There was been some correspondence a while ago about the origin of the apple Suffolk Pink, and we think it would be a good idea to have some input from the discoverer, Dan Neuteboom, and to this we are adding information about an earlier Neuteboom discovery, Winter Wonder.
These two varieties were first recognized at Dan’s Braiseworth orchards on High Suffolk clay near Eye.
In many respects the confusion over the origin that has been created by the various statements and reports about Suffolk Pink reflects many of the problems of identifying any variety’s historic or genetic origin and the sequences that lead to its discovery and subsequent propagation. It suggests we need to be careful when the originator is around to tell us the facts … and when DNA typing is available and waiting in the wings to correct us all … eventually.
Suffolk Pink: this dessert apple has an unusual pale translucent lemon-and-pink complexion somewhat reminiscent of the early summer apple White Transparent, and something of that variety’ sharp freshness, but is a keeper with a faintly Gala-like flavour, suggesting to several observers that it is a Gala sport or relative, but it may turn out to be unique. It seems to be different from Gala in several ways, notably its very downy, blue-green sepals. Its real origin is not known: what is known is as follows.
Some time in the early 1980s Dan noticed a tree in his orchard that was different from the rest of the row, which were mixed Discovery and Worcester Pearmain. The original plants had been supplied from Jack Matthews nursery at Thurston in Suffolk in the 1970s, but it is not now possible to sure whether they were propagated at Thurston, or bought in for resale to Dan. It was sometime before the fruit quality was noticed and when it was Dan went back to Jack to find out what it was; Jack didn’t know either, thought it was unique, and as he had had such success with Discovery which he acquired from its discoverer in Essex, suggested that Dan try his hand at promoting it. It had no name at this time.
In the 1980s and 1990s Dan propagated trial plantings, by grafting and budding in his own orchards, and showed the fruit to a buyer at a supermarket which took them on, promoting them under the name Suffolk Pink, a decision made by the supermarket. Who thought the name up is now lost, probably a supermarket salesman. The name is not registered and nor are Plant Breeders Rights.
Suffolk Pink was planted by Dan elsewhere in Suffolk, at Helmingstone and Stonham Aspall, on his outlying orchards, and subsequently these orchards were sold on: Hemingstone in 2000, with established plantings that the buyers benefited from, hence the spread of the variety to other suppliers and outlets, and the probable source of the various alternative histories that have arisen from these later plantings.
Winter Wonder: this was a sport of Suntan, which can produce fruit that is too large or too variable in size for sized sales. Winter Wonder is more densely spurred, produces more uniform sized and less irregular crops – and as a fan of both Suntan and Winter Wonder Paul thinks he can detect a difference in taste. Dan found the tree in his Braiseworth orchard in the late 1970s in a Suntan planting, and propagated and promoted it. The name is Dan’s registered trademark. Today it is sold by Waitrose and at farmer’s markets.
Dan’s Braiseworth orchard is now run by his daughter, Kathy Neuteboom, and her partner Jeremy Linsell.
Dan Neuteboom and Paul Read
Winter Wonder, on 19 April, just out of cold store, in perfect condition and a fine colour. Notice the very reflex downy sepals, and a slightly smoother, flatter apex/basin than Suntan (and Paul thinks it is finer texture and considerably more juicy).
Read Full Post »