Bravo to ‘black’ apple

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
John Vetta is one of the WA growers excited about the apple.
Camera IconJohn Vetta is one of the WA growers excited about the apple. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

WA is about to get its first taste of an apple that is dark, delicious and destined to catch the eye of consumers around the world.

Dubbed the black apple in development, it will be unveiled today as the Bravo.

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The same Manjimup-based breeding team that produced the world-famous Pink Lady and Sundowner varieties spent more than 20 years getting the Bravo ready for market.

Local growers are predicting it could be the best of the bunch because of its distinctive colour and taste.

Bravo apples from more than 120,000 trees planted in local orchards over the past few years will be on sale in stores this month.

The small quantities are just a taste of things to come as the trees mature and more are planted.


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The Bravo comes from trees known as ANABP 01.

Royalties from each tree sold flow to the Department of Agriculture and Food WA, which holds the intellectual property rights.

Karragullen orchardist John Vetta, who is finishing his first Bravo harvest after planting about 2500 trees two years ago, said he was excited about the new apple and its appealing colour.

“It is not an easy decision to plant a new variety,” he said. “My biggest concern was, ‘Will it colour the way they say it will?’

“I’m happy with colour, it is right up to expectation and the taste is excellent.

“I’m very happy.”

Agriculture Minister Dean Nalder said the apple was being grown from the Perth Hills to Manjimup.

“It has a distinct sweetness, is crisp and crunchy, and has a striking burgundy colour like no other apple on the market in Australia,” he said.

The Bravo started life in 1992 when the DAFWA breeding team crossed the Cripps Red, which is marketed as Sundowner in most places but known as Joya in Europe, and Royal Gala varieties.

The Bravo has been refined and evaluated ever since and now industry body Fruit West Co-operative Ltd is managing the commercialisation.

Fruit West director Mark Wilkinson said about 60 hectares were planted in WA and that would increase to 100ha by the end of the year as more trees came onto the market .

Mr Wilkinson said trade mark issues around the branding were being finalised. He said the industry and the State Government had learned from the mistakes that saw WA lose control of some of the rights over the Pink Lady in the 1980s when the concept of plant patents was new to Australia.

“If it becomes an international variety like the Pink Lady we will have to licence growers in the northern hemisphere so that there is year round availability,” Mr Wilkinson said.

“We are looking at trying to get a big export market going because WA will be the main place growing it and there is interest in something new in a lot of markets.

“We are looking at India where we have good access and hopefully, in a few years time, China will be open to us.”

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