Two appealing new black-skinned plums from TopFruit

Sponsored by TopFruit

TopFruit is introducing two black-skinned plums with excellent eating quality and early harvest windows. Characterised by their black skin and red flesh, they have been carefully selected and developed to thrive in the Southern African climate.

Two appealing new black-skinned plums from TopFruit
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TopFruit has been introducing new fruit varieties into Southern Africa from breeders all over the world since 1983. Its focus is to discover and unlock the potential of these varieties for Southern African producers.

This is achieved through cultivar development, a strong programme of intellectual property management, brand development, and innovative marketing initiatives.

In its stone fruit unit, TopFruit manages some of the best stone-fruit breeding programmes from around the world. One of these is B&Q Genetics from California, US, better known as the Bradford varieties, which has been managed in South Africa by TopFruit since 2007.

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The two new varieties, which can be planted by any South African producer, with no limitations from the Bradford programmes, are Blackred 1 and Blackred IV.

Plums with excellent eating and storage capabilities

Both Blackred I and Blackred IV have low-to-medium chilling requirements, needing around 400 hours of chilling during winter. This makes them suitable for planting in areas such as Ceres, Paarl, Worcester, Wellington and Robertson.

Additionally, one advantage of these plums is that their red flesh and black skin allow them to be stored for extended periods without exhibiting internal defects, making them an excellent choice for storage and transportation.

Blackred I

With a harvesting period starting from week 47/48 in the Robertson area, this plum’s production capacity is 45t/ha to 50t/ha, with good pack-outs. It has excellent eating quality, with a sweet taste and a touch of acidity in the skin, providing a well-balanced flavour profile.

The total soluble solids (sugar) content is high for an early ripening variety, ensuring a satisfying sweetness. This variety can be stored for at least 42 days at 0,5°C and is suitable for sea freight, offering flexibility in transportation options.

Blackred IV

This red-fleshed plum has good eating quality, with some skin tartness, and can be seen as an alternative to Sapphire. The harvesting period starts from week 49/50 in the Robertson area. This variety can be stored for at least 28 days at 0,5˚C and is suitable for sea freight.

Because of these early harvest windows, producers can capitalise on their early availability during periods of limited supply. This timing advantage can contribute to improved marketability and profitability for growers.

Considering the outstanding characteristics of visual appeal, excellent eating quality, excellent storage capabilities, and early harvest windows, TopFruit highly recommends Blackred I and Blackred IV as plum varieties for the early season.

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