Licensing deal moves AU-patented kiwifruit into marketplace

5 Mar

AU Golden Sunshine kiwifruit is among the Auburn-patented varieties now available.

Auburn University–patented kiwifruit varieties are now on the market, offering home gardeners across central and south Alabama a new and refreshing fruit possibility and the region’s produce farmers a promising high-value specialty crop.

Included among those varieties are a “traditional” kiwifruit—the fuzzy, egg-shaped fruit with bright-green, seed-studded flesh and a distinctive sweet-tart taste—and a couple of yellow-fleshed varieties characterized by smooth skin and a smooth, sweet flavor. They are the “goldens.”

“The first gold kiwi I had, as soon as I tasted it, I knew it was something that would be a hit,” says Wayne Bassett, owner of Beck’s Turf and The Wildlife Group in Macon County. So strongly did he believe in the fruit’s potential that, working through Auburn’s Office of Technology Transfer, he licensed the patented varieties and now has exclusive rights to sell the kiwifruit vines through a newly established entity, Gold Kiwi Group LLC.

Spearheaded by now-retired horticulture professor Billy Dozier, Auburn’s kiwifruit research project was aimed at determining whether the subtropical fruit could be grown in Alabama, not merely in home landscapes but as a commercial crop for fruit and vegetable producers.

The initial research was limited to traditional green-fleshed kiwifruit varieties, but in the early 1990s, Dozier and team added two golden varieties—Dragon and Sunshine—that had been developed at Hubei Academy of Agricultural Sciences’ Institute of Fruit and Tea in China to the scientific trials. As was the case with the green-fleshed varieties, the goldens proved, and continue to prove, hardy and prolific.

Read the full story here.

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