Wawona Acquires Stonefruit Breeding Operations and Associated Genetics of Burchell Nursery
- by Jordan Okumura
CUTLER, CA - Wawona Packing Company announced it has acquired the stonefruit breeding assets of Burchell Nursery Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, Wawona will acquire Burchell’s stonefruit breeding program, which includes more than 60 patented varieties of high-quality stonefruit trees and their associated genetics.
"We are excited about adding Burchell’s breeding team to Wawona and will work closely with them as we invest in the business to build an industry-leading breeding program,” Will Feliz, Chief Executive Officer of Wawona, said. “This acquisition enhances Wawona’s vertical integration, continues our commitment to innovation, and will enhance our ability to bring the highest quality tree fruit to our retail customers. We plan to maintain a close partnership with Burchell through a licensing agreement that will provide the market with continued access to the high-quality stonefruit trees that Burchell is known for."
According to a press release, Burchell has a legacy in breeding best-in-class varieties of stonefruit for more than 30 years. Burchell’s trademarked series of peaches and nectarines, Flame® and Flare®, respectively, are well-recognized in the industry for their flavor profile and consistent quality across multiple commodities throughout the season.
Burchell’s breeding team will join Wawona as full-time employees, providing continuity in the testing of varieties that are currently in development. This long-term focus will build upon the Burchell legacy in bringing the highest quality tree fruit to market. As part of the transaction, Wawona has acquired the exclusive right to propagate the Summer Flame26, 29, 34 and August Flame varieties, as well as the right to use Cornerstone rootstock in stone fruit in the United States. Burchell will retain its tree nut germplasm and varieties, including its signature Shasta® almond.
"Our agreement with Wawona enables us to realize the value of our stone fruit portfolio while still providing our customers with the high-quality trees and stone fruit varieties they expect from us,” said Tom Burchell, President and Chief Executive Officer of Burchell. “Our nursery will continue to focus on creating the most vigorous, healthy trees possible and offer our diversified pipeline of tree nut varieties, including Shasta® almonds. Looking ahead, we will continue to be driven by our passion for science and developing the best trees and best results for our customers."
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