For 50 years, the Zaiger family has been striving for a perfect piece of fruit: juicy like a plum, but not as messy. Sweeter, too, with a cherry snap.
Breeding hybrids is a pain-staking and slow process, with a new fruit that makes it to market coming maybe once in 1,000 tries, fruit breeders and growers say. If successful, the Zaigers' genetic cross of plum and cherry would join the Pluot and Aprium—combinations of plum and apricot—in the firm's array of hybrid fruits available in produce aisles world-wide.
"We want real sugar fruit. We want you to have to go to the dentist," says Dan Spain, vice president of sales and marketing at Kingsburg Orchards of Kingsburg, Calif., one of the big growers of specialty hybrid fruit.
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