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Pink Flesh Apples

Monterey, CA: (May-07-08) Priscilla Higuera, a Carmel Valley woman, brought a lawsuit against Earthbound Farms, alleging that Earthbound's research director sneaked onto her Tassajara Road property and took clippings from her rare apple tree to propagate a profitable orchard. Higuera filed the lawsuit in January 2007, claiming that she came home one day in 2001 to find someone had hacked clippings from her 75-year-old apple tree.

The tree is said to produce a rare variety of pink-fleshed fruit. In October 2006, she saw Mark Marino of Earthbound Farms quoted in a local newspaper about a rare pink apple tree in Carmel Valley, and how he had sleuthed it out to start a new orchard. Records show that Earthbound Farms had been selling the fruit to upscale local restaurants, including Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn and Marinus at the Bernardus Lodge.

As part of a settlement reached in the case, sources said that Earthbound Farms, though not admitting wrongdoing, agreed to pay Higuera a six-figure settlement to resolve claims. Additionally, the company and its parent, Natural Selection Foods, agreed to turn over its entire fall harvest to Higuera, and then carefully uproot the 150 trees so they can be transplanted to a location of her choice. Marino, who earlier denied the allegations against him, later admitted his actions in a deposition for the lawsuit. [THE MONTEREY COUNTY HERALD: C.V. WOMAN PREVAILS OVER EARTHBOUND]

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Published on May-9-08


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