In the United States, blueberries are the second-most produced berry, and their popularity has grown exponentially in less than 30 years – up from 45,000 tons grown in the 1990s to 339,000 tons in 2019. ARS researchers are working hard to help farmers keep up with consumer demand.
Researchers at the Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research (HPCGIR) Unit in Corvallis, OR, are developing new cultivars of not just blueberry, but also blackberry, red raspberry, black raspberry, and strawberry to meet the needs of growers in the Pacific Northwest.
“In blueberry, we focus on improving the shelf life of fruit so that it reaches consumers with consistently better texture and flavor,” said Claire Luby, plant geneticist with HCPGIR. “This also means developing new types of blueberries that are easier to harvest using mechanical harvesting equipment.”
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