This week, BelOrta made the Fred® pear available. This pear was commercially introduced on a small scale last year. However, this year, this Belgian producers organization can offer the Fred® on a larger scale. "Fred® is a Swiss pear. It's a cross between the Verdi and Harrow Sweet varieties," says Laurent De Smedt, BelOrta's Head of Top Fruit Division. "One variety gives Fred® its beautiful red blush; the other, its flavor. BelOrta has acquired the rights for the Benelux. And this pear has now been planted by BelOrta growers."
“Fred® pears tend to taste more like the Durondeau variety. So, it could eventually replace the Durondeau. That's because the Fred® isn't susceptible to fire blight. This pear is also harvested after the Conference. That's perfect for farmers. The Fred® must be cooled for at least three weeks. As a result, Fred® pears come onto the market after the other blushed pears, like QTee, have been sold out. Wouters Fruithandel has faith in this pear and will use it after the QTee. Within a few years, we want to offer the Fred® from November to April. That's once production has gotten going well."
BelOrta can market 55 tons of Fred® pears this year. “We want to have planted 100 hectares by 2025. The trees have remarkably high productivity. They give up to 30% more volume than Conference trees," continues Laurent. "The pears have had a good growing season too. We planted some of them under hail nets. Those have done very well. In this way, we can guarantee our clients a certain volume every year."
“There's a high demand for blushed and entirely red pears. Besides the Fred®, we also have a wholly red pear - the Red Angel. These will be commercially planted next year. We're not only focusing on the Benelux with the Fred®. We're sending them to Germany, Scandanavia, and other export destinations too. Fred® pears are appearing in overseas markets as well. In France, Blue Whale gained the rights to market this product. In Italy, it was the Origin Group. These are large organizations, standing behind this pear."
“Growers are enthusiastic”
BelOrta had no trouble finding growers who wanted to plant the Fred®. "Growers are very enthusiastic about this pear. It has great storage and shelf life. It has good tonnages, and the trees have borne many Class I fruits. So, the farmers see a lot of potential in Fred®. These pears are delicious too. When Fred® pears are ripe, they're juicy. But people can eat them at any time," concludes Laurent.