'A New Beginning' & 'A Chance Variety'

TheChanceVariety-cover-THUMBPublication: The Orchardist
Date: 02/01/2011
Authors: Jackie Bedford and Deirdre Mackay

Waikato nurseryman Andy McGrath continually searches the world for apple varieties that could produce a 'super premium' product.

And now he has found one. Andy is part of a group that is launching the variety KORU®, and he's predicting its going to be a significant one for the New Zealand industry.
A former horticulture consultant with a science background, Andy is thorough in his analysis of any potential variety and also the ones that the industry has chosen to invest in during the 30 years he has been involved.
He views Gala s the breakthrough that showed what the right variety could do for the industry. It excited the consumer and boosted interest in apples, and as a result generated food returns for everyone in the supply chain. However these days all pop fruit growers around the world have access to it, and so it is difficult for the New Zealand Gala growe3rs to gain a competitive advantage and therefore sustainable returns.
Some critics the industry pinned it hopes on have prove to have inherent problems such as Browning Disorder in Braeburn; the relatively high proportion of the Pacific Rose fruit with an open calyx - making them prone to fungal infection; or other varieties with a flavour or size profile suited to only a limited number of markets. With some varieties there are business issues such as a lack of a plan or financing to develop appropriate markets.
Andy's business requires that he sport and assess new promising varieties at a very early stage in their development. He keeps tabs on emerging new varieties through a network of contacts in key growing areas and research institutions, and he visits them every two or three years. As a nurseryman he considers issues relating to every part of the supply chain - as growers should too, he says... Read more...