Drought postponed the first harvest by a year

First commercial Celina pear harvest from South Africa expected next month

The first commercial harvest of Celina, a new blushed pear cultivar which will be a season-opener in South Africa, is expected next month. “We are really excited about the upcoming season and the fruit on the trees looks great,” says Andries van der Westhuizen, Stargrow marketing manager. The drought interfered in the original plan to harvest the first Celina pears commercially in January 2017.

At this stage the crop estimate for the 2017/18 season is 150t. Discussions are underway with Fruithandel Wouters and the ABCz Group, owners of the trademark, to use the brand name QTee in future. The first commercial harvest will be used to introduce the pear – called a “rising star” in the bi-coloured pear category – to South African consumers.

The club variety was established in South Africa for evaluation a decade ago and its advantage is its availability to Europe when no Forelle pears are available; it’s harvested around eight weeks before Forelle. Its blush does not diminish during South Africa’s high summer temperatures.

The acreage under Celina now stands at 185ha, with a further 50ha added annually, a trend expected to continue. The most established commercial Celina orchards are situated in the Langkloof, an area that traditionally does well with blushed pears, and the 2017/18 harvest will come from this area. New plantings are, however, quite evenly spread across South Africa’s pear production areas.

Stargrow, which owns the exclusive rights to the pear in South Africa, is particularly excited about its shelf life. Andries van der Westhuizen: “Celina has a fantastic storage capability, something not common in summer pears. The ARC Infruitec tested its storage ability and recorded successful storage for five months under normal atmosphere circumstances. No wilting was detected around the necks and the internal quality was excellent.”

Currently the pear is being commercially grown in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Slovakia and South Africa. "The Northern Hemisphere crop was exceptionally well received,” he continues, noting that importers are excited about the prospect of getting Celina on the shelves for a longer period.

For more information:
Andries van der Westhuizen
Tel: +27 21 880 1882

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