WENATCHEE -- Trained and untrained fruit evaluators at Washington State University's Department of Food Science and Nutrition rated the "WA 2" as No. 1 in eating experience over nine other WSU experimental apple varieties and the well-known Fuji apple, said Bruce Barritt, WSU fruit tree breeder.
All of the fruit, from the 2007 crop, had been stored for four months before being evaluated in early 2008.
More than 170 volunteer tasters at the December 2006 and 2007 Washington State Horticultural Association meetings rated the WA 2 highest in overall eating quality compared with other selections from the breeding program, he said.
In a column in the November issue of Good Fruit Grower magazine, Barritt and WSU tree breeder Kate Evans described the WA 2 as being well balanced in its sugar-acid ratio, being sweet-tart and falling between the low-acidity Gala and Fuji and high-acidity Braeburn and Cripps Pink.
They wrote that the WA 2 has an attractive orange-red to pinkish-red blush coloring without stripes on 70 to 90 percent of the skin over a yellow background.
The apple has "large and conspicuous lenticels (skin pores)," is round and medium to large, usually larger than Gala, comparable to Braeburn and smaller than Fuji, they wrote.
The WA 2 originates from seed Barritt collected in 1994, the first year of the WSU apple breeding program. The female parent is Splendour. The male parent is not known, but is probably Gala, Barritt said.
The WA 2 produces high yields, has intermediate growth habits and vigor, being neither a spur type like Delicious, nor a tip bearer like Granny Smith, Barritt said. Although not resistant to powdery mildew and fireblight, it shows only moderate susceptibility, he said.
-- Dan Wheat