US apple growers will be among the first in the world to get a dazzling taste of New Zealand’s most popular new apple variety.
The USA is the first country outside of New Zealand to be licensed to grow and sell the exciting new Dazzle® apple, which was launched a year ago by Fruitcraft. Fruitcraft is a collaboration between three of New Zealand’s largest apple growers, Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax.
Fruitcraft has signed a license agreement with Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farms. Chelan Fruit is a US cooperative with 325 grower members, farming 14,000 acres in Washington State. Gebbers Farms, farming over 13,500 acres, is one of the largest family owned and managed apple and cherry businesses in Washington State.
Fruitcraft Manager Steve Potbury says Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farm have been granted the rights for production in the US and marketing rights for the fruit that they grow.
“This is the first step in the global licensing of the Dazzle® programme. It gives growers in the US the ability to grow Dazzle® and sell it around the world. Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farm have committed to planting three million trees over 12 years, and they will be marketing their fruit through their jointly owned company Chelan Fresh, one of the world’s largest apple sellers.”
“This will strengthen the positioning of Dazzle® on the global markets. More fruit will help establish the market more quickly and create a stronger following for the brand internationally.” said Mr Potbury.
President of Gebbers Farms, Cass Gebbers and CEO of Chelan Fruit Reggie Collins are both extremely excited about the opportunity that the tasty Dazzle apple will provide for their partnership and US apple growers and consumers and retail partners around the world. They anticipate the first commercial plantings to start in 2020.
“As a result of our production and marketing strength in Washington we have managed to get hold of this exciting new apple from New Zealand. Dazzle® is very well suited to the US market. It has all the qualities which appeal to US consumers. It is a big, highly coloured and very sweet apple.”
Chelan Fresh Marketing CEO, Tom Riggan stated that about 80 percent of the fruit grown in the US is sold domestically, but Washington growers are looking to export more and the Dazzle® apple offers opportunities for sales in the US and for exports.
“The climate in Washington will be perfect for growing Dazzle®. We have warm days and cool nights at the time this mid-season apple is harvested, which will create the ideal environment,” said Mr Collins.
Dazzle® branded apples are grown on trees of the variety PremA129, which has been bred in New Zealand and trialled over many years and is owned by Prevar Limited. Prevar licensed global production and marketing rights to Fruitcraft.
There are more than 100,000 PremA129 trees now planted in New Zealand with a further 250,000 trees being planted this winter.
“We are on track to produce and export one million cartons of Dazzle® by 2028, which will make Dazzle® one of the most popular apples in New Zealand” said Mr Potbury.
Pattullo’s Nurseries owner Kerry Sixtus says he has been overwhelmed by the number of Dazzle® trees being planted.
“We are way ahead of our targets for planting this apple variety. We don’t have many trees left in the nursery to sell, which shows the popularity and demand from New Zealand apple growers for Dazzle®.”
New Zealand’s apple growers and exporters, including Mr Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax are all excited to see years of investment come to fruition with the new apple variety going global.
Freshmax director Eddie Crasborn says it’s great to see the Dazzle® apple go global.
“It’s been a collaborative approach by New Zealand’s largest apple growers, to promote the apple and cement the brand within the domestic and global markets.
“We have all invested heavily in planting trees to grow Dazzle® as we believe it’s a winning apple that will be popular all over the world.”