The University of Florida’s (UF) blueberry breeding program has been bringing growers new varieties for over 40 years. Patricio Munoz, assistant professor at UF and head of the blueberry breeding program, recently highlighted two varieties released in 2016, Keecrisp and Patrecia.
According to Munoz, Keecrisp is a very crisp variety, hence the name. This variety creates a firm fruit. “It’s one of the firmest that we have,” he said. The fruit has a round, small scar. Munoz said this variety is also very tasty with good sugar levels and a good ratio with acidity.
Keecrisp’s chilling hours can pose an issue for growers south of Central Florida. Munoz said Keecrisp has a steep chilling requirement, making this variety more of a viable candidate for growers in Gainesville and further north. Keecrisp seems to have a good yield, as long as adequate chilling hours are reached.
One of the main goals of the blueberry breeding program is to develop varieties that will cost growers less in terms of production. One way to achieve this is developing varieties that hold great potential for mechanized harvesting. Due to Keecrisp’s firmness, it could be a potential candidate for machine harvesting in the future.
Patrecia, on the other hand, has less potential for machine harvesting. According to Munoz, the fruit is very large, and the clusters are tight. Munoz compared the clusters to those of the Emerald variety. Patrecia is more sensitive when compared to Keecrisp. “It might tear, so it needs to be picked with more care,” he said.
Although Patrecia’s fruit is weaker than Keecrisp, Munoz said that Patrecia has a very tasty fruit.
Find out more about the blueberry breeding program and its varieties at https://www.blueberrybreeding.com/.
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