Lindsay Bourque is today’s writer, I’m the photographer. Lindsay writes:
This weekend, the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden (FOGS) will be hosting their annual Apple Festival (web site via the FOGs, web site via the garden). One of the over sixty varieties available for sale is the as-yet-unnamed cultivar, SPA493. Malus SPA493 began its development in 1981 at Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s PARC Summerland in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Malus SPA493 is an apple with a late to very late harvest date, maturing after ‘Splendour’ and ‘Ambrosia’, yet one of the earliest to flower in spring.
Malus SPA493 is a cross between Malus ‘Splendour’ and Malus ‘Gala’, and has a tart flavor with a satisfying crunchy texture. If you were fortunate enough to attend the Apple Festival last year, you may have sampled Malus SPA493 in a taste comparison with commercially available tart varieties (Malus ‘Granny Smith’, Malus ‘McIntosh’ and Malus ‘Sparta’). Malus SPA493 fared well in the appearance comparison (was preferred over each of the other three). More impressively, it was the undisputed favourite for taste when people were asked in a side-by-side comparison as to whether they liked the taste of none, one or both of the cultivars: 89% to 36% vs. Malus ‘Granny Smith’, 88% to 55% vs. Malus ‘McIntosh’, and 81% each in comparison to Malus ‘Spartan’.
This year, 900kg (2000lb.) of Malus SPA493 will be available for sale at the Apple Festival, grown and supplied by Gord Shandler of Summerland, British Columbia, Canada.
Environment resource link (added by Daniel): Prized possessions: securing Canada’s natural landscapes, a small slideshow about properties acquired by the Nature Conservancy of Canada through Environment Canada’s Natural Areas Conservation Program funding. Via Envirozine, Environment Canada’s newsletter.