Manzana Miguela del Rincón de Ademuz
Miguela apple is a variety originating in Rincón de Ademúz (Valencia). It is a conical or spherical apple, globular, of medium size. The skin is unctuous, with a yellowish-green background colour ranging from bright pink to coppery in the sunshine zone and with abundant greyish-white streaks. The flesh is white with greenish hues. It is crisp and juicy, with a refreshing acidic taste. In the 1950s, the traditional varieties (including Esperiega, Miguela, Normanda, Ricarda, Garcia and Comadre) had a certain economic importance. Nowadays, some of these cultivars are at risk of extinction for various reasons including the lack of generational change and the unfavourable climate, but above all for market reasons. In the 1970s, customers began to demand new, more commercially attractive varieties of American origin (such as Golden, Starking and Red Delicious), leading to the gradual replacement of the traditional varieties. It is said that the first tree of this traditional cultivar appeared in the town of Torrebaja, in the plot of land belonging to a farmer called Miguel Aliaga, in the last quarter of the 19th century, from which this apple variety took its name. Rincón de Ademuz, famous for its apple orchards, where it is still possible to find Miguela apple trees, is a rural area in the north-west of the province of Valencia, between Cuenca and Turuel. It has a continental climate with low rainfall but frequent winter and spring frosts, which often cause damage in the spring when the fruit trees are flowering. The cultivation of this variety is totally traditional, with vigorous, branched, and upright trees. It is a variety adapted to the soil and climatic conditions of the region and does not require any phytosanitary intervention except for the prevention of fungi and borer, which is why ecological control techniques based on copper and sulphur and the use of sexual confusion are applied. Cultivation continues to be carried out in the traditional way, from pruning and irrigation to manual harvesting, and harvesting is also carried out manually using traditional three-legged ladders. It ripens from the beginning of November to the beginning of December. It is the latest of the region’s traditional apples. Once picked, the apple continues to ripen and, in good storage conditions, can last up to 6-7 months, and it is during this period that it expresses its best organoleptic qualities. It can be used in cooking, but its traditional use is for fresh consumption. Traditionally, the Miguela apple has been used as a pollinating variety that has accompanied the more popular and widespread Esperiega variety in its cultivation. Gradually, however, to increase the space available for the Esperiega, the presence of Miguel has decreased. However, this decrease has also had a negative impact on the presence of bees during flowering and, therefore, on the pollination of the other varieties. Its cultivation is now in serious decline due to its replacement by more commercial varieties.