BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – International Fruit Genetics LLC (IFG), the world’s largest table grape breeder, which boasts over 48 patented table grape varieties and ten patented sweet cherry varieties, announced that its international cherry team hosted its first-ever European IFG Field Days in Zaragoza, Spain on May 16, 2023. Over 50 cherry growers and retailers across four continents attended the event, where IFG provided high-quality samples from eight of its Cheery Cherries™ varietals for tastings and viewings. Despite the earliness of the cherry season and a challenging Spanish winter, the fruit was optimal. It retained a high-quality flavor and texture, reinforcing the success of IFG’s low-chill cherry program.
IFG’s low-chill cherry efforts allow growers to harvest cherries with fewer “chill hours” during the winter, resulting in the fruit ripening more quickly. The Cheery Cherries™program also produces cherries that are more uniform in quality – offering hardy varietals that are less susceptible to damage from either hot temperatures or excessive rains while staying fresh during potentially long shipping and storage durations.
Licensees were treated to look, taste and touch several Cheery Cherries™ varietals, including Cheery Treat™, Cheery Moon™, Cheery Cupid™, Cheery Crunch™, Cheery Chap™, and Cheery Burst™. IFG’s International Technical Manager of Cherries Antonia Sanchez-Labbe shared insights on the varietals with attendees, along with the variety management guidelines.
“Our cherry program in Spain is still very young, but is gaining incredible traction. Our low chill program ensures that our cherries are large, crunchy, and tasty for retailers and consumers – and fill that early season gap allowing consumers to enjoy a much longer cherry season,” said Alwyn van Jaarsveld, IFG’s International Commercial Manager for Cherries. “We have already had some retailers who attended the event begin mobilizing to obtain fruit for the marketplace.”
“The Cheery Cherries™ program is growing nicely in Spain, and as such, we received very positive feedback from attendees that our program is one of the best in the world,” said Antonia Sanchez-Labbe, IFG’s International Technical Manager of Cherries. “Our growers and retailers were impressed with the quality of the fruit and the exceptional uniformity on the trees. The positive comments we received on the Cheery Treat™ cherry variety specifically reinforced its perfect fit into the current commercial variety space. Ultimately, it was a terrific turn-out for our first official international cherry season field day in Spain.”
“It’s important to remember that while this event was geared towards our licensees, at the end of the day, all attendees are also consumers,” said Andy Higgins, CEO, IFG. “It was rewarding to see them learning more about the program and enjoying the fruit itself. Their reaction to the flavor, texture and the firmness of the cherry varieties was a huge compliment. This event reinforced IFG”s focus on flavor and the consumer experience.”
IFG’s cherry program in Spain is approximately ten years old, which is relatively young compared to its table grape program. IFG recognizes the region is a primary producer and exporter of European cherries and is determined to continue to elevate the cherry varietals available to consumers – much, in the same way, it has for its successful table-grape program.
Headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., IFG is the world’s largest premium fruit-breeding company. Founded in 2001, the company is internationally recognized for its top quality, non-GMO fruit varieties in the table grape, cherry and raisin industries that were pioneered by the company’s co-founder and former Lead Plant Breeder, world-renowned fruit scientist Dr. David Cain. Following Dr. Cain’s retirement, the team is now led by Dr. Chris Owens. IFG patents and licenses its varieties to worldwide marketers and growers, with licensees in 18 countries and its fruit actively marketed in over 30 countries. For more information, visit www.ifg.world.