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Let Your Variety
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
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.
here for a page showing some Nova Scotia apple and pear varieties.