket,” he told weeklytimesnow.com.au. “This is the first year we’re had any fruit and the reaction has been as positive as we could imagine, so it has given us encouragement to speed that up.”