An exciting range of new low-chill blueberry varieties launched last year are now being more widely planted in Europe and Morocco. Plants365, a nursery business based in the UK, and with production in the EU, is licenced for these new low-chill cultivars across Greater Europe and North Africa. Bred at the University of Georgia in the USA, the varieties Early Duchess, Maverick, Gladiator, Ava and Ambrosia are bearing fruits in the EU as well as in Morocco. In addition to the Early Duchess, Maverick, Gladiator and Ava varieties, Sweet Duchess is also available in both Kazakhstan and Georgia.
Commenting on these developments, Stefan Belakov, director of Plants365 stated, “with the recent changes to travel restrictions, I've been able to visit both commercial and testing sites planted with these blueberry varieties. Along with the growers, I've been very excited to see and taste these excellent cultivars. The blueberry market in terms of new varieties is changing rapidly at the moment as the sector is demanding an increasingly performant eating experience. These varieties do deliver consistently large, firm and sweet berries. As a result, we are seeing a significant demand for plants to be planted in the next two years.”
Already widely planted in other parts of the world, varieties such as Maverick, Sweet Duchess, Gladiator and Early Duchess are showing the same improved characteristics in terms of fruit quality and yields in Europe and Northern Africa.
Belakov continued, “as well as exciting feedback from growers, we are receiving encouraging reports from retailers and produce marketing businesses. From this, we see strong opportunities to market some of the cultivars in this range within premium lines. Size and firmness are taken as “givens” these days when it comes to the new blueberry genetics, but the point of difference that we are able to offer is the improved flavour profile, in conjunction.”
As the company increases plant numbers over the next few years, expect to see more and more fruit on retailers’ shelves accordingly.
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