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Cherry growers mostly interested in early, low chill varieties

Cherries are grown in different countries around the globe, but productivity is increasingly affected by climate change due to a lack of chill for high-chill requirement cultivars. "This is having a negative impact on growers, but also on the market as it results in inconsistent productivity," says Antonia Sánchez-Labbé, International Technical and R&D Manager Cherries, BLOOM FRESH. The company has been breeding varieties that are suitable for lower chill regions, which provides growers with an alternative crop to grow, but has also resulted in an expansion of cherry growing regions. "We've been able to expand cherry cultivation into Brazil, Western Australia, and Peru," Sánchez-Labbé commented. "This creates more favorable conditions for growers and retailers. Ultimately, it also benefits consumers, who continue to adore cherries and consider them a special fruit variety.

Early window
In addition to expanding into different growing regions, BLOOM FRESH also focuses on an early harvest window. "The earlier window presents lots of opportunities for better-tasting cherries and a higher quality product with excellent revenue opportunities for growers," says Alwyn van Jaarsveld, International Cherry Commercial Manager with BLOOM FRESH. "If consumers have a positive first experience, they will come back for repeat purchases." It's not the company's goal to replace older, softer, and low-yielding varieties, but to provide cherries at times when there is no product in the market.

Growers at the Open Day in Mequinenza, Spain.

Retailers at the recently held Open Day.

Open Cherry Day
To show nurseries, growers, and retailers the portfolio with different varieties, the company organized a Cherry Open Day in Spain two weeks ago. It is the second annual Open Day that was held in Spain. In addition, the company has been organizing its southern hemisphere event annually in Chile for the past seven years. In Spain, a total of 40 international attendees were present from Chile, Brazil, Spain, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Australia.

"The goal of this event was to showcase how we are ramping up our R&D efforts and the continued commercialization of our early low-chill cherry varietals," Sánchez-Labbé said. The two-day program in Spain offered attendees an unprecedented opportunity to learn more about the different varieties, including Cheery Crunch™, Cheery Chap™, Cheery Cupid™, Cheery Nebula™, Cheery Treat™, and Cheery Moon™. The first four varieties can be grown in low-chill areas such as the north of Chile, northern South Africa, and Southern California as well as other non-traditional cherry regions. Cheery Treat™ on the other hand requires more chill as hours but can still be grown in U.S. states such as Washington, Oregon, and California, as well as in British Columbia, Canada. The variety is also suitable for Spain, Greece, Italy, Tasmania, Argentina, Chile, and more. Cheery Moon™ is high chill and grows in more traditional cherry-growing regions including British Columbia.

Cheery Glow™ and Cheery Treat™ varieties.

For more information:

Antonia Sánchez-Labbé
[email protected]

Alwyn van Jaarsveld
[email protected]