Arbroath-based Angus Soft Fruits (ASF) has signed an exclusive licence agreement with Italian berry giant Sant'Orsola for the floricane raspberry varieties Lagorai Plus and Vajolet, part of the group's raspberry breeding programme in northern Italy.
The agreement gives Angus Soft Fruits Ltd the exclusive right to plant, propagate and grow the varieties in the UK and to promote, market and distribute the fruits all over the world.
John Gray, commercial director at ASF said: “A small number of our growers have been testing these varieties for a number of years and were pleased with the results.
"Our strong relationship with Sant'Orsola reflects our wish to ensure that both our retail customers and our Angus Soft Fruit growers in Scotland and England are at the forefront of varietal development whether that is through our own breeding programme or by collaborating with international breeders.
"What matters to ASF is that the best berries are grown in order to deliver quality and customer satisfaction. The new varieties yield greater than Glen Ample with large, well flavoured, sweet berries and have a good shelf life, making them good varieties for growers and retailers and ultimately the consumer.”
Marion Durose, NPD manager for ASF, added: “Sant'Orsola has been very professional in the manner in which they have agreed these licences and negotiations were finalised in Milan before Christmas.
"Our growers were fortunate to have a presentation from a member of the Sant'Orsola team in November on Lagorai Plus and Vajolet and other new varieties that are in the pipeline for Sant'Orsola. We hope to visit the breeding programme in Italy with a number of growers this season and so continue to build on the excellent knowledge sharing relationship already in place.
"In addition ASF remain enthused by a small number of raspberry selections from the ASF breeding programme which will be in larger trials in 2014.”