At a recent meeting to discuss the release of the Marathon mandarin in the Fast Track citrus evaluation program, the program manager said Fast Track selections have had varying fortunes.
“The purpose of this program is to take things that look promising and then get them out into the hands of nurseries and growers as fast as possible,” says Peter Chaires, executive director of New Varieties Development and Management Corp. “So we’re to the point where I think we’re seeing some that are not working, others that the jury’s still out, and others yet that people are moving forward commercially.” He says that’s OK, because sometimes it’s “as valuable to know what hole not to step in as it is to know the winners.”
Chaires says approximately 200 growers have registered to grow the 16 selections that were previously released under Fast Track since its inception about six years ago. Nine selections were released in the first “suite” of releases, three in the second, and four in the third, Chaires says.
Marathon is the only selection being released this time. Chaires describes Marathon as a mandarin that matures in August or September. “It remains firm and packable all the way up into mid-January,” he says. “So far the trees appear to be holding up reasonably well with HLB.”
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