December 6, 2022 | By David Eddy
Building a campus for fruit breeding is not only a practical move for International Fruit Genetics (IFG), it’s an appropriate metaphor for what’s happening in the world of fruit breeding: More fruit varieties are being developed in the private sector. Traditionally a province of Land Grant universities — think the ‘Honeycrisp’ apple, developed at the University of Minnesota — as money has dried up for these universities’ Extension programs. Breeding is not the priority it once was.
November 11, 2022 | FreshPlaza.com
Chile has become a key cherry growing region and recently, fruit breeding company IFG welcomed their growers in the orchards of Northern Chile, in the Ovalle, IV Region to show their Cheery Cherry™ varieties. In addition to the northern part of the country, this variety is also grown in Central Chile, San Vicente TT, VI Region.
In 2016, the first Cheery Cherry™ variety to be commercially planted were Cheery Moon™, and acreage for all Cheery Cherry™ varieties have expanded to 110 acres (44.34 ha) today. “Our varieties are unique because of their early harvest window and low chill hour requirements,” says Alwyn van Jaarsveld, IFG’s International Cherry Commercial Manager. The advantage of low chill is multifold as it allows cherries to be grown in regions that to date were less suitable or even unsuitable for their cultivation. In the last few years, strange weather phenomena globally have resulted in many fruit-growing regions experiencing hotter than normal temperatures. “Low chill cherries are much better adapted to such conditions and allow the opportunity to open the cherry season with amazing flavor and great eating experience. This has always been enticing, yielding value for customers and growers alike.”
October 26, 2022 | By THE PACKER STAFF
Proceeds from the sale of illegally planted grapes will support an organization that helps women who are victims of violence.
Bakersfield, Calif.-based International Fruit Genetics LLC had sought to end the unauthorized growing of its protected table grape varietal Sugar Crisp at a farm in Italy, according to a news release. A Court of Bari judge ruled Sept. 19 that the harvest could be donated to the nonprofit GIFAFFA Onlus, which was allowed to sell the fruit to a soft drink production company.
More than 45 tons of grapes were harvested from 2,284 plants subject to seizure by the court’s decision, the release said.
“Growing plants of any IFG proprietary grape variety without the permission of IFG infringes on our intellectual property rights as well as those of our licensees,” Andy Higgins, CEO of IFG, said in the release. “We will continue to enforce our policies to combat possible activities that violate our rights and those of our licensees.” He said the company is thankful for all who helped during the judicial process.
October 21, 2022 | By Maura Maxwell
International Fruit Genetics and the Peruvian authorities have launched a probe into illegal plantings of IFG’s protected table grape varieties in the country.
The breeder is working with the National Institute for the Defence of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (Indecopi) and the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) in the city of Ica, to identify properties where there is unauthorised planting, cultivating or illegally collecting and selling of the IFG’s protected table grape varieties.
Among the IFG table grape varieties protected by the Peruvian National Registry of Protected Plant Varieties are Sweet Globe, Cotton Candy, Sweet Sapphire, and Jack’s Salute among others, which are duly registered as trademarks in the US and elsewhere.
October 19, 2022 | By FreshPlaza.com
After a three-year hiatus due to pandemic travel restrictions, International Fruit Genetics LLC (IFG) welcomed nearly 300 international licensees, marketers and retail representatives in July and August to experience the company’s Field Days in person. This year’s events broke company records, with the highest attendance recorded in IFG’s Field Day history.
The overwhelming feedback from all who attended is that innovation and variety are crucial to the success of the international table grape industry. This means no gimmicks, just hardy, naturally bred table grapes with the essential texture (crispness and crunchiness) and an array of imaginative flavors that can appeal to a large international clientele of all ages and backgrounds.
October 11, 2022 | By: freshplaza.com
Creating a flavor revolution. That is the mission of California fruit breeder IFG. “About 20 years ago, breeding programs were mostly focused on grower aspects, including tonnage, yield, color and timing,” says Andy Higgins, IFG’s CEO.
When IFG was established back in 2001, consumer experience became the leading factor in the company’s process of developing new varieties. “Our varieties need to tick all the consumer boxes, but also what growers are looking for. The demand of tomorrow’s consumer will be higher than today, and we will need to anticipate that.” An example would be breeding varieties that are more adaptable to an organic way of growing or to climate change. “It is a matter of enhancing positive traits and suppressing negative traits,” added Higgins.
The research and development facility being built in the McFarland area by fruit breeder International Fruit Genetics LLC comes with hopes it will attract not just top scientific talent but also partner companies in the global push for plants that are better suited to extreme weather, drought, disease and labor shortage.
IFG had employee recruitment in mind when it designed the property's series of laboratories, including what would be Kern County's first private-sector, federally certified clean plant-growing facility. The facility's university-like campus was laid out for top biologists from around the country to "feel at home and motivated," CEO Andy Higgins said.
But that's not what Higgins was referring to when he said the company's vision was that "if you build it, they will come." He meant IFG expects to attract and collaborate with automation companies and those using sensor-based algorithms for optimizing moisture and sunlight.
July 18, 2022 | By freshfruitportal.com
The 2022 California table grape season is off to a solid start with similar volumes to 2021 expected, but high costs, the ongoing shipping crisis and the added challenge of inflation remain a cause for concern.
Industry experts told The Grape Reporter about their expectations for the 2022 California grape season.
President of the California Table Grape Commission Kathleen Nave said that current estimates for crop size this year stand at 95 million 19 pounds boxes, similar to last season’s volume of 95.2 million 19 pound boxes.
Although there was a frost in April and a colder spring than usual this year, Elena Aguaron, who is Commercial Manager for the Americas at International Fruit Genetics (IFG), insisted that volumes would not be heavily affected.
July 5, 2022 | By FreshPlaza.com
IFG started a cherry breeding program 21 years ago. With California being their home base, the company is focused on breeding cherries that are suitable for southern California’s climate. This means they need to flourish despite lower winter chill hours and need to do well with a higher amount of summer heat. “Through good and bad fortune, these past 21 years we’ve learned that global warming is a thing,” says Alwyn van Jaarsveld, IFG’s International Commercial Cherry Manager. “The California climate has become warmer and drier, but we’re on the right track bringing new varieties to market that are adaptable.”
June 9, 2022 | By hortidaily.com
The next time you bite into a table grape or a cherry and admire the flavor, size, and texture, think about FruitWorks/IFG, a research and development company located just outside of Bakersfield, CA. They have invested years in natural breeding practices to develop cultivars that are well-known for their resilience and adaptability and feature a worldwide licensing program that prevents overproduction.
FruitWorks/IFG are now building their dream campus on a 160-acre piece of land, complete with greenhouses provided by Agra Tech.
At the center of its new campus, there are three Agra Tech greenhouses featuring a grow house range consisting of three gutter-connected Solar Light 36' x 156' greenhouses with 12' eaves totaling 16,848 sq. ft. that includes positive pressure cooling, air circulation, and insect exclusion, as well as benches, energy curtains, a control system, and a watering boom in the Insulator greenhouse.
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As the CEO of IFG, Andy Higgins brings over 25 years of executive leadership experience to the company. His expertise in managing global, agricultural intellectual property companies is extensive. His mission at IFG is to realize the full potential of company developed fruit varieties. In addition, Andy is vigilant in defending and protecting all intellectual property assets, including trademarks and patents. He achieves these objectives through development of strong teams that are focused on improving the results of its licensees.
Before joining IFG in 2016, Andy served as president of International Master Products Corporation for three years. Previous to that, Andy was CEO of Ecke Ranch, a global agricultural company engaged in the breeding and production of numerous species of ornamental plants. Over his career, Andy has held numerous executive, production, sales and operational positions. He holds a B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture and a Graduate Certificate in Management from UCLA.
Van Kramer is the Chief Financial Officer at IFG. With more that 30 years of financial management experience, Van brings with him an extensive background in finance, accounting, financial planning, budgeting and analysis for food industry companies. Previously Van served as the CFO for California Dairies, Inc. with over $3B in revenue it is the second largest dairy cooperative in the US. Here he led the finance, IT and risk management teams of the company through a company restructure/relocation project, the implementation of a new company wide ERP system, the refinancing of the organizations $500M line of credit as well a major acquisition.
Van is a CPA and holds an MBA in finance from the Leeds School of Business University of Colorado Boulder, and has an undergraduate degree in accounting from the same institution. In his down time, Van and his wife Sheila enjoy traveling and exploring the great outdoors with their two dogs.
Chris Owens has been with IFG since 2016 and is now the Lead Plant Breeder, directing the development of improved varieties of table grapes and sweet cherries. He also directs IFG’s research and development efforts supporting the breeding program, including post harvest evaluations, plant pathology, and genetics. Chris interacts closely with the international technical and commercial teams with the goals to accelerate the adoption and maximize the success of IFG’s new varieties.
Chris holds a BS in Horticulture from the University of Maryland, an MS in Pomology from Cornell University, and a PhD in Plant Breeding & Genetics from Michigan State University. Prior to IFG, Chris spent more than 20 years in germplasm development, breeding, and genetics of both grapevines and cherries. The author of numerous book chapters and scientific articles, he has presented research results at national and international conferences and served on professional societies’ advisory committees.
Giancarlo Mazzini is the Variety Strategy Manager at IFG where he plays an important role in future market analysis, business performance, strategic planning and execution. He leads the Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) and New Product Development (NPD) processes and teams. He manages the varieties’ lifecycle roadmap of the products outlining the end to end vision. He also plays a key role in global forecasting, business intelligence and data integration. Previously Giancarlo worked for almost 3 years as Latin America Regional Manager at IFG establishing the organization and protocols for the region.
Giancarlo holds a BS in Information Engineering and is finishing an Executive MBA from ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He worked with significant companies in Peru as Operations Manager, including Agricola Chapi and Sociedad Agricola Viru , for both fresh and processed produce. Before venturing into agribusiness, he worked for 8 years in multinational industry leaders including Tetra Pak, Owens Illinois and Procter & Gamble where he held Sales and Marketing management positions.
Jennifer Maguire has been a part of the IFG team since 2017, first managing the commercial business in Australia and now leading the global Commercial Team in licensing support and growth initiatives, execution of varietal strategies, product launches, promotional efforts and operational plans.
Jennifer holds a BS in Agriculture Systems and Environment and a MS in Horticulture from the University of California, Davis. Her experience in table grape production, research and development spans more than 20 years. She is a former Viticulture Farm Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension and following her relocation to Australia in 2011, she provided independent consultancy services to table grape growers, fruit breeding companies, industry associations and university partnerships in Australia, S. America and Europe and is an organizing member of the 6 th and 7 th International Table Grape Symposium.
Tersia Marcos, or better known in some regions of the world as Christina, is the International Business Manager for IFG and is responsible for new business development of IFG’s table grapes and cherries worldwide.
As the lead for the IFG’s international development, her goal is to drive key strategies in developing new territories, variety offers, product roadmaps, forecasting modules and inventory planning and marketing strategies to ensure a flawless execution at regional and country levels.
Tersia brings to this position a well established background and network in the global fresh fruit industry. Prior to taking on this position at IFG at the start of 2013, she spent 20+ years in the fresh fruit export sector in South Africa at Unifruco , which became Capespan after deregulation and later at Colors Fruit as New Business Development Director and Marketing & Sales Director and Managing Director: North Africa at Farmsecure Holdings.
She holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. Agriculture degrees from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
Looking for a grape flavor explosion?!? These varieties boast flavors that transport your tastebuds to faraway tropical islands. With nuances of guava, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and some with distinctive strawberry flavor, they are sure to please the most discerning fruit enthusiasts. If you're looking for a grape that packs a flavor punch, this is the category for you!
A new twist on an old-world flavor profile, these grape varieties release a fantastic blend of floral-muscat and fruit-forward aromas when consumed. Hints of rose, peach, citrus, lychee, and orange blossom are just a few ways to describe this divine scent. While the grapes are a tribute to more traditional tastes, their modern flavors boast a superb eating experience. You won't be able to put them down.
Craving a table grape snack with a kick?! These varieties are truly unconventional and for a bold-spirited walk on the wild side. Exploding with exotically unique flavors, which include hints of pepper, cinnamon, and mint. While they exude familiar plummy, jam-like flavors, they also possess a "je ne sais quoi" wow factor. If you're looking for a conversation starter, these grapes are sure to spark fun foody discussions!
Beginning with the Cotton Candy™ grape, IFG was the first to introduce a toffee-flavored variety that continues to captivate consumers of all ages. The variety inspired a "flavor revolution" that IFG is world-famous for. These varieties evoke a sense of youthful nostalgia. Perceived as sweeter than the average grape, they are bursting with unique caramel aroma and flavor, with a hint of vanilla. A healthful and nutritional snack – these are like eating candy, but without the guilt!
These varieties are the true classics, best described as a “grape that tastes like a grape”. Generally larger in size and the perfect blend of sugar, acidity, and crunchiness, the eating experience is always refreshing and delicious. These varieties are an upgrade to traditional table grapes – delivering on the high-quality expectations IFG fruit is known for.