Could early sweet apple 'Posy' herald rosy future for NZ growers?
In a launch that has been 20 years in the making, two New Zealand apple growers have made the first shipments of a new apple variety they hope will take the Chinese market by storm.
Bostock New Zealand and Mr Apple are optimistic about the Posy apple's prospects, as one of the country's first available cultivars for a market that desires higher-color, sweeter fruit.
The companies make the bold claim that Posy is New Zealand's sweetest apple, and the first shipments arrived in China last week.
The variety was bred in Havelock North by apple breeder David Cranwell, who has been in the apple industry for half a century.
Bostock and Mr Apple are Posy's exclusive growers in New Zealand.
"We wanted to breed an apple which would be ready early for our Asian market. The Posy apple is harvested early February and ahead of most other New Zealand apple varieties," said Bostock New Zealand owner John Bostock (pictured above).
"David saw the potential for a pink, sweet apple for the Asian market, so we have worked together with Mr Apple to create New Zealand’s sweetest apple."
The Posy apple's parents are New Zealand Rose and Royal Gala, both popular, strong flavored varieties that were bred in the country.
"Teaming up with Mr Apple to exclusively grow this new apple variety means we can offer a wide range of customers throughout the market and take advantage of each growers strengths and especially our organic experience and offering," Bostock said.
"This is the first year we have had any reasonable volumes of Posy to export and its great to be able to offer apples that are specifically tailored to the Asian palate.
"We are also adding value by creating a brand for this apple and supporting it with a lot of marketing material for our customers."
The Chinese market is however still small for Bostock New Zealand, and awareness of the organic category is developing.
Bostock highlighted new, exciting varieties were appealing in Asia and are helping grow the market.
"Developing exclusive, high quality apple varieties has been a big focus for Bostock New Zealand over recent years. Our Asian customers are really excited about the oncoming new varieties we have," he said.