He also said he appreciates the role hybrids play.
“What it really does for the area as a whole is you’re able to continue sales into your market if you have a quality product,” he said.
Some growers say it makes it easier to find reliable customers longer-term, Locati said.
“If you have a customer base and they’re willing to stay with you into that, it’s beneficial,” he said.
It might create customers for the Walla Walla sweets that otherwise might not be there, Locati said.
“It works fine, as long as the buyers and public know it’s not the Walla Walla and don’t get the perception that we’re trying just to extend our season and trying to push something that’s not the same thing,” he said.
Walla Walla-based grower Terry Bergevin said the hybrid season has little effect on Walla Walla sweets.
“They’re cheaper to raise, just from the harvest standpoint, but there’s much more competition that can affect your market,” said Bergevin, who supplies hybrid sweets to Pasco, Wash.-based Agri-Pack.