Rubens is a new dessert apple, which is now being promoted to supermarkets in Europe. Like many modern apple varieties it is trademarked, and the supply of apples is carefully controlled using selected orchards. This highly commercial approach is necessary to break into the competitive market for supermarket apples, and whilst it is a far cry from the quiet appeal of heritage varieties, it is not necessarily a bad thing because consumers can be assured of a consistent quality.
Environmental factors are an increasing concern for all horticultural production and it is interesting to see that Rubens trees are being planted by growers throughout the main European markets, so that the "food miles" distance from orchard to consumer is minimised. 140,000 trees have been planted in Kent,UK, with other plantings in Germany, South Tyrol, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.
We will be reporting our findings on the taste and appearance of Rubens shortly. The parentage of Gala and Elstar is a strong one so we are hopeful this should be a high-quality apple. In the meantime we are grateful to Herbert Knuppen of www.rubens-apple.com for the following marketing information about Rubens.
Rubens®civni is a cross between Elstar and Gala created in Ferrara, Italy in 1988, selected by CIV and registered under the brand Rubens®. C.I.V. Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti is the breeder and owner of Rubens® trademark, which identifies the trees and the fruits. The Fruit Rubens civni® is a bicolour variety and harvesting in the UK is approximately 10-15 days after Gala. Furthermore the Rubens apple farms have been specially selected for their ‘green’ credentials. All Rubens growers adhere closely to the UK’s highest standards on minimum usage of pesticides and follow the best possible environmental practices. This means that not only do the farms refrain from using harmful chemicals, but they also restore hedges and plant new woodland - rightly winning awards for their care and enhancement of the environment.