Nurseries Discuss Club Varieties

In recent years, one of the red-hot topics in the apple-growing business is so-called “club,” or managed, varieties. At American/Western Fruit Grower, we’ve heard from many growers on the topic, whether at industry meetings or the poll we include in our weekly eNewsletter.

For example, a poll in December asked: “Do you think club varieties are good for the industry?” Interestingly, more than three quarters of the respondents, or 76%, answered with a resounding “No.”

So it seemed like a natural topic to revisit in this issue of the magazine, in which we survey some of the nation’s top tree fruit, nut, and grapevine nurseries. Which nurseries we survey largely depends on the topic. This year, for example, the survey was limited to apple tree providers.

At any rate, we thought it was high time to hear from some of the people who provide most growers in the U.S. with their apple trees what they think about managed varieties. What follows are some questions we posed followed by some provocative answers from such industry leaders as Pete Van Well of Van Well Nursery in East Wenatchee, WA; Neal Manly of Willow Drive Nursery in Ephrata, WA; and Phil Baugher of Adams County Nursery in Aspers, PA.

A/WFG: In general, how do you feel about managed varieties?

Van Well: Managed varieties have their place, and if they provide better returns for growers, that is good news. The potential problem I see is how many managed varieties will the market bear. As more and more varieties go club, the industry may have to continue to create new approaches to marketing these new varieties.

Manly: As (just one) part of a diversified production portfolio.

Baugher: I think there are more managed varieties than there are slots in produce departments of the major retailers. Therefore it is critical to those who launch these varieties that attention is paid to fruit quality. There are many great apple varieties already in the pipeline so for a new variety to find a place, it must be exceptional.

A/WFG: What do you see happening with them in the future?

Van Well: There will be a time when we see a glut of managed varieties, and some will inevitably go by the wayside.

Manly: The verdict is still out. Some early successes hopefully will build momentum for the future.

A/WFG: Will we continue to see more of them, as we have in the recent past?

Van Well: I believe it will slow over time, or new better varieties will take the place of older managed varieties.

Baugher: I do not think we are going to see as many in the next 10 years as we have in the past 10 and we may see new innovative models for releasing new varieties.

A/WFG: As more new varieties are introduced under managed programs, what are you doing to market your own new varieties to growers?

Van Well: We continue to look for new varieties. The question now when we find a promising new variety is how to release it. Open releases, such as Blondee, we aggressively advertise in trade publications and our catalog. Managed varieties, we take a much more subdued approach. We try to target those varieties only to people in the club.

Manly: Without marketing support, all new varieties will struggle to succeed.

Baugher: We are not interested in managing a variety. Variety management needs to be done by the packer/shipper. As nursery growers, we do not feel that we have expertise in the managing of varieties, however we may take new selections that we control in the future and find partners in the growing and packing sector.

Leave a Reply

Apples & Pears Stories
Weeds in strawberry for web
Apples & Pears
January 20, 2016
Herbicide Flood Irrigation Application Approved for California Orchards And Vineyards
Crops include stone fruit, pome fruit, grapes, tree nuts, and olives. Read More
Arctic Apples logo
Apples & Pears
January 19, 2016
Okanagan Specialty Fruit Seeks USDA Approval For Arctic Fuji
Arctic Fuji is the next release in the nonbrowning apple series. Read More
An over-the-row small fruit harvester passes over cider apple trees at WSU Mount Vernon, WA. (Photo credit: Carol Miles, WSU)
Apples & Pears
January 16, 2016
USDA Funds Robotic Research In Orchards
Projects seek to create cost-effective automation of harvest and orchard tasks. Read More
Exporting goods
Apples & Pears
January 15, 2016
U.S. May Begin Accepting European Pome Fruit Exports
USDA wants comments on rule to allow imports of apples and pears from countries that industry expert says have discriminated against U.S. fruit for the past half century. Read More
(Lisa Norwood photo)
Apples & Pears
January 12, 2016
Apple Producers Named In Antidumping Ruling
Mexican government requires duty payments following antidumping investigation stemming from a petition filed in 2014. Read More
Connect_meeting_2015_web
Apples & Pears
December 28, 2015
FruitGrowerConnect Solves Growers’ Problems One On One
More than 35 grower and supplier operations gathered at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego in November for Read More
How Hard Cider Is Made
Apples & Pears
December 21, 2015
CIDER Act Passes As Part Of The Year-End Tax Extenders Bill
Passage benefits fast-growing, job-creating U.S. hard cider industry. Read More
The Latest
Apples & Pears
February 2, 2016
Fine Americas Introduces Next Generation…
New formulation of Exilis 9.5 SC is five times more concentrated than previous product; it's also easier to pour, handle. Read More
Apples & Pears
February 2, 2016
Midwest Apple To Be Marketed Abroad
Midwest Apple Improvement Association signs agreement for international development of its first release. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 28, 2016
Washington Association Donates $750,000 …
Contribution is part of a five-year pledge to support research at the Center for Produce Safety. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 20, 2016
Herbicide Flood Irrigation Application A…
Crops include stone fruit, pome fruit, grapes, tree nuts, and olives. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 19, 2016
Okanagan Specialty Fruit Seeks USDA Appr…
Arctic Fuji is the next release in the nonbrowning apple series. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 16, 2016
USDA Funds Robotic Research In Orchards
Projects seek to create cost-effective automation of harvest and orchard tasks. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 15, 2016
U.S. May Begin Accepting European Pome F…
USDA wants comments on rule to allow imports of apples and pears from countries that industry expert says have discriminated against U.S. fruit for the past half century. Read More
Apples & Pears
January 12, 2016
Apple Producers Named In Antidumping Rul…
Mexican government requires duty payments following antidumping investigation stemming from a petition filed in 2014. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 28, 2015
FruitGrowerConnect Solves Growers’ Probl…
More than 35 grower and supplier operations gathered at the beautiful Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego in November for Read More
Apples & Pears
December 21, 2015
CIDER Act Passes As Part Of The Year-End…
Passage benefits fast-growing, job-creating U.S. hard cider industry. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 18, 2015
USApple Applauds Repeal Of Country Of Or…
Passage of spending bill resolves trade dispute with Canada and Mexico. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 16, 2015
USApple’s “Apples For Education” Donates…
Social media campaign encouraged fans to upload photos and vote for nominated schools. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 15, 2015
New Website For Washington Apple Consume…
Washington Apple Commission’s revamped site will be available on smart phones. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 15, 2015
Nurseryman Elected To Washington Tree Ce…
C & O Nursery’s Gary Snyder will serve as committee chairman. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 15, 2015
Bacterial Disease Discovered At Oregon P…
Xylella fastidiosa, best known for infecting grapes with Pierce’s disease, has been found in U.S. pome fruit for what is believed to be the first time. Read More
Apples & Pears
December 8, 2015
Pink Lady Cider Now Available Through Ry…
Hood River Juice Company (HRJCO) is adding the Pink Lady brand apple to its special Ryan’s Fresh Fruit Juices. According to Read More
Apples & Pears
December 8, 2015
USA Pears Launches Month-Long Marketing …
USDA has officially declared December as National Pear Month. Pear Bureau Northwest (USA Pears) is marking National Pear Month with Read More
Apples & Pears
November 30, 2015
Penn State Extension To Offer Hard Cider…
Penn State University Extension to offer the Hard Cider from Seed to Sip workshop held on Feb. 1 at The Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]