Move over McIntosh. SweeTango apples are taking up more space at retailer counters for its complex taste of citrus, honey and spice. The new tag line is “free the crunch.” SweeTango is unique in that the eating experience comes with a crisp bite through a thin skin that is unlike any other apple on the market.
Harvest has begun in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley where they are grown for premium retail prices of $2.99 per pound. Select chains in Atlantic Canada through to Ontario will be carrying SweeTango in varying tray sizes and bags including two-pound pouches. Depending on volumes, the crop lasts until December.
“Fruit size is down a little due to drought, but the colour will be exceptional,” explains David Parrish, CEO, Scotian Gold Cooperative Ltd., Coldbrook, Nova Scotia. “We’re not sure why SweeTango is colouring so well when other varieties are green as grass. Brix levels will be higher than last year. We start picking at about 14 brix.”
The premier apple requires a lot of orchard stewardship. The variety has a tendency to get rust in the early spring and it doesn’t grow as big as Honeycrisp, so it’s important to finetune the crop load. Once picked, it stores well.
About 30 Nova Scotia growers have the rights to grow SweeTango and plan more plantings in 2018.
“The apple industry is riding a wave of optimism right now,” says Parrish.