John Bostock, owner of Bostock New Zealand, one of the partners in Fruitcraft, shows off organic Dazzle apples. ( Courtesy Fruitcraft )

Washington state growers Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farms have signed a license agreement to grow and sell Dazzle apples, a red apple variety originating from New Zealand.

Fruitcraft, a collaboration between New Zealand apple growers Mr. Apple, Bostock New Zealand and Freshmax, launched the Dazzle variety last year, according to a news release.

Chelan Fruit’s 325 grower members produce on 14,000 acres, and Gebbers Farms grows apples and cherries on 13,500 acres. The companies’ fruit is marketed through Chelan Fresh, which the two growers own jointly.

The two U.S. growers are the first companies outside New Zealand to sign a license agreement to produce and market Dazzle apples for domestic and export markets, with a commitment to plant three million trees over 12 years, according to the release.

“This will strengthen the positioning of Dazzle on the global markets,” Fruitcraft manager Steve Potbury said in the release. “More fruit will help establish the market more quickly and create a stronger following for the brand internationally.”

Chelan Fruit and Gebbers Farms expect the new apple variety to perform well in the U.S. market and abroad, with commercial plantings expected to begin in 2020, according to the release.

“The climate in Washington will be perfect for growing Dazzle. We have warm days and cool nights at the time this mid-season apple is harvested, which will create the ideal environment,” Chelan Fruit CEO Reggie Collins said in the release.

Dazzle-branded apples are from patented PremA129 trees, a variety developed in New Zealand by Plant & Food Research and owned by Prevar Ltd., which licensed global production and marketing rights to Fruitcraft.

New Zealand growers have 115,000 PremA129 trees in the ground, with another 245,000 going in this winter, according to the release.

The crop is expected to produce more than 10,000 cartons next year, reach 100,000 cartons by 2021 and hit 1 million cartons by 2028.

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