Montague has launched its 2021 apple campaign with the branded offering Smitten.

The leading Australian fresh produce business expects this year’s Smitten crop to come in at 780 tonnes, almost double the 468 tonnes packed in 2020.

“Following ideal growing conditions through Spring 2020, good amounts of rainfall and consistent temperatures, this season’s Smitten apples are larger, sweeter and bursting with flavour,” Montague said in media release. “In recent weeks, warm sunny days and cool nights have resulted in a beautifully coloured skin.”

The company expects ample demand for the early season variety, which first hit Australian retail shelves in 2018.

“Consumers can’t seem to get enough of our Smittenapples, with their bright red skin and dense, yellow-cream colour flesh that is crisp and juicy,” said Montague managing director and third-generation family member, Scott Montague. “Characteristically sweet-scented, it’s proved to be a brilliant eating apple with wide appeal.”

Smitten apples arrived in Coles supermarket stores across Victoria and Tasmania last week. The programme will be extended to New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia over the coming weeks, with fruit to be available until early April.

“I am really excited that the Smitten apple harvest is underway,” said Lauren Benjamin, Coles’ category manager fresh produce – apples, pears and stonefruit. “It’s one of my favourite apple varieties. Smittenis a great tasting apple. Strong floral aromatics with hints of tart behind the sweetness and an amazing crunch.

“Coles is proud to work collaboratively with the team at Montague to bring this early season apple to our customers.”