Blueberry varieties and market requirements
Choosing the right variety of blueberries is one of the key elements of future success in an increasingly competitive market Breeders continue their attempts to provide the best planting material. As a result, the entire industry can continue to grow dynamically in different parts of the world.
New varieties from Fall Creek
Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc., a global blueberry breeding and nursery company, has announced the introduction of five new varieties this month in its new licensing option for commercial growers. In late 2019, the company officially launched The Fall Creek Collection™, its new blueberry genetics and services offering that provides growers with an assured pipeline of blueberry varieties for all chill levels, as well as technology transfer and horticultural support services through the company’s applied research and grower support teams. The new varieties (names pending) include four developed for mid- and high-chill growing regions and one more for low chill climates.
Ronnie Kersten, Fall Creek’s key account manager for Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa (EMEA), will be presenting information on the new mid- and high-chill blueberry varieties at the eighth International Blueberry Conference, March 4-6 in Poland.
“This new business model will help us to deliver on our mission to our customers,” Kersten says. “In addition, these new blueberry varieties and others in the pipeline will increase the quality of the fruit in the marketplace and attract more consumers.”
Initial varieties already available in the collection include three for no chill climates—AtlasBlueTM ‘FCM12-045’, BiancaBlueTM ‘FCM12-087’ and JupiterBlueTM ‘FCM12- 131’—which have been trialed in Mexico, Peru, Iberia and Morocco and selected for their superior fruit quality. Initial commercial evaluation of these varieties in low chill regions is showing promise.
“The Fall Creek Collection is the first global genetics and services ecosystem for all chill levels in blueberries,” says Fall Creek Co-CEO Cort Brazelton. “The model is built to optimize flexibility and the independence of professional growers and grower-marketers who want to plan for future business growth with confidence while reducing the risk of adopting new varieties.”
At a time when access to the best blueberry genetics is both increasingly costly and restrictive for fruit producers, the Fall Creek Collection offers simplicity in access together with increased technical engagement and agility for blueberry businesses focused on the future. Qualified commercial growers pay a simple fee structure, consisting of a low license fee per territory, a standard one-time plant royalty, and a fixed low annual subscription cost.
“We are investing in expanding the team and delivering substantial enhancements in technical information and guidelines on how to optimize these varieties,” says Commercial Director Jason Wolcott. “Wherever you’re growing blueberries, we have new genetics for you to investigate.”
Licensees in the Fall Creek Collection can expect access to current and new varieties as well as a pipeline of future releases from Fall Creek’s high, mid, low and no chill breeding programs.
“As we expand our global applied research initiatives, licensees of The Fall Creek Collection will not only have access to trial sites, but also opportunities to evaluate current releases and advance selections under commercial management systems,” says Director of Product Development & Commercialization Matt Kramer. “The real-world conditions and scale will allow us to identify practices that will bring out the best of each genotype, to optimize yield and post-harvest characteristics while reducing harvest costs.”
In a business environment where innovation is in high demand, the risk of adopting new varieties is increasing for blueberry growers. “Our job at Fall Creek is to continuously strive to reduce that risk for our grower-customers,” says Brazelton. “We’re here to help accelerate the adoption of new varieties and innovations so professional growers can be protected while the offering to consumers continuously improves.”
Founded by the Brazelton family in Lowell, Ore., U.S., Fall Creek has focused on serving the needs of the blueberry industry in its health and sustainability for more than four decades. For more information about the company, visit www.fallcreeknursery.com.
Ronnie Kersten – Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Nederlands