There’s a new queen on the market and this one’s no wallflower when it comes to showing her true colours. The Queen Garnet plum is a vibrantly red-fleshed dark plum variety with a crunchy bite to it.
“It really is an amazing eating experience,” Alistair Brown, Harrowsmiths International managing director, told Fruitnet. The high-brix plum is “off the charts” in antioxidants and anthocyanin, said Brown, with Nutrafruit, which holds the plant breeding rights licence to the plum, undertaking research for the past three to four years into the health benefits of the fruit, with human trials expected sometime this year, once funding has been secured.
For now, Nutrafruit and Brisbane-based importer-exporter Harrowsmiths are joining forces to develop a range of value-added health-related products for the Queen Garnet.
“The intention is that these products will utilise any second grade fruit and will extend the range and availability of the variety,” Brown said, adding that the juice will be a major off-season product, with further development on powder ranges in the future.
“It is a sensational eating plum, so we will always have a fresh fruit offering in season, and we are looking to grow in select global locations to extend the fresh offering for as long as possible,” Brown explained.
The Queensland-bred plum is grown across Australia, with the largest plantations in south eastern Queensland and additional plantings in Victoria and Western Australia. Harvested from late January until early March, the product is available at major retailer Woolworths in Australia as well as independent retailers in Queensland, and is being exported into markets in Asia, where Brown said the feedback had been positive.
“There is also a keen interest from organic production systems as well as conventional,” Brown explains. “Apart from Australia, these is a small amount of commercial production from Spain and this year, trees have been released in the US. The variety will also be going through quarantine in New Zealand in the next six months, with the aim to have as much of the year as possible filled with a supply of the Queen Garnet plum.”
All it will take for a 52-week supply of the fruit to be available, says Brown, is the righter grower partners in Australia, New Zealand and the US, as well as market access.