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Partnership to expand Kiku and Kanzi apple volume from CMI

Volumes of the apple varieties Kiku (above) and Kanzi will increase for Columbia Marketing International as a result of a sublicense agreement reached between Columbia Fruit Packers and Applewood Orchards.

A sublicense agreement executed between Columbia Fruit Packers Inc. in Wenatchee, WA, and Applewood Orchards in Deerfield, MI, will boost apple volume for the Kiku and Kanzi varieties in the coming years.

“We are working on land and propagation of trees,” Bob Mast, vice president of marketing for Columbia Marketing International, said Nov. 1. “We will be increasing plantings going forward.”

Applewood Orchards is the second sublicensee for the Kiku variety, which is also grown for CMI by Rice Fruit Co. in Gardners, PA.

CMI is the exclusive U.S. marketer for both varieties. This is the fourth season the company has marketed the Kiku, a supersweet Fuji strain with 20 percent more sugar, and the variety continues to gain popularity. The Kanzi variety, a Braeburn-Gala cross, is now in its second full season of promotion. Though the apple is less sweet, it packs a full flavor profile. “We were very surprised at the positive American feedback,” Mr. Mast said.

As of early November, 400 acres of the Kiku had been planted, and approximately 45,000 boxes of the fruit were produced this season. According to Mr. Mast, volume will increase to roughly 300,000 boxes in the next two to three years. Kanzi volume this season from the 20 acres planted was approximately 10,000 boxes, and production will increase as new trees go into the ground.

CMI has showcased the varieties at trade shows this year, and Mr. Mast said that attendees of the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit 2011 in October had an opportunity to learn more about the two specialty varieties.