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on sensory trials and consumer preferences.

Sensory trials on varieties tested in Ontario are being conducted at the Vineland research station. “Ontario is testing most of our varieties and a few of their own, such as 813. Many of the same varieties are being tested in Quebec and SPA 1080 and SPA 766 in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick,” Wallich said.

Some of the negative characteristics found in the Ontario trials are: SPA440 (Nicola) russets badly, SPA493 (Salish) tends to be small, SPA 365 has unpredictable yield and SPA 404 shows branch weeping.

Fruit of the Ontario-bred 813 variety has good appearance and can be the size of a large grapefruit, according to Wallich.

She and her colleagues work closely with the Ontario and Quebec growers and would like to have more contact with growers in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Starting in 2018 with Growing Forward 3, they want to form a nationwide apple-breeding network that is as inclusive as possible.

“We’d like to further the industry as a ERIN WALLICH

Summerland Varieties Corporation operations manager Nick Ibuki helps plant test trees.

whole by having a comprehensive and coordinated plan for development of the industry nationwide,” Wallich said. The AIP program entered a new phase this April with the initial planting of 2,000 trees on one acre of the 40-acre Oliver test orchard.

The current test varieties are SPA 766,

SPA 875, SPA 1062, SPA 1079 and SPA 1080.

“Ambrosia is planted as a comparative variety,” Ibuki said.

Each year SVC will plant a couple of

acres until test selections occupy 20 acres.

Local grower Talwinder Bassi will operate the other half as a lease. “At the moment Talwinder manages 95 per cent of the test orchard,” Ibuki said.

When completed, the test orchard will be mostly apples, with cherries in one or two acres.

“The cherries will be a mix of test selections planted with named commercial varieties,” Ibuki said. This side-by-side comparison in a commercial setting will show how the newest selections perform.

“This will also provide enough fruit for us to send a few commercial packs to China so we can see how they perform in a real world situation,” Ibuki said. The overall goal of the test orchard is to produce enough apples and cherries to assess horticultural aspects, do storage trials, see how well they do on packing lines and eventually to start marketing.

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2016


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