T&G Global is gearing up for harvests of Australian Tulare Giant sugar plums with plans to ship the fruit to Asian markets under its Orchard Rd brand.
The company’s general manager of Australia (exports) Paul Scheffer says the fruit will start to be picked in small volumes next week with most growers expecting to start picking between Christmas and New Year.
“Size is looking larger than usual with our expectation of increased production of Tulare Giant that will be in good supply until mid-February,” Scheffer says.
“Export markets will include Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and mainland China. Retailers will be ranging under the Orchard Rd brand with promotional activity being scheduled for the lead-up into Lunar New Year.”
The option to export to mainland China has been made possible by the country’s decision in November 2017 to expand its market opening for Australian stonefruit to also include plums, peaches and apricots in a protocol that already included nectarines.
“We’ve got growers registered to meet the protocol for that direct access to China; that protocol will play a big part of what we do with Tulare,” says Scheffer, adding the fruit will be assisted into the market by T&G’s own Shanghai office.
“Initially the demand was purely taken up in Asia, but in the last two seasons we’ve released the product domestically here in Australia and that’s really given us a good balance for our growers.
“We’re doing a lot of targeted marketing around Chinese New Year as well – it’s been really successful.”
T&G has commercialization rights in Australia for the variety, which was bred by the University of California Davis.
“We are fortunate the have growers who are committed to delivering a great quality product with excellent eating characteristics,” says Scheffer.
He adds Tulare Giants are the earliest plums to hit the shelves in Australia, and the product should fit nicely into export markets as well as a counter-seasonal option to supplies from California.
Released as a cross-category brand less than a year ago with the goal of broader consumer recognition in Australia, Orchard Rd has expanded internationally.
Scheffer says the company has already been exporting USA berries and cherries into Asia under the label, as well as New Zealand berries and grapes for Japan.
“Our berry fruit and our sugar plums will probably be our two big Orchard Rd drivers for the summer,” he says.