Bravo apple harvest commences

Pome fruit April 26, 2019

Hailed as a WA success story, the dark burgundy apples with crisp juicy flesh retail for between $7 and $10 a kilogram, or about $2 each, depending on the outlet.

WA Farm Direct managing director Jenny Mercer said about 37,000 cartons, or up to 1200 tonnes, would be sold this year, double last year’s sales, as more trees started to mature and bear fruit.

Twenty-six WA apple orchards from the Perth Hills, Manjimup and Donnybrook will produce the Bravo apples for local, interstate and export markets over coming months. There are another 44 growers in the Eastern States.

The Bravo, which delivers higher returns for growers, is a shining light for the industry, which is grappling with poor returns for mainstream varieties.

Ms Mercer said Bravo production was expected to double again next year, helping meet massive demand.

“We export to Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong and there’s a long queue of other markets wanting the fruit, so there’s plenty of room to grow supply,” she said. “Premium retailers internationally are our major customers.”

The Bravo apple was bred by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development over two decades, and all royalties are kept within Australia.

The same DPIRD breeding program was also responsible for the Pink Lady and Sundowner and it continues working on new varieties suitable for WA conditions.

Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the Bravo was applauded around Australia and internationally, including endorsement from influential food bloggers and chefs.

“Bravo apples are truly some of WA’s finest produce,” she said.

Karagullen grower John Vetta, of La Valle Orchards, planted a hectare of Bravo five years ago. His 2019 harvest started this week.

Mr Vetta, who also grows stonefruit and avocados, said his Bravo orchard replaced Pink Lady trees.

He plans to plant more Bravo trees in the near future.

Bravo apples must meet strict quality specifications to be marketed under that name.

Imperfect or small fruit has created a value-add industry through Bravo dried apple chips and juicing.

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