Naples, Fla.-based Naturipe Farms LLC is heavy toward the reliance variety in the Coachella Valley, which produces early fruit, said Robert Verloop, executive vice president of marketing.
The reliance is a good, solid piece of fruit, with great flavor that comes on early in the season and performs well in the Coachella Valley climate, he said.
The company also has Southern California acreage in Oxnard and Irvine.
Its own 1975 variety dominates the company’s plantings in the region, including the Santa Maria district.
“The 1975 variety has really performed extremely well for us in Santa Maria for three years now,” Verloop said.
Naturipe also has other “limited distribution varieties that help us fine tune our offerings to our clients who are looking for a specific variety or taste preference,” he said.
Well-Pict Inc., Watsonville, has some “promising new varieties” grown in limited numbers, said Dan Crowley, sales manager.
The berries have been taken out of test plots and are being introduced into some of the company’s commercial fields on a small scale.
They should be available commercially next season.
They’ll be similar to the company’s proprietary 269 variety, which Crowley said has “outstanding flavor, very large primary fruit size, some rain resistance and very high yields.”
Most of the berries that the company ships from the Oxnard district are the 269 variety.
The two new varieties will be supplemental to the 269 and are part of an ongoing breeding program that started six or seven years ago with about 20,000 cultivars.