Three apple cultivars released by the University of Saskatchewan fruit breeding program are being recommended for commercial production in that prairie province this year, according to fruit breeder Dr. Bob Bors. They are Autumn Delight, Prairie Sensation, and Misty Rose.
Autumn Delight (top photo at right) is described as small, about 2.5 inches in diameter and 80 percent washed with dark red over a light greenish yellow. It is sweet, with good browning resistance when cut. Texture is crisp and juicy. Flesh color is creamy white, tinged with red vascular tissue. The apple is very late, ripening about September 26 in Saskatchewan, and the fruit hangs well. It is winter-hardy and semidwarf in vigor. It resists mildew but is susceptible to fireblight.
Prairie Sensation has large fruit, more than 3 inches in diameter, and is “balanced” between sweet and tart. The base color is two shades of light green covered with two shades of red, in wash and stripes. Flesh is white, and texture is described as fine, firm, breaking, crisp, and juicy. Fruit sets singly or in pairs and requires little thinning. The tree is “slightly leggy,” and fruit sets on spurs, not tips. It was rated well in taste tests. It stores well. The tree is very hardy.
Misty Rose (left photo) is medium in size, with 90 percent red color over light green. It is sweet and good fresh. Texture is described as firm, crisp, and juicy, and flesh color is white. It ripens about September 4. The fruit stores well. The tree is vigorous, winter hardy, and tends to be open, leggy, and tip bearing. Fruit thinning can be done quickly and with very little effort, according to the description.
The ancestry of these apples can be traced back to about 15 cultivars, several of them from the University of Minnesota, which developed Honeycrisp. Haralson and Malinda are important ancestors, and others include McIntosh and Ben Davis.
For more information, check the Web site www.fruit.usask.ca.