About Us

MAIA is an organization that was founded by growers and is maintained by growers to produce apple varieties that are available to all US and Canadian growers. Work continues to incorporate disease resistance and other favorable characteristics. Hard cider selections that can be produced in today’s high density growing systems are also in the testing stage.

Overview

In the mid 1990’s, Mitch Lynd and Ed Fackler foresaw the current situation of cultivars developed elsewhere not being available to Midwestern growers. It was also noted that varieties developed elsewhere were unlikely to suit the climate and challenges faced by growers in the Midwest. They took the initiative, contacting people that might share their concern and the Midwest Apple Improvement Association was formed.

Presenting the organization at several Midwestern fruit grower’s meetings and through the fruit growing press, approximately 50 growers/breeders/enthusiasts answered the call to commit $100 per year for 15 years. In order to run the association on this shoestring, it was decided that seedlings would be grown and evaluated on member’s farms.

In the spring of 1997, participating growers made the first crosses, with the breeding parents chosen for their cropping reliability, disease resistance, and flavor/quality attributes. GoldRush, Sweet Sixteen, Scarlet O’Hara, Co-op 33 (Crimson Crisp), HoneyCrisp, Rome, Melrose, Fuji, and Golden Delicious in various combinations were represented in that first year’s parents. 5300 seedlings were grown from the first year’s breeding.

Breeding has continued each year since and well over 50,000 seedlings have been distributed to members to grow, fruit, and evaluate.

In 2007 seedlings began fruiting and the first selections were identified for propagation and further evaluation. Tastings are held at the membership’s annual winter meetings.

Advanced selections continue to be evaluated at various venues throughout the Midwest, and new crosses continue to be made. MAIA1 was the first released variety from the program, with other promising selections on the way.

Goals and Activities
  1. Champion the cause and build a viable membership organization in the Midwest and wherever apples are grown commercially.
  2. Carry out a grower driven, grower involved breeding program with the help of the Ohio State University and other research institutions.
  3. Develop and carry out a marketing program for the varieties developed including nursery stock and the apples.
Apple Breeding Objectives
  1. Reliable and productive cropping.
  2. Fruit qualities acceptable to the modern consumer: size, firmness, store-ability, flavor, unique qualities and texture.
  3. Growing characteristics desirable to the modern grower: disease resistances including fireblight and scab resistances, frost tolerance, tree structure qualities, etc.
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