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|Photos courtesy Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada|
'SPA440' (NICOLA™) is a large bicolored apple that stores well. It flowers very late in the apple bloom season, and is picked in middle to late October in Summerland, slightly before Fuji. The fruit has sweet, crisp, juicy cream-colored flesh. It has a yellow ground colour and red blush over colour covering about 85% of the fruit skin. 'SPA440' has better storage quality and shelf life than most other bicoloured apples in the Summerland collection. It retains good texture and juiciness for at least 5 months in air storage at 1°C, and has excellent shelf life.
The tree is productive and regular bearing, with flat branch angles and spreading growth habit. It is not subject to pre-harvest drop.
Trademark protection is being sought for the name NICOLA™ . The district around Summerland, BC was once known as N'kwala's Prairie, in honor of Chief N'kwala who held the property. N'kwala's name was frequently anglicized as 'Nicola'.
'SPA440' resulted from a cross between 'Splendour' and 'Gala' at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC), Summerland, British Columbia, Canada in 1981. It was tested as SPA-440.
|Photo courtesy Sandy Emmond, PICO|
Some stem end russet is characteristic but it does not normally break over the shoulders of the fruit. The exception is first year fruit, which may be very unattractive. Stem end russet is worse in years when the growing season has frequent rains, as in 2004.The fruit requires two picks, the second about 5 days after the first. Fruit is ready to harvest when the ground color breaks from green to yellow and flavor development begins. In our hands the starch index at this stage is 3 to 4 on the Cornell generic chart (Blanpied and Silsby, 1992). The first harvest date of 'SPA440' is 7 to 10 days before 'Fuji' at Summerland. The fruit needs 4 to 6 weeks of storage for proper flavor development, and it can be stored successfully for up to 6 months in air at 1ºC without losing good texture. After about 5 months, the texture remains good, but a "flat" flavor results due to loss of acidity. No controlled-atmosphere storage or MCP data are available, but we anticipate that such treatments would be successful.
No significant post-harvest disorders or problems have been encountered to date. The fruit is not subject to superficial scald, bitter pit, or off-flavor development in storage. The stems are long but flexible, and stem punctures have not been a problem.
Figure 1. Intensity of selected attributes (each rated on a 0 (low) to 9 (high) scale) of 'SPA440' fruit relative to Fuji and Gala.
Information provided by:
Cheryl R. Hampson, Ph.D. Research Scientist
Apple Breeding and Pomology
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada