In a small region in China, an apple with the aroma of Begonia flowers is grown, although some say it has the aroma of strawberries. “It’s the world’s sweetest apple with a brix of 19-22 due to its water cores,” says Ricky Chong with World Fresh Exports. Water cores indicate the apple was picked after frost, boosting the brix level. After four to six weeks in controlled atmosphere storage, signs of water cores will dissipate. Another trait of the Begonia apple is that it resembles Envy for its crunchiness. World Fresh has been trying to secure supplies of this unique apple variety for the past two years and had to purchase entire orchards to make it happen. “It is a new category for us, and we will have controlled atmosphere supplies until at least Chinese New Year on January 22 of next year.”
Begonia apples in clamshell in World Fresh Exports' Smiling Buddha label.
Total production of the Begonia apple is estimated to be around 300,000 tons or the equivalent of 15 million 18-kilogram cartons. Up until now, the majority of the crop had been grown for domestic sales. Since there has always been a huge demand for this specialty variety from Chinese consumers, insufficient volumes were available to consider exporting any volumes. However, with World Fresh Exports now having large volumes to offer, the apple will be tasted by consumers in different parts of the world this season. “This week, we are packing ocean containers for Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia, the US, and Canada,” said Chong. In addition, samples are being sent to Malaysia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
The apples are being packed in a state-of-the-art export facility and different styles and packaging options are available. “We sell Begonia apples under our Smiling Buddha, Royal Crane, and Wishbird labels.” In the US, Begonia apples will retail for about $3.99 per 500-gram clamshell. Chong is looking forward to introducing the Begonia apple around the globe. “We believe the world will love these apples and demand will explode as more shoppers get their taste of this crunchy, hard, and delicious variety.”