Chile: Positive trial results for South African-bred blush pear

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Chile: Positive trial results for South African-bred blush pear

The South-African-bred Cape Rose pear variety, marketed under the Cheeky brand, has garnered initial positive results from a trial in Chile. 

The bi-colored and early harvesting variety was bred by the South African Agriculture Research Council (ARS). It is the result of a cross of undisclosed varieties that were themselves crosses and selected for specific taste and color attributes.

Under a trial in Chile, the cultivar has performed well in terms of productivity, firmness and sweetness, according to Andes New Varieties Administration (ANA) Chile.

ANA Chile head of pome fruit and stonefruit, Lorena Pinto, told Fresh Fruit Portal the evaluation had been carried out on 80 trees belonging to Agricola Vial in the central O'Higgins region.

Pinto said that in addition to the area designated solely for trials, Agricola Vial also planted two hectares of commercial production of the Cape Rose variety last year.

"We have seen that the postharvest behavior of the variety has been good after 60 and 90 days, and that while was still time remaining to be harvested, it already had a weight of around 200 grams, a good novel of soluble solids, around 13 grades of Brix of 17.6 pounds of pressure," Pinto said.

"We have seen on the farm that the fruit has a beautiful color, and a big advantage is that it is an early variety that was harvested before the Flamingo and Forelle varieties, which are the other alternative for early bicolor pears."

Last year, however, a representative of leading South Africa-based agriculture research company ExperiCo said Cheeky-branded pears had slotted into a marketing window after Flamingo

Pinto went on to say the observations were made during a field day and that the variety could increase in size and develop an even deeper color before the commercial harvest.

"This is a South African variety and its owners recommend harvesting with a firmness of between 15.4 and 16.5 pounds, but here we are going to use a much wider range to establish when is the best time to harvest in Chile, which is why we have been taking weekly samples since last week," she said.

The variety's productivity in Chile will also be measured against levels from South Africa, where the variety yielded between 40-50 metric tons (MT) per hectare. 

Pinto added that licensing issues were still being discussed with the variety's owners.


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