English plum growers have the potential to increase their market share with new red and blue skinned varieties alongside the traditional Victoria crop, according to one of the top breeders.

Nick Dunn, nurseryman at FP Matthews, aims to widen a season that historically peaks in September by introducing earlier varieties to produce a more evenly spread crop in the summer.

He also sees an opportunity in the gap between Victoria and its later successor Marjorie Seedling.

While there are some 300 seedlings being selected for trial on an annual basis, reactively using newly commercialised English developed plums such as Opal, Avalon and Excalibur, Dunn believes that other varieties should be tested, such as Norwegian Mallard and Edda, Yogoslavian Violetta and Valerija, Seneca from Canada and Mirabelle from France. As growers gain more experience growing fruit under cover this could also open the way for Peregrine peaches.