Globally, there is a growing interest in differentiating the pear supply. The sector wants to segment the shelves especially, according to the fruits’ appearance, with green, bronze, bicolor or red pears. “The goal is to increase the offer, and therefore the volumes sold, while making the shelves more attractive for the consumer. Another objective is to extend the marketing period with early and later pears, and a good conservation potential,” explains Fiona Davidson of Dalival, a nursery specialized in varietal creation and the production of fruit trees.
Dalival is currently participating in the global launch of the Fred® pear, a green/yellow variety with a nice red blush. The first trees were planted in 2019 in France. The first fruits should arrive on the market in 2022, but mostly in 2023 and 2024.
A nomadic pear
The Fred® pear has a nice taste and good agronomic qualities which allow for a consumption on the go. “The pear is firm, almost crunchy and very juicy, with a good sugar content and a slight touch of acidity, which gives it freshness and originality. Tests show that these taste qualities are very popular among consumers.”
As far as production is concerned, the tree is easy to manage. “It enters production rapidly, with high and regular yields (no alternance). These qualities are rarely found together in a single pear tree,” explains Fiona. “The harvest takes place 2 weeks after the Conference. Additionally, the variety presents a tolerance to fire blight and it is not very sensitive to the diseases and pests commonly affecting pear trees.”
Fiona adds that the conservation potential is very good. “We can keep the fruits until the end of April (or even later), at negative temperatures.” She also underlines that the fruit is firm and not very sensitive to handling in warehouses or in the stores.
Fred® pears have a good 65/80 caliber.
An international collaboration
The variety was obtained by crossing the Harrow Sweet and Verdi varieties, as part of the hybridization program Agroscope in Switzerland. Dalival has been a partner of this hybridization program for several decades. The company Varicom GmbH is in charge of distributing the varieties from the Agroscope program. Dalival is a Varicom shareholder and is responsible for developing the varieties in France, the UK, and worldwide. The name of the variety is CH 201 C.O.V. and the fruits will be sold under the name Fred®.
For the Fred® pear, Dalival won the Gold and Bronze Sival of Sitevi Innovation, both in the “varietal innovation” category. “The aesthetic, taste, and agronomic qualities of Fred® CH201 are rarely found together in a single variety of pears, which makes it a very innovative variety,” explains Fiona. “Besides, knowing that it takes 20 to 30 years to launch a pear variety on the market, it is very rare to be able to compete with a pear in this type of competition. It made our candidacy very relevant. On behalf of Agroscope and Varicom, we are very proud of these trophies, which are a reward for the many years of selection and work in the test orchards.”
In France, the Fred® fruits will be marketed by Blue Whale, Fruits et Compagnie, as well as Superalp. Other marketers in Europe are Groupe Origine for Italy, BelOrta for Belgium, TobiSeeobst AG, Geiser agro.com AG, FenacoGenossenschaft, IseppoFrutta SA and Romandie-Fruits for Switzerland. The producers selling their fruits through the French marketers are based in the Loire Valley, in the southwest and southeast of France.