October 2022 - 5
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them near Stockton to see how they'd fare
during California's hot, sunny summers.
They were sold on the Modì and each
planted small acreage.
In addition to their own orchards, the
Rajkoviches custom farm about 600 acres
near Walnut Grove for JJB Family Farms,
which holds the North American rights to
the club variety.
California grown for
Derrell Kelso, Modì Apple USA
manager with JJB, said retail interest in the
new variety has been strong and continues
to grow. This year, the club variety will
be in nearly 1,300 stores in California,
including Kroger (Ralphs), Vons, Sprouts,
Safeway Tracy and Save Mart/Lucky. He
said he expected volume of about 40,000
Kelso said they're promoting the
Modì as the " California apple grown for
Californians, and a lot of the California
retailers like to support California-grown
Rather than shipping the variety to a few
stores all over the country, he said they're
taking a targeted approach and saturating
the market within the state. After all,
Kelso pointed out, California alone has 40
million potential consumers.
In addition to loose fruit, the club variety is being offered
in 2-pound bags as well as 3-pound clamshells (pictured)
of Modì Apple Bites - 138s or fruit about 2- to 2 1/4-inch
diameter. Photo: Modì USA/JJB Family Farms
response codes that take consumers
to an educational video on the Modì
Based on projected volume, Kelso said
they could be selling 200,000 to 300,000
cartons in about three to four years.
From Italy's Po Valley
From the Italian breeding consortium
Consorzio Italiano Vivaisti, or C.I.V.,
Modì is a club variety developed in
Italy's Po Valley that does well under hot
Mediterranean growing conditions.
C.I.V. also touts the variety as " green "
because of its reduced environmental
footprint. It requires less water, is resistant
to scab and requires fewer fungicide
applications than many other varieties.
Known technically as CIVG198, Modì
is a cross between Liberty and Gala. The
skin is dark red with a touch of yellow.
The juicy, crisp flesh has a sweet flavor,
finishing with a hint of tartness.
The fruit is harvested in mid- to late
August and placed in cold storage for four
to six weeks to mellow and allow some
of the starch to convert to sugar, Kelso
said. The marketing season typically runs
through the end of the year.
Unlike with previous California-grown
varieties, he said retailers continue to
support the Modì even after Washington
enters the market.
" As long as it eats good, they don't care, "
he said. " We're not in a big rush to hurry
up and sell them. "
A forklift driver stacks bins of freshly
harvested Modì apples for transit to cold
storage and eventual packing. Photo:
" When you spend marketing dollars on
TV ads or promotions on cooking shows,
you get the most bang for the buck in that
area, " he said of the focused approach.
The goal is to get consumers to try the
new variety, and pricing is competitive
" If they eat (the Modì) and they like it,
they're going to keep buying it, " Kelso said.
In addition to loose fruit, the club
variety is being offered in 2-pound bags
and 3-pound clamshells of Modì Apple
Bites - 138s or fruit about 2- to 2 1/4inch
diameter. Smaller fruit also goes into
school lunch programs within California.
In addition, JJB is working with San
Antonio-based H-E-B Grocery this season
to trial larger sized 72s at 10 of its high-end
Central Market stores.
All of the fruit decals, containers
and point-of-sale materials have quickLearning
more every year
Randy Rajkovich's small Modì orchard
near Stockton is planted on M9 dwarfing
rootstock with 3-by-12-foot spacing. He
is using a two-dimensional high-density
training system, often referred to as a
The trellis' top wire is 10 feet tall,
allowing for full sun coverage of the trees
without any shading as the sun moves
from east to west. The trellis system also
lends itself to robotic harvesting once the
technology is commercialized, he said.
If there is a downside to the variety,
Rajkovich said it may be sunburn as the
crops grow larger with tree maturity. He
applied Raynox Sun Protectant three times
this season, starting when the fruit was
about the size of a golf ball.
" Sunburn is a cumulative problem, "
Rajkovich said. " It builds up over time. I
like to start early in the production year. "
Each year, the producers and JJB learn
more about how to best grow the Modì
variety under California conditions. FGN
FGN | OCTOBER 2022 | 5
LONGER FRUIT BUD
* Exclusive trailing edge wedge increases
fan area coverage - 43% more
* 60 second mixing air movement on
fruit bud - 72% more
* 80 degree sector angle coverage -
largest in industry
* Faster temperature rise on
orchard floor - warmer air
draw from higher up in
atmosphere - more air
movement directly under
Modì apples naturally turn a dark red with a touch of yellow under
California's Mediterranean climate. Photo: Vicky Boyd
Workers pick Modì apples in Randy Rajkovich's orchard near Stockton, California.
Photo: Vicky Boyd
Standard equipment, no additional charge
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of October 2022
October 2022 - 1
October 2022 - 2
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October 2022 - 5
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October 2022 - 8
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October 2022 - 11
October 2022 - 12
October 2022 - 1A
October 2022 - 2A
October 2022 - 3A
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October 2022 - 5A
October 2022 - 6A
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