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, on our discussion-based interactive website,, 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

Featured Stories

All Vegetables Stories >All Fruits Stories >All Nuts Stories >All Citrus Stories >

The Latest

CitrusClean Water Conundrum: Ditch The Rule Or Ditch The Myth…
August 26, 2014
Regulation inundation causing a rising tide of confusion for farmers. Read More
BerriesMichigan State University Extension Offers Tips To Prev…
August 26, 2014
Humidity, rainy periods conducive to disease development. Read More
FruitsSpotted Wing Drosophila Populations Rising In Michigan
August 26, 2014
Extension researchers advise berry growers on trapping, salt testing to take stock of pest population. Read More
Apples & PearsNorthwest Pear Crop Estimate Revised Upward
August 26, 2014
Washington and Oregon pear growers forecast a larger size crop than that originally estimated. Read More
VegetablesAgrium Acquires A Controlling Interest In Biotech Compa…
August 26, 2014
The company also acquires stake in Agricen Sciences as part of strategic effort to expand their offering of integrated, next-generation plant health technologies. Read More
Insect ControlCover All Angles When Taking On Threecornered Alfalfa H…
August 25, 2014
Learn how to ID, the survival and spread, and management methods for this insect pest. Read More
GrapesEarthquake Shakes Up Napa Wine Industry
August 25, 2014
Sunday’s early morning quake was centered just six miles from the city of Napa. Read More
OrangesNew Orange Pipeline Full Of Juice
August 25, 2014
Industry stakeholders are working on a rapid release model for processed varieties. Read More
CitrusCalifornia Citrus Cleared For Chinese Export
August 25, 2014
New agreement addresses concerns over brown rot. Read More
CitrusConsolidated Citrus Eyes Giant Planned Agricultural, Em…
August 25, 2014
South Florida real estate endeavor includes a 5 million-square-foot industrial park, including 200,000 square feet of retail space and 500 hotel rooms. Read More
Pest ControlManaging Lepidoptera In Tomatoes
August 22, 2014
This video provides information on how to best identify and control Lepidoptera in tomatoes. Read More
GrapesMichigan Conference Focuses On Impact Of Climate Change…
August 22, 2014
Experts from Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and Northwestern Michigan College to discuss Polar Vortex, technology, and unmanned systems at one-day conference. Read More
GrapesNew York Grape Grower Survey Reveals Huge Losses
August 22, 2014
Cornell Cooperative Extension publishes results of a grower poll of winter injury damage. Read More
GrapesOregon Anticipates Large Grape Harvest
August 22, 2014
Growers keep fingers crossed that late-season rainfall doesn’t ruin crop. Read More
GrapesFarmers Fresh Fruit Company Integrates QR Code Into Cla…
August 22, 2014
Design allows consumers to access online information about variety, nutritional information, etc. Read More
Crop ProtectionGetting To The Root Of Good Soil Health Requires Some D…
August 21, 2014
Dave Gilliam of Horticultural Alliance says more citrus growers are paying attention to what's happening below the ground in their groves. Read More
Citrus‘Super Cold’ Winter, Sizzling Summer On Tap In 2015…
August 21, 2014
The 223rd edition of the folksy regional forecast manual predicting extremes. Read More
Insect & Disease UpdateMountains Of Data Being Used To Combat Citrus Greening
August 20, 2014
As HLB research evolves, new methods need to be developed to effectively utilize information. Read More