IT HAS taken 15 years, but Des Muir is starting to see some results from his efforts to introduce two new varieties of apple to Australia.
Mr Muir was actually trying develop a black apple when he discovered a new green apple and a bicolour red apple in a plant breeding program in Belgium in the 1990s.
Marketed as greenstar, the green apple is a cross of granny smith and delbarestival, and unique for its thin skin, crunch, juicy white flesh and sweetness that was 30 per cent higher than a granny smith. "The main feature is it never discolours (once cut)," Mr Muir said.
"It does not oxidise at all due to the high Vitamin C content which is uniform throughout the flesh of the apple."
Mr Muir said this made greenstar perfect for use in the food service industry, juicing and salads, as well as children's lunch boxes. A cross of gala over braeburn, kanzi is an unusual red-orange colour, with a sweet and sour flavour.
A former marketing manager for pink lady, Mr Muir said the kanzi, which has been available in stores in Europe for six years, was second in popularity only to pink lady and he expected it to repeat that feat in Australia.
"There are lots of red apples out there, but this one seems to stand out," he said.
"The kanzi will sell itself, while the greenstar, we have to promote a bit because it looks like a granny."
The first commercial plantings of the new varieties, which are subject to licensing agreements, went into the ground in Australia in 2006. There are now about 20 commercial growers across Australia - two in Victoria - with about 70,000 kanzi trees and 30,000 greenstar trees over 45ha.
Production and grower numbers will be limited to ensure growers a reasonable return.
Mark Paganoni, a third-generation Mooroduc apple grower, said he had chosen to plant the two new varieties four years ago because he wanted apples that were grower-friendly, with good production and tonnages. Mr Paganoni said greenstar, at full production, would yield up to 80 tonnes/ha.
Mr Paganoni, who has 10 varieties of apple in his orchard, said all new plantings - to replace old trees that were past their peak - would be in either kanzi or greenstar.