Washington flat stone fruit gaining recognition

07/19/2007 12:00:00 AM
Don Schrack

(July 19) The flat stone fruit season, a relative newcomer to the state of Washington, is beginning to pick up steam. The debut of a new variety of white-flesh doughnut nectarine should highlight the season.

Greg Cummins, vice president of marketing and sales for E.W. Brandt and Sons Inc., Wapato, Wash., said the timing should be good for retailers.

“The California flat stone fruit season will begin to wind down about the first of August,” Cummins said.

That’s when E.W. Brandt will be ramping up the packing of the company’s Halo series of flat peaches and nectarines, he said.

E.W. Brandt began packing its white flesh doughnut peach July 16. But Cummins said the star of the season could be the necta snow, the first white flesh flat nectarine. Harvesting should begin about July 31.

Picking and packing of the yellow flesh flat peach, angel fire, and the yellow flesh flat nectarine, necta fire, began in mid-July, Cummins said. The necta fire is particularly appealing to retailers, he said, because of its bright red skin.

“The taste is really an heirloom flavor,” Cummins said.

E.W. Brandt planted the flat stone fruit on a substantial portion of its 1,400 acres. As those orchards begin to produce larger commercial crops, Cummins said the company’s volume will increase markedly. Production figures for the necta fire are an example.

“Last year, our yellow flesh nectarine volume was about 10,000 cartons,” Cummins said. “We expect to do 20,000 cartons this year.”



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