Options for subtropical peach production in Florida

James J. Ferguson, Jose X. Chaparro, David H. O’malley, Les Harrison


During the past ten years, new patterns for fresh fruit marketing have emerged, with international industry groups, like those of apple growers, shifting emphasis from commodity production to high value, premium fruit marketing. Large supermarket chains have also consolidated purchasing power, especially in perishable produce, and have increased control of fruit quality standards. Although new cultivars have posted profitable returns, oversupply has eventually depressed prices. In response quot;Club Varietyquot; marketing has sought to control planting and marketing of new patented cultivars to maintain long term premium prices. Following this model, subtropical peach production could rapidly expand in Florida, providing a lucrative specialty crop following the example of low-chill southern highbush blueberries bred for the early spring market window. Fresh packed, tree ripe fruit could be marketed as high value produce rather than as a broad seasonal commodity. Marketing options developed by the Vidalia onion industry and other profitable cooperatives could include exclusive licensing of patented cultivars to grower investors operating within a new generation cooperative model. This grower organization would own exclusive rights to UF patented subtropical peaches, operating as a production and marketing entity to control nursery production and orchard development, provide yield-based royalties to support research and extension programs, and ultimately to manage market supply for profitable grower-investor returns.


Prunus persica; club variety marketing; stone fruit breeding; low-chill

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283