Hybridisation: patient and fine-tuned expertise

Following in the footsteps of René Monteux-Caillet, Alexandre Bouche has spent the last 15 years patiently and passionately hybridising and selecting varieties of apricot, peach and nectarine with multiple objectives in mind: taste quality, regular production and high agronomic potential, adaptation to climate change and resistance to pests and diseases.

The molecular marker-assisted selection tools developed over the last few years for the breeding programme support this long and patient work, which combines science and intuition, with the aim of meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s arboriculture.

AC FRUIT in figures

Initially set up in 2009 on the Poscros site, in the heart of the Crau plain in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, AC FRUIT moved its variety selection activity to Rochegude in the Drôme department in 2016.

More than 30,000 hybrids and almost 500 varieties are planted in this more demanding terroir than the Crau, on a plot of around 20 hectares. Every year, 4,000 to 5,000 new peach and nectarine hybrids (round, flat, bloody) are created from around thirty types of crossbreeding.

The Poscros site remains entirely dedicated to testing new selections and presenting them to growers and STAR FRUITS licensees.

A little bit of history

When Mr René Monteux-Caillet ceased his hybridisation activities, initiated in the Crau in 1982, the company AC FRUIT was formed to take over and continue this varietal creation work.

It brings together several French players in the stone fruit sector: FRUITS ET COMPAGNIE, FRUITS UNION and STAR GROUP to work on a joint project that is being built up over the long term. For 40 years, this breeding programme has produced varieties, distributed exclusively by STAR FRUITS, which have contributed to the success of the industry. It is also the source of the first blood nectarines marketed under the Nectavigne® brand.

Today, AC FRUIT varieties account for over 30% of the renewal of the French orchard and are developed all over the world through the network of sub-licensees of STAR FRUITS, the exclusive publisher.