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Stargrow's Polaris performs well in a difficult year

Good feedback on new South African plum

Markets are tasting a new plum variety from South Africa, the large, red Polaris plum. Fruits Unlimited’s Jako van Lill says that the first commercial consignments of the Polaris plum was widely sent out this year and they’re pleased with the feedback they’re getting from around the world. “We’re expecting good demand for the plum next season,” he says. 

Polaris is a large mid-season (harvested over weeks 4 to 5), interspecific plum, obtaining good and consistent sizing (peaking at AA), which says a lot about the variety in a year like this with the drought.

In a year when packouts are under pressure, due to drought, sunburn and wind damage, the Polaris is putting up a good performance. “It’s the first year that we have real commercial volumes and the fruit is looking really good,” says Waldo Maree of Stargrow, developer of the cultivar. “The yield was substantial, the trees are older and we’re very pleased to see that sunburn is negligible.”

What is the appeal of Polaris amid a crowd of plum cultivars? “It ticks all the boxes from the viewpoint of a producer as well as a consumer. It offers the best eating quality among plums harvested at this period, comparing very favourably in taste with other plums of this period. Its packouts are great – one of our producers has reported packout percentages of between 80 and 85% this season.”

He continues: “As a mid-season cultivar, it doesn’t extend the harvesting window either way but it brings something new to the plum basket.”

Waldo Maree recently visited Chile where Polaris is in the semi-commercial phase. “We’re very happy with what we’re seeing in Chile. The results look very promising and the plum performs much the same as it does in South Africa. In Spain we’re also working on the commercial development of Polaris. The first commercial volumes outside of South Africa will probably be coming from Spain in around 2020.”

In the United States the plum is still under quarantine.

Growers looking at a Polaris orchard at a field day on the Mon Don Estate near Robertson

For more information:
Waldo Maree
Tel: +27 21 880 1882

Publication date: 2/20/2018
Author: Carolize Jansen
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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