Hosted by Sahyadri Farms, the event was an opportunity to present its table grape varietals to Indian growers

Bloom Fresh International has held its first open day in India since its creation last year. The event drew nearly 50 licensed growers and nurseries as well as executives and commercial managers from the Bloom team.

Bloom Fresh open day India

It was hosted by Sahyadri Farms, India’s largest fruit and vegetable value chain, where Bloom has several commercial fields for five of its table grape varietals.

India is the world’s most populous country and a top producer and exporter of table grapes to markets like the Netherlands, UK, Germany, and the Middle East, among others. Bloom currently has 80ha of its grapes planted there and sees plenty of potential to supply both the domestic and international markets with its varietals.

Additionally, India has enabled Bloom to fulfil a crucial harvest window between April and June and supply table grape varieties during a period that has traditionally been a challenge in the past in Europe.

“We are very proud to work with Indian growers and introduce our innovative, healthy, and delicious table grape varietals to this market, to cover local production, and open an earlier commercial window in Europe and the UK,” said Karen Smit-Lotriet, commercial lead for Bloom in India.

“There is a big demand in the country to replace the older legacy varieties with new tasty and crunchy table grapes, which are in high demand from all the major global retailers. Approximately 90 per cent of plantings in India are white seedless varieties, which in turn enables Bloom to offer a myriad of flavours, colours, and tasting sensations to excite consumers throughout the country.”

The Open Day included a tasting of several of Bloom’s varieties including Ivory, Timpson, Allison, and Timco as well as tours of the Sahyadri vineyards. Afterward, attendees were treated to lectures focusing on innovations in table grape breeding, growing, and licensing techniques.

Paresh Bhayani, director of grape exporter Panacea Energizers, has started testing plantations of five new varieties from Bloom, including Allison and Timco. “What I have understood after 20 years [in the industry] is that market demand for new varieties is growing more and more. In India, awareness of this demand has increased, and more farmers are interested in them,” he said in a recent interview.

Bloom said a key aspect of its breeding programme is how grower-friendly the new varieties are as growers in India and around the world require highly productive and easy-to-grow cultivars to help them optimize costs and remain profitable.

“Bloom varieties have shown excellent potential in trial blocks in India. Our growers are very curious and attended the first Bloom Fresh India open day to learn more about how to grow these varieties in India’s subtropical conditions,” said Preetam Chandratreya, CEO of PC Foods, who attended the event.

“We have done our first commercial plantation, and we are waiting for the first crop. PC Foods along with our large group of experienced grape growers and agronomists are committed to making this a huge success.”