Innovation Programme

The Burchell Difference

The Burchell Nursery, Inc. ® is a third generation, family-owned company based in California. It is a bare root and container nursery which services growers of stone fruit, citrus, almonds, walnuts, olives and other tree species as well. The Nursery generally provides annually 3 million finished, budded trees for commercial growers.

The nursery has long been associated with quality genetics. In 1975 the nursery, along with Grant Merrill, released the Elegant Lady peach. In 1989 the Breeding Program was started by John Slaughter and Tim Gerdts. In 2012, Kaylan Roberts joined John in improving and expanding their goals. The Breeding Programme has a mission to provide ever-improving genetics to the industry, and has focused its efforts in eating quality, productivity, disease resistances, and improving post-harvest.

They have also done significant work in rootstocks for stone fruit and almonds, its most recent release being Cornerstone ™ rootstock. Cornerstone’s ™ attributes include:

  • Extreme drought tolerance
  • PH tolerance
  • Nematode resistances
  • Improved productivity
  • Higher fruit quality
  • ​Compatible with almond, stone fruit
  • Uniformity
  • Vigorous
  • Red-leafed

Since its inception, the Burchell Breeding Programme has:

  • Patented over 70 varieties of stone fruit
  • Provided quality genetics to their partners in Australia, Chile, South Africa, and Europe

Click here to read more on the Burchell Breeding Program

OZ Blueberries

The Oz Blueberry range of varieties was bred by David Mazzardis from Perth, Australia and consists of very low-chill and even evergreen blueberry varieties suitable for climates where winter chilling is limited.

Oz Blueberries have been bred with the same non-melting goal as the OZ peach and nectarine, thereby extending the shelf life and making it favourable for sea freight. This means better taste and quality for a longer period of time.

Oz Blueberries are characteristically larger in size averaging over 20mm in diameter with many as large as 30mm. The aim of the programme is to continually improve the flavour, whilst pursuing a crunchy berry that “pops” in your mouth.

Click here to read more on David Mazzardis or the OZ breeding programmes

OZ Peaches / Nectarines

The Oz Peach Breeding Programme

Over the last 20 years the Oz Peach breeding programme, jointly owned by David & Leasa Mazzardis and Peter Rolfe has focused on development of firm flesh varieties of peaches and nectarines with low-chill requirements.

Innovative West Australian breeders, David and Leasa Mazzardis, own and manage the highly successful ‘Yanchep Springs’ orchard, which is just a one hour drive north of Perth. As a result of his ground-breaking work in the development of early season, low chill, firm flesh peach and nectarine varieties, David is regarded as an industry leader.

Oz Peach, has been able to develop superior, early season selections which avoid the problems common to most low-chill varieties. The selections developed do not suffer from early tip softening, with the result that fruit can be left to mature on the trees. All Oz Peach selections of white and yellow firm flesh peaches and nectarines meet the highest standards in terms of appearance, eating quality, size, colour and aroma. 

The fruit is characterised by its consistent, predominantly red colouring, enticing rich aroma, uniform large size and its outstanding flavour. Oz Peach varieties are now being commercially grown in South Africa and United Exports has the sole right to plant OZ varieties in the Southern Hemisphere.

Benefits for consumers

  • Availability of high quality, early season peaches and nectarines.
  • Fruit has exceptional flavour, aroma & storage qualities.

Benefits for retailers

  • Customer satisfaction and increased consumer demand.
  • Buyers, who are initially enticed by appearance and aroma, keep purchasing the product because of flavour and quality.
  • Significant decrease in in-store waste.
  • 3-4 weeks earlier than traditional South African Peach & Nectarine varieties.

Click here to read more on the OZ Peach/Nectarine