– R&D+I Fruit Trees –
It was in 2000 when we realised in Provedo that the future inevitably meant a commitment to research. That same year we decided to start a Genetic Enhancement project in our Research and Development centre in Don Benito, and that this would focus on obtaining new varieties of stone fruit. The aim of this genetic improvement is to get new, high quality varieties of fruit, for which the following goals have to be met:
- To obtain easily trained, economical, high yielding trees with fruits with a long life on the tree
- To adapt the fruit to consumer tastes, especially in the improvement of flavour
- To increase the shelf life of the varieties with better post-harvest characteristics
To achieve these, we use a natural method which consists in controlled hybridisation. At this point in time, in Provedo we have pollinated over 2 million flowers which has enabled us to get over 200,000 plants, each of them generating a different variety.
Each and every one of these new fruits are planted in our plots and are subjected to a series of agricultural studies that permit us to analyse their vigour, floriferousness, fruit setting, sensitivity to pests and diseases, and last but not least, their flavour.
As a result of the actions within the framework of our Genetic Enhancement Programme, between 2000 and 2017 we have obtained 105 varieties of peach, nectarine, flat peaches or flat nectarines, and 8 new varieties of plum.
All the varieties are studied and tested in different experimental fields which we have spread among the main areas of production in the Iberian Peninsula, as well as in various countries around the world: USA, South Africa, Chile, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Italy, France, New Zealand and Australia.
These 113 varieties are distinct because of their typology.
The most noteworthy features of the Extreme® category are:
- Excellent flavour combined with low level of acidity
- Firm, crisp, juicy pulp with long tree life and in the post-harvest phase
- They are varieties with good fresh-cut, ready to eat (“fourth range”) potential due to the resistance of their flesh to oxidation
The outstanding features of Fresh® category are:
- Sweet, fresh taste with a balanced hint of acidity.
- Firm, crisp, sweet, juicy pulp, combined with a light touch provided by the acidity.
- Good resistance to handling, conservation and transport.
- Slow ripening.
This work would not be at all possible without the fine team of professionals we can call on and who, day-in, day-out, strive to obtain the best varieties on the market.
To make this project a reality, we work closely with various bodies including the Ministry of Agriculture, the University of Extremadura and the Aula Dei in Zaragoza. These projects have a duration of several years and a budget assigned to them of nearly 2.000.000€.