TORONTO — The Oppenheimer Group’s latest offering almost didn’t make it to the Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention and Expo.
The pear cross breed, currently named “Papple,” made it through customs onto the trade show floor just in time the second day of the expo on April 19. Grown in New Zealand, the combination of an Asian pear and pear, has bright red skin and the shape of an apple. It is available in limited trial quantities this season, said David Nelley, pipfruit category director for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company.
The variety, PremP109, was developed by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, and managed by the Associated International Group of Nurseries. It’s grown in Motueka, New Zealand, with trees also in the United Kingdom.
While it was introduced last year in the U.K. under the trade name Papple, marketing and strategy plans for the North American market are not yet definite.
With a crunchy skin and extremely juicy interior, the Papple is perfect for hot summer refreshment. The variety has a lot of marketing potential, Nelley said.
“We’re going to have fun with it,” he said. “This is the kind of excitement the pear category needs.”
In the height of summer, an ice-cold Papple will eat like a refreshing drink, he said.
The Oppenheimer Group had a limited amount of Papple fruit to sample this year, with commercial availability within the next few seasons.