Courtesy of Rich MacDonald (AAFC)

A new apple variety from British Columbia, Canada, called Salish was launched in the marketplace this fall under a new brand called “Born in BC, Raised in the Okanagan.”

Salish (formerly known as SPA493) originated from a cross of Splendour and Gala made in 1981 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s breeding program in Summerland. It is a bicolored, medium-sized apple with thin skin. It is crisp, juicy, and firm, and has a tangy and aromatic flavor. It matures in late October in British Columbia and has a six-month storage life.

The “Born in BC, Raised in the Okanagan” brand was developed by the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation in an effort to ensure that growers receive good money for their crop and consumers receive premium apples at reasonable prices. It is being used to support orchardists who have formed a value-chain group to bring new varieties to ­market.

John Kingsmill, general manager of PICO, said value chains are consumer driven in contrast to supply chains, which are retailer driven. A new distribution network was formed that includes the independent specialty fruit packer JIND Fruit Company in Osoyoos and Berrymobile Fruit Distribution, Inc., in Vancouver.

The brand will be used for varieties that are grown in small quantities and do not fit within the structure of large packing houses, according to PICO. The first two apples to be distributed and marketed under the brand will be Salish and Aurora Golden Gala. Aurora, which was released several years ago, also originated from a 1981 cross of Splendour and Gala. Although highly rated for its eating quality, Aurora has production attributes, including susceptibility to bruising, that have made it challenging to handle on a large scale.

More varieties will be launched under the brand as they become available. The long-term goal is to have consumers associate the brand with high quality and innovative ­varieties, according to PICO.

Fifteen orchardists have committed to growing Salish, so far. The apples are available at retail stores in Vancouver, Burnaby, Whistler, New Westminster, Granville Island, and Kelowna and are sold in Euro cartons displaying the brand and apple logos to build awareness of the brand. Some in-store demonstrations were planned.

PICO is a variety rights management company that licenses new tree fruit varieties in Canada and internationally. It has exclusive evaluation, distribution, propagation, and commercialization rights for fruit varieties developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. PICO is owned by the British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association.

For additional information about PICO, check the Web site ­