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How climate change impacts the process of breeding new cherry varieties


IFG started a cherry breeding program 21 years ago. With California being their home base, the company is focused on breeding cherries that are suitable for southern California’s climate. This means they need to flourish despite lower winter chill hours and need to do well with a higher amount of summer heat. “Through good and bad fortune, these past 21 years we’ve learned that global warming is a thing,” says Alwyn van Jaarsveld, IFG’s International Commercial Cherry Manager. “The California climate has become warmer and drier, but we’re on the right track bringing new varieties to market that are adaptable.” Left: Alwyn van Jaarsveld. Right: Cheery Glow™ variety. Uninterrupted supply window
In addition to breeding for low chill and hot weather, IFG also looks to bring novelty to the cherry category when it comes to color, size, shape, and marketing window. This season, California saw some late spring rain events, closer to the start of harvest. These rains had a negative impact on quality as water stays on the fruit and causes the cherries to crack and split. “We are breeding for varieties with a different shape that prevents water drops from hanging on the stem-end.” Time of […]

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