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|Photos courtesy Sandy Emmond, PICO|
Aurora Golden Gala™ apple is a mid-season, yellow dessert apple with exceptional texture and keeping quality. The name was chosen in a nationwide internet-based "Name The Apple" contest sponsored by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The fruit flesh is extremely crisp and juicy, firm and sweet. The flavour is light, fresh, and pleasant, with honey and tropical notes. The shelf life of fruit after storage is excellent.
The tree is called '8S6923'. It is highly precocious and productive. The growth habit of '8S6923' is spreading with ample spur development and moderate vigor. It is not subject to alternate bearing or pre-harvest drop. '8S6923' resulted from a cross between 'Splendour' and 'Gala' made at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC), Summerland, BC.
'8S6923' sets annual heavy crops and must be thinned properly for satisfactory fruit size and taste. If trees are over cropped, the fruit are hard to pick and therefore more likely to be finger-bruised at harvest. Trees are very precocious and will set fruit in the nursery if allowed to do so. On older trees, spur renewal pruning is recommended. Occasionally, adjacent fruitlets will fuse together. These can be seen at thinning time and should be removed. '8S6923' (Aurora Golden Gala™) is not recommended for areas that cannot attain adequate fruit size on 'Gala', nor for areas where 'Gala' or 'Golden Delicious' suffer winter injury.
Some stem end russet may occur on fruit from the first crop or fruit on one-year-old wood. Older trees have had clean fruit. The response in humid regions or those with cold, wet springs has not been established.
The fruit can be harvested in one or two picks if thinned properly. Research to determine the best harvest index is in progress. When harvested at starch 4 to 6 on the Blanpied and Silsby (1992) generic starch chart, the fruit has been stored successfully for up to 7 months in air. No controlled-atmosphere storage research has been done. If picked fully to overmature (iodine staining completely absent), the fruit may develop stem end splits on the tree or in storage, and the skin may become greasy. Small spots of superficial scald may appear on some apples if they are highly exposed to the cooling coils in air storage. This can be prevented by covering the fruit with a box of a non-susceptible variety such as 'Gala'; preliminary observations at PARC show that covering the boxes of fruit with tarpaulins will also prevent the disorder. Fruit that receive no calcium sprays during the growing season may develop internal browning in long term air storage (8 months or longer), similar to 'Fuji'. The incidence is higher on very large fruits.
'8S6923' is protected under Canadian Plant Breeders' Rights legislation (PBR Certificate # 1652), and is being protected in the European Community and the United States. Commercialization rights have been granted to the okanagan Plant Improvement Company (PICO, Box 6000, Summerland, BC, Canada, V0H 1Z0). Information on the availability of trees or propagation wood, and inquiries regarding nursery licensing or acquisition of trees outside of Canada should be addressed to PICO. Trademark protection is being sought for the name AURORA GOLDEN GALA.
Fig. 1. Intensity of selected attributes (each rated on a 0 to 9 scale) of Aurora Golden Gala™ fruit relative to commercial cultivars. Twelve trained judges drawn from a larger pool rated the fruit in each panel. The values are weighted means. The number of panels and years that the cultivar was tested appears in parentheses. Abbreviations: R.Gala = 'Royal Gala', Golden Del. = 'Golden Delicious'.
Information provided by:
Cheryl R. Hampson, Ph.D. Research Scientist
Apple Breeding and Pomology
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada