TORONTO — There’s a prince of a local apple now appearing in Toronto supermarkets beside more familiar varieties and imports.
Though red prince was harvested last fall in Ontario, it’s too tangy to eat right away, said Marius Botden, a co-owner of Clarksburg-based Global Fruit, two hours north of Toronto.
He and his wife Irma brought the rootstock and the right to grow the crisp, juicy apple in Ontario when they left Holland for Canada in 2001.
“You have to get the balance between sweet and tangy,” said Botden, who studied horticulture in Holland. “The brix level won’t change, but if the acid is high it needs at least four months of storage to go down.”
The current crop, estimated at more than 100,000 cartons, began arriving in Toronto stores at the end of December, Botden said. Since purchasing Binkley Apples last summer, the couple now controls production from growing to shipping.
“The crop is excellent, really nice and clean,” he said. “Quality and taste are good, and with our cool nights it’s easy to get a deep red color.”
Red prince stores well for up to 14 months, Botden said, but with its growing popularity in Ontario and impressive sales in the U.S., it won’t last that long.
The couple also grows other varieties, including Ambrosia, gala and Honeycrisp.
While red prince has been gaining momentum for several years in Ontario, the creston apple, a homegrown variety developed in British Columbia, made its supermarket debut in Loblaws in December.
Grower Tom Chudleigh grew 2,000 bushels of the pale striped apple with yellow flesh on his Otterville farm about two hours southwest of Toronto.
“The creston grew better than we ever expected,” Chudleigh said in a news release. “It’s a terrific apple, with plenty of crunch like a Honeycrisp and delicious sweet juice. It’s also truly Canadian.”
He said the creston has appeared at farmers markets for a number of years, primarily in British Columbia and Nova Scotia.