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Dragonberry Produce is test-driving new apple variety

by Lora Abcarian | October 12, 2010
Amy Nguyen, sales executive for Dragonberry Produce Inc. in Clackamas, OR, is on a mission at this year's Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit. "What’s exciting is our new apple — the Green Dragon," she told The Produce News.

Ms. Nguyen plans to visit with the company’s partners and retailers to give them an in-depth look at this year’s offering.

“We have been testing this for three years,” she said. “We test drive certain commodities before releasing them. We’ve got a lot of unique product offerings.”

The Green Dragon, heretofore sold exclusively to export markets, also will be sold domestically this season for the first time. The variety looks like a Granny Smith, “but this apple is very sweet,” Mr. Ngyuen said. “This contrasts with our Hidden Rose apple, which is a tart apple with a red skin.”

The Green Dragon is available three to four weeks out of the year. Ms. Nguyen will also talk about 20th Century pears. “This is a big focus for us,” she said.

The company works with two growers in Hood River, OR, that have planted 200 acres in conventional 20th Century pears.

“This is a juicy, crisp pear,” Mr. Nguyen said. “It’s not grainy.”

The boutique produce company began marketing the pear four years ago, selling the variety six months out of the year. Because of the pear’s high Brix level, Ms. Nguyen said it cannot be stored.

Most of Dragonberry’s pears are marketed domestically. This season, it will cross-promote the Green Dragon apple and 20th Century pears. New point- of-sale material will be available to familiarize retailers and consumers with the specialty fruits.

Ms. Nguyen also will be available at Fresh Summit to talk about the company’s other unique offerings, such as specialty squash, shallots and pearl onions.