Central Otago orchards are trialling new fruit varieties this
season as part of two breeding programmes to develop apricots
that are higher value, premium quality, more attractive to
the Asian palate, later cropping and better storing.
Summerfruit New Zealand (SNZ) director Earnscy Weaver, of
Alexandra, said SNZ, in partnership with Plant and Food
Research and John McLaren's private Nevis Fruit Company
programme, based in Bannockburn, had produced several new
varieties, which were being evaluated for commercial use.
Mr McLaren's varieties fruited later in the season.
Mr Weaver was optimistic the later apricots would provide
good returns, as there was less fruit in overseas markets at
''They also had an improved eating quality and brix levels.''
He said three apricot selections had been identified - Mac
12/45; StB 14/22 and StB 14/15 - and were being trialled. Two
new plums, Malone and Humdinger, were also being assessed, as
was the Mellow Yellow peach.
He said the first plantings were going in the ground now and
the first commercial-sized crops would appear in three to
There were more crosses to be evaluated at the Plant and Food
Research facility at Clyde, which he said had ''huge
He said the Asian market wanted sweeter, crunchier, less