People go to great lengths to find names for new fruit varieties which they hope will be the new winners on the super market shelves in Europe and elsewhere.
In the past these names were often related to the characteristics of the fruit – and the word ‘delight’ and ‘sweet’, or even ‘beauty’ often came into consideration. Mind you the word ‘flavour’ is often use to indicate very good flavour.
To put one into a celebratory mood when you eat fruit, ‘celebration’ is often added – such as in the beautiful red grape Sweet Celebration. One can really celebrate about that one. To encourage a joyous spirit a new South African table grape has been named Joybells. This is not only to spread joy, but the berries actually look like little bells at the end. A pity they don’t ring when you move the bunches or shake them. Fredo can confirm – they look like little bells.
South African table grape breeder Phyllis Burger says artistic flair is required to be a successful. You have to start visualising what you would like to create! “I always have an idea in mind when I make the cross of what the ‘kids’ would look like,” Phyllis told Fredo when he did research for his table grape manuscript. She says breeders always try to create something different and explore different novel ideas which gives you an opportunity to tap into other or niche markets.
To demonstrate the point, Phyllis says she has been experimenting with some interesting flavours – other than the well-known muscat flavours in table grapes – such as granadilla, litchi and pineapple, to name a few.
Fredo wonders what names these offspring will carry when they finally appear – ‘granagrape’ or ‘sweet litchi’ or ‘grapepine’ are names which springs to mind.
Fruit named after people
Lately new varieties are often given names of people – and very often now the name is linked to a whole range of varieties which have the same characteristics. This is to make it easier to develop brands under which the varieties can be sold throughout the season – from early to late in the season. The ‘Gold’ brand of which Clemengold and Lemon Gold are part, springs to mind.
Thank goodness it seems if we are past the times in which researchers or industry leaders are named in varieties. It has always been very hard to create excitement about a plum called Harry Pickstone or to get lyrical about a peach called ‘Oom Sarel.’
Fredo meets Fred
However, Fredo was astounded this weekend to learn of a new variety called ‘Fred.’ He learnt that in Switzerland there is a new ‘Apple-like’ pear called Fred. The Swiss call it a firm-textured variety whose juice doesn’t run and which could offer better transportability and consumer convenience.
Fred is the result of 18 years of plant breeding, illustrating just how difficult and time consuming it is to bring forth new varieties. In the world of pears it is even more difficult to find new varieties. The list of successful pear varieties is fairly short. Fred is a cross between the Harrow Sweet and Verdi varieties. It is currently being tested for production at 30 locations in 11 countries and has already been registered as variety in a number of countries, including Switzerland and the US.
To start off, Fred will be available in small volumes from Swiss retailers – commercial volumes will only be available around 2025. The Swiss say they hope Fred will slow a decline in pear sales in the country, where pear consumption has fallen from 6 to 3kg in the past 20 years.
Now that is something to be worried about – the Swiss have always loved their pears – particularly the russet pears. Fredo is therefore rooting for Fred. He wishes the Swiss and other consumers who may encounter Fred many days of munching on poor old Fred.