Two MAIA Releases Available for Growers, Hobbyists
Following on the heels of ‘EverCrisp,’ the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) has released two new varieties – ‘Bakers Delight’ and ‘Crunch-A-Bunch.’ Both are being distributed exclusively through Gurney’s Seed & Nursery Co. for the home grower and through Early Morning and Wafler Nurseries for the commercial tree side.
Both ‘Bakers Delight’ and ‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ are marketed for the backyard apple grower, and also for pick-your-own orchards. While MAIA looked for new releases, flavor was the biggest focus. And both varieties offered great flavor but also disease resistance and productivity, which the group decided helped solidify the interest in releasing.
The Milkshake Apple
When you talk to Felix Cooper about the flavors of ‘Bakers Delight’, a MAIA member and Vice President of Horticulture for Gardens Alive, he talks about strawberry or cherry milkshakes. It’s not necessarily something expected from an apple. But that’s precisely what intrigued Cooper and MAIA about this apple.
Cooper says it’s a non-browning apple, but the flavor is what makes ‘Bakers Delight,’ a ‘GoldRush’ by ‘Sweet 16,’ cross, an apple to pay attention to.
“There’s a richness, some unique things that are pleasing, but different,” Cooper says. “The flavor profile is different than apples.”
Cooper says the fruit has a good amount of acidity, not too high. But part of the reason this apple got its name was its appeal for baking.
Cooper calls it “a secret ingredient in recipes.”
The tree itself is easy to grow as far as pest resistance. However, ‘Bakers Delight’ does like to set a large, consistent crop. The overcropping can harm those milkshake flavor overtones in the apples.
‘Bakers Delight’ picks in early-to-mid-September. And the apple can hang on the tree for a long time and still maintain a high level of eating quality, which MAIA members say is another unusual trait.
An Early ‘GoldRush’ Type
‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ is from open pollinated ‘Honeycrisp’ block at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, OH. What makes ‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ so interesting is the flavor and texture — with notes of pineapple and tropical fruits.
“The texture is so light, you can eat more than one,” Cooper says.
‘Crunch-A-Bunch,’ Cooper says, has an “effervescence, a real sensory experience” when eating, which he likens to an early ‘Gold Rush.’
Overcropping, though, can cause ‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ to be a biennial bearer, but if the tree is overcropped or fruit hangs on the tree for an extended period of time, the fruit still maintains its calling-card taste. Cooper says ‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ is easy to grow and the feedback from MAIA members is ‘Crunch-A-Bunch’ stores well, similar to ‘GoldRush.’
The tree has an open tree form and has shown to have scab resistance.