Prevar Announces U.S. Smitten™ Apple Production

New Zealand-based Prevar’s Smitten brand apples will soon be available year round to North American customers, following an exclusive license agreement with Washington State’s Pegasus Premier Fruit Co. to grow and sell the fruit in the U.S. and Canada. 

Currently, the Smitten apples are shipped to the continent from the Southern Hemisphere.

Pegasus co-owners Barclay Crane and Randy Steensma have many years’ experience with patented fruit concepts, and say there is definite place in the North American market for exclusive cultivars.

“After more than a decade of research world-wide that led to this cultivar, in 2011 we were able to conclude a licence for exclusive North American production and distribution with Prevar Limited,” said Crane in a release

“Since then we’ve tested, then commercially planted this apple on ten sites throughout WA and will have another three new locations planted in 2015.

“It’s a cultivar with extraordinarily high eating quality, great storage and shelf life, good apparent yield, high bin pack-outs and initial USA sales commanding [US]$55 -60 dollar per box.

“We are actively planting our own orchards with this cultivar, and will very shortly have commercial volume for the North American market.”

He added that New Zealand began commercial planting of the variety six years ago and has exported world-wide from mature orchards for the last three years.

“The North American reaction has been powerfully positive with retailers selling through and asking for more, even at Honeycrisp-like retail prices.”

Steensma agreed that the Smitten apple has potential in the U.S. and Canadian markets, and said he saw the cultivar as much more than a niche club variety.

“We believe it may have all the qualities to become an anchor cultivar as older varieties like Red Delicious and Golden Delicious decline,” said Steensma.

Prevar chief executive Brett Ennis said the company was delighted to have Pegasus as its North American licensee.

“Barclay and Randy are passionate skilled professionals who have the courage and vision to make this apple a significant success in their territory,” he said.

“This apple has now been commercialized in five territories to date with strong interest from several other territories where this cultivar is currently being tested.”

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