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A new link in the value chain

Salish shares the spotlight as apple industry’s latest marketing venture gets festive focus.

By Susan McIver T

he recently-named Salish™ is one of the first apples to be included in the new value chain

program branded “Born in B.C. Raised in the Okanagan” to promote and market BC fruit. Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament

for Kelowna-Lake Country, revealed Salish as the name of the newest apple on the market at the UBC Apple Festival in mid-October. The Salish is medium-sized with a

pinkish red blush over a yellow background colour. It is tangy, juicy and crisp. “People at the festival who tried

Salish liked the pleasing combination of sweet and tart tastes,” said Nick Ibuki, horticultural technician for the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation (PICO). Previously known as SPA493, the

Salish originated from a cross between Splendour and Gala cultivars made in 1981 by scientists at the Pacific Agri- Food Research Centre in Summerland. Once the desired characteristics

were developed by PARC scientists, PICO worked extensively in testing and evaluating the new variety with orchardists. Growers appreciate the apple’s

late harvest date, good storage and shelf life, high yields and good habits for high-density orchards. “With 15 orchardists

committed to growing Salish, we look forward to having increased production year after year. This apple holds promise of being among the best,” said John Kingsmill, general manager and CEO of PICO. David and Laura Green, Lake

Country orchardists since 1980, primarily produce cherries but also


The crisp and juicy Salish apple, previously known as SPA493.


John Kingsmill, president and CEO of the Okanagan Plant Improvement Corporation, with promotional material for ‘Born in B.C. Bred in the Okanagan.’

grow Aurora Golden Gala, Honeycrisp and Salish apples. They were drawn to Salish for

several reasons, including the very firm fruit texture, the balance of acids and sugars and its distinct appearance. Summerland orchardist Gord

Shandler grows a number of varieties including Salish, Ambrosia and Royal Gala. He has found that new varieties

often provide a greater financial return than mainstream ones. “Getting in at the start of the curve usually means a greater return to the

grower,” Shandler said. PICO launched the value chain

program branded “Born in BC. Raised in the Okanagan” at this year’s UBC Apple Festival. The value chain concept

encompasses improving and linking the processes around a product from its production until it is in the hands of the consumer. Salish and Aurora Golden Gala are

the flagship varieties for the program. Previously known as 8S6923, Aurora

is the result of cross-pollination made in the early 1980s between Splendour and Gala. As with Salish, Aurora was

developed and tested by PARC and PICO. A crisp, juicy, sweet apple, Aurora

stays fresh longer than most apples. It has consistently been rated as the

best variety at the UBC Apple Festival and on countless consumer taste panels. The two varieties also display nicely

together—Aurora is yellow and Salish red on yellow. In spite of its popularity with

consumers, Aurora’s thin skin and its yellow colour led to it bruising easily

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Winter 2012-13

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