The UNIVEG UK and AIGN partnership with East Malling Ltd continues to prosper since its conception in 2010. On the 18th July East Malling welcomed growers from the UK and abroad to see the on-going breeding work. After a welcoming speech by EMR chairman Will Sibley, delegates enjoyed a tour led by breeder Feli Fernandez where they saw the various stages of the breeding program, including the seedlings from last year’s crosses and cultivars in advance selections. Some numbered cultivars were sampled and two were immediately selected by several growers who are keen to set up commercial scale trials on their farms.
Feli showed the delegates how data is meticulously collected and recorded from the numerous selection trials, and explained that one of the four cultivars selected for grower trials is a very early dark red type with excellent flavour characteristics and another is an outstanding yellow and red blush cherry.
Richard Isaacs, Stonefruit and Cherry Department Manager at UNIVEG UK Ltd thanked the growers for their support over the past few years and told them that they would be first in line to trial new varieties from the breeding program.
The visitors then walked the UNIVEG Cherry Concept orchard before spending the afternoon visiting orchards at GH Dean, Mount Ephraim and Torry Hill farms.
All agreed the day was a huge success, with plenty of knowledge and numerous ideas being shared.
The group is now planning to meet again in Spain in May 2014.