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WA apple growers bring in new tests to ensure fruit is harvested at exactly the right moment

Goodbve to floury apples: Growers bring in new tests to ensure every fruit is harvested at exactly the right moment to be crisp for customers

  • The days of biting into tasteless, floury apples on store shelves are numbered
  • New maturity standards introduced in WA to test apples before they’re harvest
  • Pomwest initiative aims rebuild consumer confidence and increase demand

The days of biting into a tasteless, floury apple are numbered, thanks to a new test hailed as a game changer for fruit production.

Pomewest, Western Australia’s industry body for apples and pear production, has launched a new set of minimum maturity standards to test the fruit before harvest to ensure only the highest quality produce hits the shelves. 

The quality program is an Agricultural Produce Commission state initiative aimed at rebuilding consumer confidence and increasing demand for WA apples.

A new test has been introduced in WA to ensure apples are harvested at the right time (stock)

A 2017 survey by independent consumer group Choice found that consumers ranked apples as the worst fruit or vegetable for flavour, quality and freshness.

Growers are now required to test apples for firmness, starch and sugar levels prior to harvest to ensure they’re picked at the right time.

‘We aim to promote consumer confidence and increase demand for WA apples,’ Pomewest executive manager Nardia Stacy said.

‘With the ability to bring the whole industry together we are dedicated to provide excellence in eating quality.’  

WA apple growers now test their produce for firmness, starch and sugar levels prior to harvest

WA apple growers now test their produce for firmness, starch and sugar levels prior to harvest

The quality testing program coincided with the launch of the 2019 apple season this month.

‘This year growers will be making sure that their apples will be hitting retail in peak eating condition,’ Ms Stacy told Daily Mail Australia.

‘New season apples are making their way to market now starting with the Gala varieties. Other traditional favourites Granny Smith and Pink Lady will follow soon.’ 

WA Department of Agriculture and Food's Steele Jacob (pictured) recently took part in a quality testing workshop 

WA Department of Agriculture and Food’s Steele Jacob (pictured) recently took part in a quality testing workshop 

The industry is also running testing workshops, pre-harvest testing services, and compliance checking testing programs for produce growers.

‘Research tells us that if a consumer has a bad experience with a piece of fruit it’s generally six weeks before they go back and try another one,’ Pomewest chairman and apple grower Harvey Giblett told the ABC. 

‘It’s easy to get blasé about maturity testing and just think “it looks OK, it should be alright” but we have to better on that.’ 

Iodine is used to test starch and sugar levels in apples to ensure only highest quality hits store shelves

Iodine is used to test starch and sugar levels in apples to ensure only highest quality hits store shelves

Retailers and consumers can also do their part in storing the apples correctly by refrigerating them for freshness. 

The maturity data will be used for proposed legislated maturity standards already used in the Australian grape and citrus industries with great results.

‘It has strengthened consumer trust,’ Citrus Australia’s quality and market information officer Mara Milner told the ABC.

The aim of the initiative to rebuild consumer confidence and increase demand for WA apples

The aim of the initiative to rebuild consumer confidence and increase demand for WA apples

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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