Braeburn is one of the most important commercial apple varieties. It originated in New Zealand in the 1950s, and by the last decades of the 20th century had been planted in all the major warm apple-growing regions of the world. Braeburn accounts for 40% of the entire apple production of New Zealand. Even in conservative Washington state, the most important apple-producing area of the USA, where Red Delicious and Golden Delicious have always held sway, Braeburn is now in the top 5 varieties produced.
The reasons for this success are not difficult to pinpoint. Braeburn has all the necessary criteria for large-scale production: it is fairly easy to grow, produces heavily and early in the life of the tree, it stores well, and withstands the handling demands of international supply chains. What marks it out from the competition is flavour. Braeburn was the first modern apple variety in large-scale production where the flavour was genuinely on a par with the older classic apple varieties. Braeburn’s depth of flavour makes its main competition – Red Delicious and Golden Delicious – seem one-dimensional in comparison. At a time when consumers were starting to look for something less bland in their weekly shopping, Braeburn was the right apple at the right time.