Univeg Katope UK Ltd. has gained exclusive marketing rights to the Nadia cherry-plum hybrid in the European Union and Turkey in a licensing deal with a group whose growers include Yakima, Wash.-based Brandt’s Fruit Trees Inc.
The fruit is expected to become available at retail in the United Kingdom in January.
Initial volumes will be coming from established orchards in Australia, where the hybrid was first bred. Brandt’s Fruit Trees plans to make it available to U.S. consumers as well, but that could take several years, said marketing director Alan Taylor.
“Since we only have a few trees, seeing first fruit last summer, it may take up to eight years for marketable volumes,” Taylor said. There is some potential for imports before domestic volume ramps up, he said.
Besides Australia, Univeg has test plots with growers in various parts of Europe and the United Kingdom.
“We have had numerous discussions internally and with our customers — is it a giant cherry or is it a small plum?” Richard Isaacs, department manager at Spalding, UK-based Univeg, said in a news release.
The company hasn’t answered that question, but does plan to emphasize flavor in its marketing.
“Some other cherry-plum hybrids we’ve seen in the past have had very pale flesh and no cherry flavor at all, but Nadia definitely delivers on appearance and taste,” Isaacs said in the release.
The company hopes Nadia will become a precursor to other cherry-plum hybrids that could be grown in both hemispheres, Isaacs said in the release.