EMCO CAL launches new generation of raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry varieties
A new generation of raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry varieties for fresh and frozen markets is now available to nurseries, growers, marketers, exporters, and retailers through Ekland Marketing Company, Inc. (EMCO CAL). These varieties are selected for better fruit quality, higher yields, adaptation to different climates and growing areas ranging from Temperate, Mediterranean to Subtropical and Tropical climates. EMCO CAL is one of the most recognized companies in the field of strawberry varieties, with more than 40 years of experience in the selection, marketing, and licensing of new varieties in more than 70 countries. EMCO CAL has now expanded to raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries.
New Raspberry Variety
Kokanee is a new primocane raspberry variety developed by the well-known breeding program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) at Corvallis, Oregon – by the prominent breeder Dr. Chad Finn (deceased).
The Kokanee raspberry variety stands out for being a thornless primocane that has fantastic flavor, great firmness, and high productivity. Because of its primocane fruiting characteristic, Kokanee requires no chill hours which allows it to grow in Mediterranean, Tropical, and Subtropical environments, in addition to Temperate climates. Kokanee is very precocious and matures early. Under suitable planting conditions, the variety can produce fruit within five months after planting. Kokanee is so productive that it needs suitable pruning to ensure large fruit size, and the yield of Kokanee is so large that even properly pruned plants produce a sizeable crop.
Cascade Harvest is a new floricane variety developed by Dr. Patrick Moore of the Washington State University (WSU). Cascade Harvest is also thornless, offers high fruit quality, excellent firmness, high productivity, and great resistance to pests and diseases. The fruit is firm, large, and easy to harvest. It can be machine harvested for IQF or handpicked for fresh markets. It is a medium chill variety, requiring approximately 600 chill hours. The production window for Cascade Harvest is early (December-January in the Southern Hemisphere, June-July in the Northern Hemisphere).
The timing can be adapted to the needs of the producer by using “long canes.” The Long-Cane production system allows for programmed fruit production during all 12 months of the year in any climate (some climates require cover and temperature, so raspberry production can be timed for the desired weeks.
New Blackberry Variety
EMCO CAL has the great honor to represent the world famous blackberry breeding program at the University of Arkansas, headed by Dr. John Clark. Dr. Clark has developed fully commercial primocane blackberry varieties, which require no chill at all to produce fruit. These new primocane blackberries include the Mary Carmen® brand (APF 122 variety) and the thornless Traveler™ brand (APF 190T variety). These primocane varieties are highly productivity, with good flavor and excellent post-harvest shelf-life.
The USDA small fruit breeding program at Corvallis, Oregon, has also developed several thornless floricane blackberry varieties that cover a Northern Hemisphere fruit producing period starting in May and extending through late September. These varieties, in maturity sequence, are Columbia Giant, Columbia Sunrise, Hall’s Beauty, Eclipse, Galaxy, and Twilight. All these varieties are suitable for both fresh, frozen, and processing markets. They have very firm fruit and can be machine harvested or hand-picked. They are all medium chill varieties, requiring a minimum of approximately 500 chill hours per year.
New Blueberry Variety
Mini Blues is a new blueberry variety from the USDA program at Corvallis, Oregon, characterized by its outstanding and intensely sweet, delicious flavor, tremendous yield, and small fruit size. The flavor of Mini Blues has been called “gourmet,” and its small sized gourmet fruit is unforgettable. It can be machine harvested for processing or hand picked for fresh. Mini Blues is a medium chill variety, requiring a minimum of approximately 800 chill hours.
The Benefits of Berries
The berry offering in grocery stores continues to be a primary factor in the consumers’ impression of quality in grocery stores. If the berry quality is good, consumers tend to perceive that the entire produce section is also high quality. The society changing COVID-19 experience is also driving consumers to purchase and eat an constantly increasing amount of berries in their search for healthy foods. Raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry varieties are nutritious and healthy, provide few calories, are virtually fat-free, and have a low glycemic index. In addition, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber and provide significant amounts of vitamins and antioxidants. These new raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry varieties are valuable products for nurseries, growers, and marketers interested in meeting the growing demands for these berries that are so highly appreciated for their nutritional quality and health benefits.