The harvest in the North African countries is entering its busiest time and this week we will focus on the ongoing developments of the ARRA™ program in Morocco, as well as report on the ARRA Field Days recently held in the country.

The Grapa team, Shachar Karniel, ARRA Varieties’ Breeder, Vered Karniel, Financial Director and Shiko Domovitz, CEO, visited Morocco last week,  for the local Field Days. The events, spanning over two days, were held in Marrakesh and Tauroudant. 

The first day of the ARRA Field Day was hosted at the Elite Harvest Maroc farm located in Marrakesh.  Elite Harvest Maroc has been producing ARRA Varieties for the past 3 years. The growers and buyers that attended the event, enjoyed a visit between the rows of ARRA Passion Fire™ and ARRA Sugar Drop™ exactly during their harvest time as well as ARRA Sweetie that will be ready to harvest next week.

ARRA Passion Fire and ARRA Sugar Drop

This was Shiko Domovitz’ first visit to Morocco as the new Grapa CEO and he reports: “I was very pleased to see the great relationship that the Grapa Team has built over the years with the Moroccan producers. It was nice to see and feel the mutual respect as well as the dedication of the growers towards the ARRA Program in Morocco”.

Left: Shiko and Mikhael

Shiko adds:” There is a strong will to increase  plantations of both, established as well as  the new generation of ARRA Varieties. Many expressed their interest in planting the ARRA varieties, regarding them as a high quality product. Mikhael Levy, Grapa Agent in Morocco, along with the Grapa Team, will continue to invest and support the existing and new producers in the country”.

The ARRA Sweeties harvested by Top Fruits Colombia

Elite Harvest Maroc

The beautiful ARRA Sugar Drop that was shown during the field day at Elite Harvest Maroc is due to the great work of the Farm Manager, Khalifa Smari. The harvest is now completed and the grapes are on their way to the European market.

Khalifa Smari proud of his ARRA Sugar Drop
ARRA Sugar Drop harvested by Elite Harvest Maroc

Emil Michel Moukarzel, Managing Director at Elite Agro, the mother company of Elite Harvest Maroc says: “To join the ARRA programme was indeed one of the best decision we have made. The incredible technical support and professional attitude of the Grapa team as well as the warm relationship between us, gave great motivation to succeed”.

Emil adds:” It is in the interest of the Moroccan producers to keep increasing the ARRA plantations as this will establish the Moroccan produce in the European market, that will consequently keep requesting good quality ARRA Varieties in order to satisfy the consumer demand”.

Emil concludes: “I definitely recommend to all the producers that attended the Field Days to join the ARRA programme in Morocco because they will surely benefit from it”.

The second ARRA Field Day was held at Agricole Guiro located in the Taroudant region. The company is owned by Mr. Youssef Jebha, who is also the president of Cooperative Zaouia, a large association of Citrus producers in Morocco. The farm infrastructure is impressive and efficiently designed. The vineyards, as well as the trellising are in line with international practices .

Beautiful welcoming, Moroccan style

The attendees visited the ARRA Passion Fire plantation, where the crop, soon to be harvested, looked very good. 
The performance of ARRA Passion Fire,  is demonstrating yet again, the success of this variety in Morocco. It is a grower-friendly variety, has good productivity, the color is attractive and it truly tastes great. Indeed, when the growing guidelines, provided by Grapa, are followed, it is possible to achieve remarkable results. 

Agricole Guiro ARRA Passion Fire

Agricole Guiro is also producing ARRA Sugar Drop that was already harvested when the event took place, nevertheless, the attendees had the pleasure to taste a few bunches over lunch. 

Mairene Casarino supervising the packing of ARRA Sweeties

Mikhael Levy, Grapa Agent in Morocco reports: “This season, the ARRA Varieties have shown very good results in adapting to the Moroccan hot weather conditions. From the south in the Taroudant area to Marrakech, the vineyards are looking great and all our growers did a very good job thereby achieving great results”.

A big thank you to the Elite Harvest Maroc and Agricole Guiro teams for hosting the beautiful and successful ARRA Field Days, to Mikhael Levy for the organization and to all the growers that attended the events for making both days so fruitful.

HARVEST UPDATES FROM

PICO

The first crop of ARRA Passion Fire™ at PICO is world class and the photos below speak for themselves. The good eating quality is obtained when the Brix is over 18 and this results in crunchy berries with a richer red color.

PICO ARRA Passion Fire

BELCO

The ARRA Passion Fire crop at BELCO  is well managed with optimal bunches size, bunch count and leafing control, plus, the color is simply beautiful. The harvest already started. 

Belco's ARRA Passion Fire bunches and exemplary sugar ring

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SUGAR RING

The progress of sugar accumulating in the ARRA Passion Fire berries provides an indication of the ripening process as the flesh turns white. This is a very important factor in order to determine the right day to begin the harvest. ARRA Passion Fire’s optimal Brix should be 18 and above, as this secures the right amount of sugar as well as the desired firmness of the berries.

Ali Shahata, Grapa representative in Egypt, summarizes: “Most of the ARRA growers in Egypt have finished harvesting the early ARRA varieties: ARRA Passion Fire and ARRA Sugar Drop, and are now beginning with ARRA Sweeties. Indeed, it has become clear that one of the big advantages of the ARRA varieties is that they are grower-friendly and require much less labor compared to many other varieties”.

The harvest of  ARRA Sugar Drop in Israel kicked off and the crop at Uzi Yaron’s, Grapa R&D Director’ own green house farm, looks excellent. The crispiness along with the high sugar level make the flavor of this variety perfect. During a regular year the harvest would start during the first week of June but, this year, due to the atypical weather, ARRA Sugar Drop ripened with a two week delay.

Uzi says: “The Brix is between 18-20 and in my opinion this is the sweetest early grape in the market”. 

Click here to Listen to Uzi Yaron, Grapa R&D director in this new Podcast broadcasted by the Jupiter Group.
During this very interesting Pod, Uzi and Gareth Wilcock, Jupiter’s Head of Sales, discussed “what makes a good table grape”.

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