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Spain 10/05/2022

A life dedicated to perfection to satisfy the consumer

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In January 2022, we said goodbye to one of the most creative people in the global fruit and vegetable sector, Arsène Maillard, whose work as a breeder and editor of plant varieties remains with us as a valuable legacy.

 

Arsène was born in Brittany in 1929, in a large family that lived isolated in the countryside. The first varietal selections he made were under the expert eye of his father, also a farmer, to renew his own seeds.

 

At the National School of Horticulture in Versailles he became an agronomist and worked as technical director of the Domaine de Castang in Bergerac throughout his life. There he actively participated with INRA and CTIFL in the elaboration of the first French certification protocol for fruit material.

 

In the 1950s, as a result of a joint effort with Gilbert Herman, he introduced the first emblematic varieties of American nectarines and peaches: O'Henry®, Red Diamond®, Elegant Lady® and Summergrand®, in collaboration with breeders such as Fred Anderson, Grand Merrill and Weinberger.

 

He was one of the pioneers in introducing this new revolutionary material to the world of fruit production in France, moving from a traditional model to an industrial model.

 
 
The varietal selection and the first success
 
In the 80's he harvested the first results of his work: Julie Tendresse® or Sensation® and Symphonie®.
 
In 1979 he met his wife, Laurence, at the Domaine de Castang, where she worked and participated in all the activities organized by him. In 1986 they opened a nursery near Perpignan. There they continued to develop the varietal selection: Big Bang®, Sweetcap® and Pluplus®.
 
As a result of a climatic catastrophe that affected the facilities of his new company, and which prevented them from maintaining their economic independence, Domaine de Castang became a partner in this company.
 
Sweetcap® became the first flat peach variety to gain international popularity, especially in Spain.
 
The foundation of the company Agro Sélections Fruits (A.S.F.) in 1996 allowed them to pursue the goal of developing varieties of fruit with an excellent flavor, good presentation, long shelf life and resistance to disease.
 
They were the first to classify varieties according to the level of acidity. It was thought that in the Nordic countries they did not like sugary fruit and varieties with a high level of acidity had to be developed. However, Arsène always said that the semi-sweet flavor is the most appreciated. Over time this type of fruit was really recognized in the Nordic markets.
 
Then, Arsène and Laurence delved into the development of round and flat peaches and nectarines, and for the first time they gave Spanish farmers access to this genetic improvement and opened the doors of their farm to the fruit and vegetable sector in general. In addition, they developed a selection of varieties of apples, cherries and apricots.
 
For his contributions to French arboriculture, in 1997, Arsène was awarded the National Order of Merit medal.
 
 
International development
 
Starting in 2004, the program began its journey around the world to establish relationships with producers from Europe, South Africa, the United States, Australia, Chile, the Maghreb, New Zealand, among others.
 
In 2011, ASF joined the "Fruit Breedomics" project to develop molecular marker-assisted selection, an important step towards developing new working methods.
 
After his first trips to the US, Arsène formed his vision for the plantation of the future. He was convinced that stone fruit plantations should go through a high density that would allow mechanization of production, minimization of risks and higher profitability. He was dealing with pedestrian orchards to harvest without the need for a ladder, adapted for future "robots".
 
In addition, anticipating the evolution of respect for the environment, he minimized phytosanitary treatments for more than 40 years, to the point of eliminating them in some plots.
 
 
 
The Regal'in®, Ondine® and Candine® brands
 
In 2012 Arsène and Laurence launched the REGAL'IN concept, through which they not only created the Regal'in® brand for nectarines and round peaches, but also opened up other products with the Ondine® brand for flat fruits and the Candine brand ® for apples.
 
To give new impetus to the programs created, in 2018 Arsène and Laurence sold ASF to FRUTARIA, the agricultural division of the Spanish group SAMCA. As a result, the implementation of new selection technologies was streamlined and ASF's international projection increased. Today, the ASF team has 20 people involved in research, business development, and field work.
 
Arsène Maillard had the life he wanted, dedicating himself to his passion: varietal improvement with his constant concern to increase fruit consumption. He has therefore left with the satisfaction of having achieved his personal goal of a lifetime.
 

His collaborators express the honor of knowing him, cooperating with him and learning from his experience. In addition, they declare their commitment to continue his work with the necessary equipment and means so that his legacy remains among the people and honors his memory forever.

 

If you need more information about Agro Sélections Fruits, press on the following link to send direct email 

 

 

 

 

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Arsène Maillard had the life he wanted, dedicating himself to his passion: varietal improvement with his constant concern to increase fruit consumption. He has therefore left with the satisfaction of having achieved his personal goal of a lifetime.
   
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