- Fruits: apples, general tree fruits
- Crop Production: food product quality/safety
- Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
- Farm Business Management: marketing management, market study, value added
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
New apple selections from the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) were evaluated for field performance and consumer preference during 2015/2016. Consumer tastings were conducted at 8 distinct on-farm and farmer’s markets (some locations used repeatedly) in Indiana and Ohio with more than 2500 consumers involved. By iterative process of determining consumer preference of the top selection for each weekend during the harvest season, eight selections were recommended for MAIA variety release. The MAIA is moving forward with releasing these selections. These new releases will provide on-farm and farm marketers unique consumer-preferred varieties unavailable in grocery stores.
This two year project was designed to evaluate a series of new excellent quality and disease resistant apple varieties for Midwestern US growers and consumers. We evaluated Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) 2nd test and elite selections for field performance and consumer preference. Our field observations of second test and elite trees over two growing seasons, and our consumer taste testing trials at various venues during two harvest seasons contributed to recommendations of MAIA releases focused on consumer-preferred apple selections for on-farm and farmer’s markets over the course of a harvest season.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
The objective of this project was to objectively identify candidate apple selections for commercial introduction from an array of advanced experimental material under test at multiple grower orchards in Indiana and Ohio. It is crucial for long-term viability and profitability of Midwest orchards to maintain a pipeline of new regionally-adapted unique varieties with outstanding growing characteristics and consumer qualities. A first step in this process was the introduction of “Evercrisp” in 2014, which promises to be the most widely planted Midwestern apple since “Honeycrisp”. With dozens of advanced selections available through the MAIA program, it will be critical to continue to introduce only the best to assure consumer demand.