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Apple Varieties

Let Your Variety Show

It must have been a real headache to have been a produce manager in the early 1900s when almost one thousand varieties of apples were marketed in the US and likely nearly as many in Canada. What happened to all the varieties? Some dropped out of the marketplace when sales declined because consumers found other varieties they preferred. Some varieties, although popular with consumers, went out of favour with growers because of production problems. More recently, varieties have dropped by the wayside when they didn't perform well in storage.

You are probably familiar with and sell these Nova Scotia grown apples: McIntosh, Cortland, Spartan, Red Delicious, Gravenstein, and Idared. Maybe you even sell Nova Scotia Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, and Golden Russets. Probably you sell one or two of the varieties that don't grow as well here, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn.

How many other varieties can you think of? Two, or maybe three? Do you know if they are local apples or imports? There are at least 40 other varieties of apples grown in Nova Scotia, although not in the same quantities as the varieties mentioned above. Some could be available, in season, in modest quantities.

Consider offering some early varieties in your department. These are the ones that are ready before Gravensteins or about the same time, such as Vista Bella, Jerseymac, and Paulared. Many consumers anxiously await the first apples of the season.

There are a number of interesting varieties that become available as the season gets into full swing. Among the older ones are: Cox's Orange Pippin, Golden Russet and King. Some of the newer ones are: Gala, Jonagold and Empire.

Have you had older customers ask, "Why can't I get the old-fashioned Gravensteins that I used to eat?" Perhaps someone has said, "We used to have some kind of a Pippin tree when I was growing up, and the apples were so good." What do you say to these customers? Have you tried offering an alternative, or checking with your wholesaler to see what might be available? When you consider the age of the consumers that shop in your department, you might decide that you could sell quite a few apples to these 'nostalgia' buyers.

When offering the newer varieties for sale, be sure to have some information nearby, such as recipes and home storage tips. This information should be available from your packer or the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers' Association.

Click here for a page showing some Nova Scotia apple and pear varieties.

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