Wawona will acquire Burchell’s entire stonefruit breeding program, which includes more than 60 patented stonefruit varieties and their associated genetics.
Founded in 1945, Wawona Packing Company currently farms more than 10,000 acres and is the U.S.’s largest organic tree fruit grower.
It described Burchell as one of California’s leading nurseries, servicing over 7,000 growers globally. It owns the trademarked series of peaches and nectarines, Flame and Flare, respectively.
Burchell’s breeding team will join Wawona as full-time employees, providing continuity in the testing of varieties that are currently in development.
As part of the transaction, Wawona has acquired the exclusive right to propagate the Summer Flame 26, 29, 34 and August Flame varieties, as well as the right to use Cornerstone rootstock in stonefruit in the United States.
Burchell will retain its tree nut germplasm and varieties, including its signature Shasta almond.
“We are excited about adding Burchell’s breeding team to Wawona and will work closely with them as we invest in the business to build an industry-leading breeding program,” Wawona CEO Will Feliz said.
“This acquisition enhances Wawona’s vertical integration, continues our commitment to innovation, and will enhance our ability to bring the highest quality tree fruit to our retail customers.”
Burchell president and CEO Tom Burchell said: “Our agreement with Wawona enables us to realize the value of our stone fruit portfolio while still providing our customers with the high-quality trees and stone fruit varieties they expect from us.
“Our nursery will continue to focus on creating the most vigorous, healthy trees possible and offer our diversified pipeline of tree nut varieties, including Shasta® almonds.”