Extreme® stonefruit for category leader Freshmax

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Freshmax has time and again demonstrated that it will innovate to maintain leadership in a category.

Freshmax has time and again demonstrated that it will innovate to maintain leadership in a category. The Australian stonefruit category is no exception it would seem, with the business recently signing an exclusive rights deal with Provedo, a leading Spanish agricultural business, for their complete stonefruit breeding program, packed full of new varietals and interspecifics.

Freshmax has entered into a formal agreement with Provedo to import, test and commercialise the Provedo varieties in Australia. This process has included the engagement of Little Tree Company (Andrew and Claire Routley) in Katunga, Victoria as the nursery partner for the program. “We think that consumers both domestically and in export markets will appreciate the flavour profile of the varieties developed by Provedo,” says Andrew Maughan, IP Management & Commercialisation – Freshmax, “We are delighted to be working with Andrew and Claire at Little Tree Company to make this all possible.”

As the Nursery Partner, Little Tree Company will also assist in the evaluation process of the different potential varieties. “The varieties will be tested extensively in the key growing regions in Australia” says Andrew Routley. Freshmax envisage the chosen varieties will also be extensively tested and planted on their 130 hectare orchard property in Swan Hill.

Hybridisation to the Extreme®

Provedo is a global leader in horticulture plants production, producing over 4 million grape vines, olive and fruit trees annually. The company was founded in Logroño, Spain in 1926 by Pedro Provedo de Miguel. Since then, its management has passed through two further generations of the Provedo family and is today lead by Javier and Ignacio, both agricultural engineers.

The company has an extensive breeding and R&D program based in Don Benito in the Extremadura region of Spain, where it has built a customised laboratory for producing plants germinated in vitro in order to increase production and the possibility of new fruit varieties faster.

In the mid-nineties, a team of researchers and specialists in genetic improvement from Provedo set the goal of achieving the best flavour that stonefruit could offer by developing a programme of controlled hybridization. “In the past, value was given to the fruit being aesthetically attractive but diverse market studies tell us that this trend has changed and now flavour is the most important” says Javier Provedo. This programme is aimed at finding new varieties of peach, nectarine, flat peach, Japanese plum and apricot along with creating exciting interspecifics. Provedo’s varieties are extensively grown in Spain & across the EU with their material also being tested in the USA, South Africa, South America and now Australia.

“We have an extensive and detailed database of information on each of our varieties that will greatly help us to select the most suitable varieties and timeslots for the Australian market,” says Javier, “For many years now, our nurseries have been developing a programme of controlled hybridisations to improve its products and obtain varieties which adapt best to a wider variety of market demands.”

The greatest achievement to date of the Provedo hybridisation program has been a crunchy, very firm, sweet, juicy fleshed peach, nectarine, and flat peach; all with a long post-harvest life. The fruits mature slowly, which means they can be consumed with a pleasant texture over a long period of time. Their flesh is resistant to oxidation and therefore very appropriate for the pre-prepared range. These varieties are patented and marketed under the common denominator EXTREME®.

“We have been looking at their [Provedo] varieties for several years and see great potential in the material for our market and the important Asian export market,” says Andrew Maughan, “The Extreme® branded varieties offer a new and exciting flavour profile that our market is yet to experience.”

The principle characteristics of the Extreme® varieties are:

  • Excellent taste and low acidity
  • Firm, crunchy and juicy flesh with long life in the tree and after harvest
  • Excellent qualities for fresh cuts with its flesh oxidity resistance

“This is a fruit concept designed to satisfy the most demanding of palates” says Javier Provedo “they are aromatic and very juicy, but also crunchy and sweet”. They are also aimed at the global stage, as their long post-harvest life means they can travel long distances whilst maintaining their taste and textural features.

“This is an exciting time for the Stonefruit industry in Australia with the recent opening of the Chinese market. It will be imperative that Australian growers produce varieties with the desired attributes and flavour profile for the China Market. The Provedo program looks to offer some exciting material that we believe will be greatly appreciated by Asian consumers” says Patricia Bowlby, Export manager – Freshmax Australia.

Freshmax – experts in Intellectual property

We are by now familiar with Freshmax’s considerable role and expertise in Intellectual Property (IP), driven by their dedicated IP business Innovar®. They have long been involved in various IP projects in Australian stonefruit, including the SunWorld Series. They are also leading the way with seedless mandarin varieties in the Australian and New Zealand markets. They are working with dozens of growers to launch the highly anticipated Piqa® Boo® Pear. And on shelf right now is Australia’s Finest Italian – the Modi® Apple: marketed exclusively by Freshmax. They are busy with intellectual property; that much is very clear.

“Freshmax is highly selective with what it includes in its IP program” advises Maughan, “for us, new stonefruit varieties must have great and distinguishable attributes for both the consumer and the grower”.

“Stonefruit is an important core category for Freshmax and we believe that investment into the Provedo program will prove to be a significant cornerstone in our long term strategy for the category” says Dan Reeves, Australia CEO – Freshmax.