“It’s a sweeter fruit and does well particularly in some of the Asian markets,” he said.
Other varieties are in various stages of development, said Michele Hoard, senior marketing manager with New Zealand-based Zespri International Ltd.
“Zespri, as the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, continues to research and develop new cultivars,” she said. “We have some great new varieties in the pipeline and are in the process of selecting test areas around the globe.”
Tom Richardson, manager of Wenatchee, Wash.-based The Giumarra Cos., said some items out of New Zealand have seen declining volumes, but gold kiwifruit seems to be moving up.
“Production in New Zealand has grown a bit, particularly in the gold varieties,” he said. “The green varieties are like last year’s crop, but, like apples and pears, you’re going to see less of that fruit come to the United States compared to last year.”
Apple and pear shipments have seen no growth, Richardson said.
“It’s actually declining,” he said. “The pipfruit industry has a significantly slower than normal crop this year. The volumes that are coming to North America are also significantly reduced compared to last year and to most previous years.”
Shipments of meyer lemons, tamarillos and oca — a potato-like tuber — from New Zealand were scheduled to start June 1, said Hazel Kelly, spokeswoman for Los Alamitos, Calif.-based Frieda’s Inc.
Kelly said the company also has a pipeline of other specialty items out of New Zealand, including feijoas, from April through June; kiwano (horned melon), from February to June; passion fruit, from January to June; apricots, in February and March; greengage plums, in February; and figs, from February through April.