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Aussie Legend John Cripps, Who Created The Pink Lady Apple, Has Died Aged 95

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Aussie Legend John Cripps, Who Created The Pink Lady Apple, Has Died Aged 95

John Cripps, the Aussie farmer responsible for the iconic Pink Lady apple, has died aged 95.

Cripps passed away in Western Australia on Tuesday (May 10), more than 30 years after his legendary apple formula was shared with the world.

His daughter Helen shared the news of his death on ABC radio, revealing just how long it took to get the Pink Lady to what it is now.

"It took 25 years of research to develop the apple genetics of the Pink Lady to the point it’s at today," Helen said.

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The Pink Lady. Credit:  Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo
The Pink Lady. Credit: Brent Hofacker / Alamy Stock Photo

"We are so proud that he’s left a legacy. He tasted so many apples he used to get stomach complaints, because he used to have to do the tastings."

The Pink Lady came to life in 1984, when farmer John Cripps finally got the balance of flavour and colour just right.

But it took decades of trial and error to get there.

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"It’s not just about crossing and getting a single apple, it’s about having to take the seeds, create seedlings and get the trees to grow to a certain size," Helen said.

"He was looking for a particular taste - he was looking for the red colour, the sweetness, the crispness… and that they had good storage so they could survive in a cold store for a long time."

Even though it was created in 1984, the Pink Lady first hit the shelves in 1991 and has since been listed as one of the top 100 greatest inventions to come out of Australia.

Helen explained how her father's love for horticulture began back in England during World War II, when he would plant things in the back garden.

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Helen also revealed that she was one of the first reviewers of what would one day become the Pink Lady.

"As children growing up we had a second fridge, and dad used to bring home the apples that he thought were potential for a new apple breed," she said.

“My sister and I were given strict instructions to eat them but spit out the pips so he could take them and reseed them."

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In 2010, John Cripps was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia.

Five years later, Cripps was made an Officer of the order of Australia for his 'distinguished service to primary industry through internationally renowned, innovative contributions to the agriculture and food sectors, and to the community', the ABC reported at the time.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/Apples & People. Hazel Plater / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: Australia, News

Rachel Lang
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