The University of Georgia-bred varieties are also now available in Kazakhstan and Georgia

Plants365 says uptake of its new range of low-chill blueberry varieties, launched last year, is increasing across Europe and Morocco. The UK-based nursery business holds the license for the cultivars across Greater Europe and North Africa.

Stefan Belakov of Plants365

Stefan Belakov of Plants365

Bred at the University of Georgia in the US, the varieties Early Duchess, Maverick, Gladiator, Ava and Ambrosia are available in both Kazakhstan and Georgia.

Stefan Belakov, director of Plants365 said, “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, he said 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.

“As well as exciting feedback from growers, we are receiving encouraging reports from retailers and produce marketing businesses,” Belakov continued.

“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.”

The company said it expects to see more fruit on retailers’ shelves as it increases plant numbers over the next few years.