How About Them Apples? Research Orchards Chart a Fruit’s Future.
29 September 2022
Scientists working in research groves, like one in Nova Scotia, are developing your favorite new apple variety.
Imagine reaching up to a tree branch and plucking an apple that’s unusually tall and narrow — a variety called Kandil Sinap, native to the Black Sea region. In an adjacent arboreal row, 11 trees to the north, you’ll find the equally exotic dark purple Black Oxford apples, resembling large plums.
Add 1,000-plus more varieties of the fruit genus Malus, which is bursting with an autumn-themed rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green and even purple, to this scene, and you’re in the Apple Biodiversity Collection in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, Canada.
The apples won’t end up in pies or the baskets of autumn leaf peepers. Instead, scientists there are working on understanding the genetics that result in this bonanza of apple diversity, with the ultimate goal of improving the fruit in different ways — tastier, hardier, more disease-resistant and with longer shelf-life in the face of changing climates.