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Greg Martin 01/31/06 Add variety to blueberry growing season
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Fruit Grower Report
Date: January 31, 2006

Like just about all fruit commodities, the blueberry industry is attempting to expand both the growing season and profit opportunities by developing new varieties. And according Dr. Wei Yang of Oregon State Universitys North Willamette Research Station, the future of the blueberry industry reaching such goals will hinge on three promising varieties that were released in 2001. And what is intriguing to the blueberry industry is that each variety could fill a niche at different times for the growing season. For example, perhaps the most promising variety of the three is Draper, a strong early season compliment to one of the industrys most recognizable blueberries.

YANG: Basically, were looking for kinds of alternatives because you only have Duke as a very good, worthy cultivar. Now we have Draper.

But in the effort to expand the growing season, other varieties show promise to join the twenty-plus currently produced by growers. One of those is a potential mid-to-late season, meaning picked between August and September, variety called Liberty.

YANG: Libertys are very good, sweet, and very firm cultivars, which is a very good addition to the industry.

And a third variety, Aurora, could provide a strong contrast to the predominant late season blueberry variety.

YANG: Elliot has been known to be soft, and basically, its tart. But the Aurora seems to be very firm, and it tastes good. So it could be a very good one for late season varieties.

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