Good Fruit Grower

April 1

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Page 16 of 55 GOOD FRUIT GROWER APRIL 1, 2015 17 Under the initial WA 2 plan, growers who obtained commercial licenses paid a one-time royalty of either $1 a tree or $1,000 per acre for those who planted more than 1,000 trees per acre. The plan called for the tree royalty to increase to $2,000 per acre once production of the apple reached 250,000 boxes. No production royalties were to be charged. Reset button Dr. Jim Moyer, director of the Office of Research at WSU's College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resource Sciences, said WSU has "pushed the reset but- ton" on WA 2 and contracted with PVM to manage the commercialization process for that variety also. Dr. Caroline Ross, food scientist at WSU, and PVM are working on a brand name for the variety. John Reeves, general manager of PVM, said consumer focus groups will give their opinions on the top two or three names the university comes up with. "We want to get consumer input early on, before people put a lot of money into it, to make sure we have something worthwhile," said Reeves. Nursery trees Reeves said Crimson Delight is among the names they are considering, but the whole idea is to find a name that resonates with consumers. "That's the most important thing," he said. "They are the ones who have the money, and if we want the money, we need to do what they want—that's the principle behind this. We want to get consumer input early on, before people put a lot of money into it, to make sure we have something worthwhile." Nurseries grew thousands of WA 2 trees for the initial commercial plantings in 2011. Licensed growers were able to buy as many trees as they liked, but demand fell far short of expectations. Bill Howell, manager of the Northwest Nursery Improvement Institute, said only currently licensed growers can order nursery trees of WA 2, and he was not aware of any being grown. But nurseries still have their mother trees and are ready to make trees if there's demand. Moyer said that plenty of budwood is available, so there would be no restriction on the number of trees a grower could plant under the new plan. PVM will manage the brand and collect royalties from producers. There will likely be a per-tree royalty and pro- duction royalties, though Reeves said the amounts have not yet been finalized. So what happens to the growers already producing the variety as Crimson Delight? Kelly said any currently licensed WA 2 growers who want to switch to the new commercialization program will be able to do so, but they won't have to. "They can proceed as they wish, according to the agreement, and use whatever name they want," he said. However, it's probably in their best interest to go with the new trademark, when it's developed, and be part of the marketing and promotion effort that will eventually take place, he added. Meyer, who's rather fond of Crimson Delight, is not sure he wants to switch. "I don't think we want to change the name of it," he said. "I think it's a great name just like it is." Saunders said that, after developing markets for Crimson Delight, Apple King would not want to change the name of the fruit from its existing plantings. L & M Companies in Yakima sells Apple King's fruit. Saunders said it's been a bright spot in the apple deal and gener- ated good returns even during this difficult marketing season. The company hopes to increase production to around 50,000 boxes. "Right now, the market is good, and it's more like a club variety," he said. "It's one of those specialty type apples." Reeves said he expected all WA 2 growers would be part of the new program. 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