Malus SPA493

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.

Malus SPA493

24 responses to “Malus SPA493”

  1. Stuart

    Man, that looks delicious! Although, I must say my current favorite variety is the Michigan honey crisp. I wonder how it compares to SP493.

  2. Daniel Mosquin

    I do like Honeycrisp myself. I was fortunate enough to be able to try SPA493 today, and I would say SPA493 is more tart, the peel of the apple lasts until the end when chewing a bite, slightly smaller, and is just a touch less crisp (Honeycrisp apples can come off in “chunks” as opposed to bites). All in all, SPA493 is probably one of the ten best apples I’ve had (to my tastes), but Honeycrisp and Splendour are up there as well.

  3. annie Morgan

    I’m envious.
    No longer driving, so cannot go around the countryside checking out the apple crops. Supermarket apples are the best I can do…and they aren’t worth writing home about.

  4. George Vaughan

    I have to agree with you Annie Morgan! 🙂 They just are not worth writing about to home or anywhere else for that matter.

  5. Troy Mullens

    If they are better than Granny Smith, how do I get some. Man, those look good.

  6. Jonathan Knisely

    How do they compare with Macoun?

  7. enid

    I sampled both the Ambrosia and the Honey Crisp apples last week and I think that the Honey Crisp beat out the former. I brought some home and made a full meal of one apple! ‘Crisp’ certainly describes the Honey Crisp. Reminded me of the old Gravensteins we had in our yard when we were children…crisp, crunchy, chunky, juicy but more tart than the Gravensteins. Mmmm!

  8. Mary Ann, in Toronto

    That does look delicious — I can almost smell that apple!

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    i hope your weather is fine
    i miss the drives out into the
    country and road side stands
    during apple time and cider
    and dried flowers
    hope the weekend will be a fun tme
    the apple looks so good fine picture

  10. Susanne

    I haven’t heard the word Gravensteiner mentioned in years!
    As I am part of a University Research Campus that used to breed apple (and other fruit) varieties, can we get some cuttings for grafting for a field trial? We’d be happy to trade for some ‘Ozark Gold’ variety cuttings. It would be interesting to hear how it would do in BC area. It is well adapted to warm summers, we found it once in a nursery in Spain. How about it?

  11. N. Bernard

    Let me recommend Sam’s Club for fresh, large apples. Their Galas and their oranges are huge and, of course, you can’t beat their price.

  12. rdwyer

    I’m not sure how they compare to the cultivars in BC, but here’s a short informal vid produced by the New York Botanical Garden highlighting the diffferences between a selection of locally-grown apples available at the Farmer’s Market at the Garden.

  13. Joyce

    It makes me hungry!

  14. andy gladish

    Somehow I can’t get excited about an apple with a name like that.
    I mean, where’s the story? It didn’t come west in a wagon train, your Great Aunt Lucy didn’t win the pie contest in aught Thirty Two using these apples, you didn’t pick one on a sweltering fall day when you were seven and remember it the rest of your life.
    Even R2D2 has a better name than that.

  15. tom | tall clover farm

    It’s been a good apple year in my small orchard, with the exception of Liberty and Honeycrisp which didn’t set fruit. I’ve yet to pick my York, and Cherry Cox Pippin, but the the prevailing stars are:

    -Spitzenberg (crisp, tart and great baking and fresh eating)

    -Belle de Boskoop (heavy producer all around great apple that sweetens in storage)

    -Jonagold (perfectly sweet and crisp when plucked from the tree)

    -Bramley’s Seedling (prolific, perfect baking apple in my book, firm, tart and holds its shape)

  16. Daniel Mosquin

    Uh, Andy… as-yet-unnamed means it is yet to receive a name.

  17. elizabeth a airhart

    malus spa493
    this apple was the fruit of choice
    that was that was picked from
    darth vatars orchard u2 thinks its
    the best ,with malus of fore thought
    have a good one daniel

  18. David Tarrant

    What a great shot Daniel and good writeup Lindsay. A fitting way to celebrate the 19th Annual Apple Festival at UBC Botanical Garden.
    Many hours of hard work by the Friends of the Garden to promote an important local industry, plus promote awareness of the garden.
    One wonders where many of the great Botanical Gardens of the world would be without the tirelss support of volunteers.

  19. Alexander Jablanczy

    Apples were my favourite food by a long shot for the first half of my life but then came the Alar scare. Does anyone know if apples sold these days have any chemicals on the skin or peel? Then I ate peel core seeds everything but for the last two decades very rarely if at all. Now I read that apples are indeed the best food containing more esters vitamins essential fats proteins than almost any food and no harmful fats nor other toxins nor carcinogens.
    Now I peel all apples but the russet ones as their skin is dull presumably unsprayed.

  20. Old Ari

    Alar was just a scare, it occurs naturally on apples I have heard. There is nothing to stop you from washing an apple in hot water if you are worried.

  21. Elizabeth Rall

    If they all look like that one, Polkadot Crisp might be appropriate. I’m ready for one anyway!

  22. chico

    Annie Morgan – a good source of mail order apples is Harry & David’s….they have consistently good fruit and other great foods too. have never been disappointed in an order from them. Maybe not local for you, but still very good.

  23. tom | tall clover farm

    I finally got around to posting photos of my favorite homegrown apples this year: Cameo, Bramley’s Seedling, Spitzenberg, Jonathan, Beni Shogun Fuji, and Belle de Boskoop.

    APPLES: Homegrown photos and notes about each.

  24. onlyheaven

    Hi there — Does anyone know if (and where) this variety may be purchased to consume (not to grow — I wish I had the land to grow it!)?

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