It is our pleasure to share with you the great excitement of the July ARRA Field Day, which was held in Bakersfield, California last week.
On July 14th, we held our ARRA Field Day at the ARD breeding programme site in Bakersfield, California. It was a great pleasure to finally be reunited, in person, after the pandemic. Over 60 visitors, from many countries, gathered to see the commercial as well as future leading very early and early ARRA table grape varieties.
The visitors were very pleased and there was immense joy to be reunited with our agents, growers, traders and friends. The positive feedback received truly warmed our hearts.
The July ARRA Field Day provided the opportunity for the participants to see the leading very early and early ARRA varieties at their best on the vines.
Shachar Karniel, ARRA Varieties Breeder welcomed the guests with an opening speech and highlighted: “As we all know, the world of fresh produce is unpredictable. Ever-changing climate patterns can leave producers with uncertainty regarding the harvesting time and endurance of the fruit”.
Shachar concluded: “The ARRA programme offers the producers very early and mid varieties that can adapt to extreme-weather conditions, ranging from extreme heat to cold and heavy rain”.
The attendees were divided into 3 groups, guided, in Spanish by Karl Conrads, ARRA Agent in South America, Uzi Yaron, Grapa R&D Director and Shachar. Throughout the field day the guests enjoyed the chance to sample the ARRA varieties by visiting Giumarra’s commercial plots of ARRA Passion Fire™, ARRA Sugar Drop™ and ARRA Honey Pop™.
The participants enjoyed tasting regular, as well as organic commercial production of ARRA Sugar Drop and the impressive large berries of ARRA Passion Fire, especially appreciated by the USA market.
Randy Giumarra, V.P. Sales, Giumarra Vineyards, shared with the attendees his experience and said: “ARRA Sugar Drop has been deemed the best-eating early green grape of the season. Retailers are asking for it by name and some are requesting that it be packed in their branded packaging since it is such a wonderful eating experience that kicks off the California season”.
Randy continues: “I refer to it as the potato chip of our cross-breeding program because you can’t stop eating ARRA Sugar Drop™. They’re absolutely delicious! This variety has allowed us to sell for $2-$4/box higher than the other varieties coming at the same time and has shifted demand strongly to our side”.
Randy is also a fan of ARRA Passion Fire and says about the variety: “ARRA Passion Fire is so much bigger than Flame that customers can’t believe their eyes. Plus, once ARRA Passion Fire gets up to 18+ brix, it has a wonderful flavor with hints of apple”.
Randy adds: “Our retailer customers have mentioned how nice it is that they don’t have to worry about getting small Flames in their stores for the first weeks of the California season now that they have ARRA Passion Fire, even though they are paying mostly a $4/box premium for it. Lastly, the Passion Fire is a beast! You can export it and it holds up very well, whereas Flame gets dried stems and shrivel that has made it basically unacceptable for the export markets. We are blessed to have ARRA Sugar Drop™ and ARRA Passion Fire™ in our programme!”.
During the field day, Shachar explained to the attendees the difference between the berries and bunch size from the two different ARRA Passion Fire plantations that the attendees visited.
The ARRA Passion Fire commercial plantation showcased bigger bunches due to the extra large berry size, which is suitable for the USA market. The visit to the plots of ARRA Passion Fire at the breeding site, presented true to type bunches and berries, usually preferred by the European and UK markets.
RIPENING EARLIER THAN EXPECTED
During the tour, the attendees had the chance to see two very exciting, usually early-mid varieties: the red ARD 35 and the white ARRA Yum!bo™.
Although these two selections are not among the very early, this year, the weather advanced their ripening time.
ARD 35 colors naturally and reaches a beautiful bright red color, it is crunchy, firm and sweet, gives a good yield and is easy to grow. The crunchiness and flavor resemble those of an apple. Naturally, this variety is the ideal continuation of ARRA Passion Fire™.
ARRA Yum!bo is a white variety and indeed, one of a kind due to its berry shape and size, its fresh eating quality, shiny color, and ease of growing. It is currently grown commercially, on a large scale, in Brazil and California.
Anthony Cirillo, Director of Alpha Fresh Australia Pty Ltd and ARRA grower says: ” We were really happy with the ARRA varieties showcased during the field day in California. The commercial varieties are proving ,once again, their tremendous performance and consistency each year”.
Anthony adds: “It was also great to have a sneak peak at some of the upcoming new selections. The future with ARRA is definitely something to be excited about!”.
AS EARLY AS
THE VERY EARLY AND UNIQUE STARS
Fresh from the 14 month old vines in Giumarra commercial block, the participants had the chance to see and taste the very early white ARRA Honey Pop™, which is certainly unique in its aroma and crunchiness. In addition, ARRA Honey Pop proved to have great shelf life.
Chris Kalp, Technical Manager at Dole Europe says: “ARRA Honey Pop is my favorite and I am also excited about the early- mid ARD 35. Thank you for the very insightful experience at the ARRA Field Day. It was a great opportunity to visit the vineyards and being able to taste the new ARRA selections”.
One of the stars of this year’s Early ARRA Field Day was the ARD 42 a new very early red variety. Bearing extreme crunch, sweetness and fertility, it ripens at the same time as Early Sweet™. The participants that tasted this very early red, enjoyed the superb eating quality.
As well as the new, very early and early white and red selections there is a promising black variety. ARD 41 is due to be planted commercially in different countries and it is already showing very good results. It ripens at the same time as ARRA Sugar Drop™, reaches high sugar levels and is easy to grow. It is sweet and crunchy with a natural dark black color and high yield.
We would like to express our appreciation to the Giumarra family who kindly hosted and gave their full support to the field days. Special thanks from the entire Grapa team go to all the guests who flew in from the four corners of the globe to attend the field days in Bakersfield, and whose participation made the event so memorable.
We are now ready to do it all over again in August! Do not miss the Mid-Late and Late Varieties ARRA Field Days!
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