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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Why don’t we sell Boskoop trees at Lubera?

We are asked often why we don’t sell classic apple varieties as well as why we have created a whole new world of apples that entails a gigantic breeding effort. In fact many of our new varieties indeed correspond quite closely to a classic range.

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For our variety descriptions, we like to refer back to the corresponding analogies in order to quickly show where abouts a new variety is to be established, for example Paradis Werdenberg is similar to the resistant Gravenstein, with a much better shelf life (the skin has short storage properties) than the old variety, also with more compact growth ...

Our general response to the questions concerning the old varieties (garden suitability, more resistance, better taste, faster start of harvest, new requirements) is understandable, but remains too theoretical without concrete examples.

So why don’t we offer Boskoop apples in our range?

The Boskoop apple or Belle de Boskoop, as it was called, has indeed quite a lot to offer. However, not the name, which seems downright ironic today. Because the Boskoop apple is not beautiful when compared to the apples that are available today. But at that time, the mid-19th century, when the variety was discovered by accident by the pomologist Kornelis Johannes Wilhelm Ottolander in the Dutch town of Boskoop, the name probably was meant to be descriptive: a flavourful Rennet or rather Reinette (Queen), with high sugar and acid contents, with an intense aroma, with an outside much nicer than the subgroup of leather apples, which are entirely russeted and their skin that feels like sandpaper. But cross your pomologist heart: would I now select an apple with the appearance of Boskoop and then impose this variety on you? Definitely not.

Although Boskoop appears sour when first bitten into, it has a high sugar content, but also a lot of sourness when compared to most other historical apple varieties. The overall impression is this: a sour apple. This is what makes this apple valuable to this day: when stored, it does not get mealy and rotten, just tender. The solid cell walls persist; they neither break apart nor dry out. It gets slightly wrinkled on the outside, but the inside remains reasonably fresh and easy to eat. What appears to us as much too soft today was certainly a blessing for the adult population given the then average state of dental health. And my wife is still attracted to the Boskoop: it cooks very quickly and easily, and the apple slices can be made into apple sauce without using a mixer. Ultimately, however, it is probably the sourness that makes the Boskoop still scarce in the assortments at supermarkets and in professional horticulture. There are only a few apples can be cooked so well and that make good cakes like the Boskoop. Yes, that was before the (re-)invention of the Redloves®. ;-)

Well, now, according to these notes regarding texture, strength and appearance, which no longer meet all the current requirements of a garden apple, here are the six main reasons why Boskoop is not included in our range:

 1. Boskoop is a triploid variety of apple. Thus it is not useful as a pollinator, as it cannot fertilise other apple trees. Because apples are basically non-self-fertile, it is especially important in the garden surroundings to plant varieties that form fertile pollen.

2. Also, due to the triploid gene structure, Boskoop is very vigorous. Thus it tends to be affected by alternation much stronger than other slow growing varieties: it is much more difficult to bring in a balance between generative and vegetative growth than with “calmer” growing varieties, and alternately tends in one year towards the vegetative side (shoot growth) and in another year towards the generative side (fruit set).

3. Boskoop flowers very early to early and it is sensitive to early frosts. If this happens, it is immediately subject to alternation, i.e. it bears fruit only every second year.

4. The fruits are very large, too large for today's standards. This is also related to the triploid gene structure. The fluctuating yield behaviour results, in addition to the fact that the fruit is even bigger in the years with a lesser yield; the apples are more like weapons - at least we used them like this when we were kids.

5. Boskoop is prone to physiological problems. Again, due to the strong growth, Boskoop quickly tends to have a Ca deficiency and then the cell walls break prematurely. The effect is this: brown-grey spots under the skin, and later also on the inside of the fruit, so-called “bitter pit”.

6. We would like to offer apple trees that are guaranteed to have a good yield in the second year (one year after planting). If this is the case with Boskoop, you can be almost certain that you will then almost harvest nothing in the third year.

But be aware: we are looking for new varieties similar to this profile: sour to very sour, with very high sugar levels, ideal for baking and cooking, as well as a refreshing apple for less and less frequent lovers of really sour apples. The apple that fits this profile the closest is Paradis New Year, which redeems its full potential only after a longer storage period. If I had to categorise New Year with a current apple variety, then it would be Braeburn rather than Boskoop. When compared to Braeburn, New Year has the advantage of simpler and more fruitful growth, scab resistance and a better flavour (the sometimes existing, slightly bitter touch of Braeburn has disappeared).

Anyway, since last year, I have a candidate in mind, an apple selection that was noticed only in the second selection stage, in Tommi Hungerbühler’s breeding field in Egnach, near Lake Constance. A high-built apple, beautifully dark red. When picked, it is so sour that only real sour lovers will like it, but it has so much sugar in the aftertaste, that it (either a week longer hanging on the tree or after a short storage) will also be accepted wider quickly. This year we will undergo a few cooking tests with this potential successor of the Boskoop. And maybe it will eventually appear in our range, with a completely un-ironic name: Belle Du Lac, the beautiful apple from the lake.

 

 

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