NIAB is reporting 'unprecedented interest' in demand for Malling Ace strawberry plants, with forward orders already being made up to the 2025 growing season.
Launched at Fruit Focus in July 2021, everbearing Malling Ace is described as having 'exceptional fruit quality, matching that of the best June-bearer varieties, and is proving to be the variety of choice for those wishing to adopt that growing system.'
Malling Ace is the latest in the pipeline of Malling Fruits, with further new varieties in trial covering strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, apples, and fruit tree rootstocks.
Tom Pearson, from Hugh Lowe Farms in Kent, said Malling Ace has a good balance between generative and vegetive growth so needs only moderate input to manage the canopy. 'We have implemented a robust disease plan covering climate, nutrition, site selection and crop protection, so we have seen minimal issues. Fruit size has been superb and picking productivity great with a very high percentage of class 1,' he explained. 'It’s an attractive berry with very good eating quality.”
Bart Jongenelen, based at the Delphy Innovate Soft Fruit Centre in the Netherlands, added: “We’re producing Malling Ace for a second year. It has some great traits like excellent fruit shape and fruit size. Taste and production wise it also performs excellently. We had Malling Ace on the tabletops in 2020 and 2021, and with the experience being positive, we have decided to make Malling Ace one of our main everbearing varieties for non-breeding related trials.”
Will Roberts, business development manager at NIAB, said: “There is clearly a remarkable level of interest in Malling Ace. As more growers experience this great new variety, we will doubtless see that interest continue to rise.”