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What does it take to introduce a new apple variety?

For the breeder:

Selectively crossing parent varieties (with pollen and flowers) to come up with tens of thousands of potential daughter crosses, with the hope that they will have the best characteristics of the parents. Trees that show promise – in flavour, marketable yield, disease resistance and quality attributes – are then selected from these over a number of years. At the same time, you have to promote that variety to potential customers, consumers and growers, before scaling up rapidly for the market to get a volume to sell. Trees take three years to produce and these are produced by grafts, so you need a lot of buds from the mother trees to produce quantity.

For the grower:

The risks are huge! For all our crops, we pay for the land, infrastructure, trees, and royalties. We incur the costs of growing, storing, packing, and transporting of the fruit. We employ the people, fight the pests and diseases, and whatever the weather throws at us, whether frost, drought, storms and hail. We hand-harvest every apple and get it to the market shelf without a mark or bruise. 

These costs mean that it takes five to six years to get our investment back (longer if you suffer a setback such as a frost or hail). With a new variety, we have to do all of the above whilst learning how to grow it (as every variety is different) and hope that the consumer will come across it, buy it, and be converted to buy it at least for the lifetime of the orchard.

Balance is key:

Too many trees planted too soon means trees or fruit have to be destroyed, or the burgeoning market gets oversupplied, killing the profitability essential to justify the significant expense of all of the above.

Not enough supply disappoints excited customers and limits the ability to service the market and justify the valuable shelf space required to market your variety, meaning you may not even be able to make a start.

To take all that risk means that you really have to believe in the variety.

Magic StarTM

Boxford Farms are delighted to announce that after successfully launching our new variety Magic StarTM with Morrisons last year, the variety is now available from Ocado. For a relatively small independent grower, this is a massive achievement, and we are incredibly proud of our orchard and sales team who have got us here.

We are confident that Magic StarTM will be the best apple you will taste (certainly better than a particular pink apple out there) with the added advantage that it is grown in Suffolk, UK. It is sweet but with a complex apple flavour, perfectly juicy, and will store really well in your fridge or fruit bowl.

We would love for you to support us and buy it online now from Ocado (it is currently on offer with 25% off), or in May in your local Morrisons. If you like it, please tell someone, or better still, give us a review (5 stars are always welcome), as these really help get the message out there.