The Story of Magnus Summer surprise

by Nik Magnus | © 2019 Woodbridge Fruit Trees |

In about 1989 my father, Bob Magnus found a huge old crab-apple tree growing near Huonville, Tasmania that he subsequently called "Huonville Crab". About 10m high, it had distinctive purplish green leaves, and was loaded with of golfball-size bright red apples that had a deep red flesh when bitten into. We assumed that it was a cross between a crab apple and a desert apple, being larger and sweeter than most crab apples, but still had some of that distinctive tart crab-apple flavour.

Magnus Summer Surprise

That winter, he took grafting wood and included it in-amongst the trees he sold, and we have distributed thousands and thousands of Huonville Crabs over the last 30 years.

In about 2002, my father had a visit from a Frenchman interested in red fleshed apples and aroused his curiosity. He saved the pulp left over from pressing Huon Crab juice (pink and tasty) and planted them out, repeating this each year. As the seedlings grew, they were grafted onto a clonal rootstock to speed up bearing.

We got the first fruit in 2007 or 2008, and there was a large amount of variation - some small and uninteresting, some with only little colour in the flesh. The one that we're called Magnus Summer Surprise is pretty special. The fruit are small to medium - about the size of a Lady in the Snow, with Purplish scarlet even-coloured skin and rich pink flesh and white around the core. It has a good sweet flavour, and the flesh is slow to oxidise. The tree is a heavy and and regular bearer. 

Now we have built-up significant numbers, its had its Australia-first release this winter (2019). We've decided to put it in the hands of PMA who have patented it - meaning its licensed and no other commercial nursery can propagate it without permission. This is the way its done today - All the new NZ varieties like Jazz and Envy are protected in this way.


No customer reviews for the moment.

Write a review

The story of Magnus Summer Surprise

The story of Magnus Summer Surprise

If nobody has any idea about cross pollination and the sexual habits of our fruit trees, just about everyone has an opinion - even people who’ve never got their hands dirty - about how to prune them. Now pruning is the process whereby we shape and train a young tree and prepare it for a life of producing fruit for us. Pruning is