+++ May 20, 2021 +++


Horticulture extension specialists at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Amanda McWhirt and Dr. Jackie Lee, conducted a Blackberry School in Arkansas through the early part of 2017.

Recordings from these events were used to hold live webinars to train county agents in the fall of 2017. Funding was provided by the Southern Region Small Fruit Consortium for this training.

The course consists of four classes timed to match the four seasons of the year. Each class is made up of 3-4 short talks that focus on the activities and best-management practices that should be conducted in blackberry production during that season.

Spring Class

(Webinar held November 2, 2017)

+++ February 22, 2021 +++

Winter Class

(Webinar held October 26, 2017)

+++ November 19, 2020 +++


Now available in the Peruvian market!

Sugar Belle® Brand LB8 9 Variety – HLB Tolerant

There is no other variety on the market with a better tolerance to HLB, a deadly, global disease to citrus fruit and trees. The Sugar Belle® brand stands out for its Tangelo shape, intense orange color, unique flavor and aroma, superior yield, and high content of vitamin C (+ 40% than most commercial varieties). An excellent option for early exporters of mandarin fruit when prices are favorable.


Huanglongbing (HLB) also known as “Citrus Greening” caused by the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter spp., raises concerns amongst the global citrus industry. The Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 mandarin hybrid is the most tolerant variety to HLB currently available in the global citrus market. It is now available to Peruvian nurseries, producers, and exporters through Ekland Marketing Company of California, Inc., (EMCO CAL), an American company with more than 30 years of experience in the sector, present in more than 70 countries, and recognized in the field of new varieties of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, and now citrus.


HLB is the most serious citrus pest in the world, producing bitter, misshapen fruit, and subsequent plant death. HLB has destroyed citrus production around the world, such as Florida in the United States where it has caused a 90% decrease in production and large losses with an annual economic impact of US $ 8.6 billion.


The Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 cv. is a mandarin hybrid that combines the shape and appearance of a tangelo with the size and intense, bright orange color of a clementine. Sugar Belle® was selected by Dr. Fred Gmitter and his team at the University of Florida (UF) for its excellent taste and disease tolerance. Sugar Belle® is allusive to its flavor and aroma; it scored highly in tasting panels across the US. Its intense sweetness (14.2 Brix) offsets its acidity very well.


The variety has very low to no seeds. The size of the fruit varies between 70 and 130 mm based on the fruit load of the tree. Depending on the rootstock, Sugar Belle® matures in the middle of the season between late November and early January in the Northern Hemisphere.


The Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 cv. is the most widespread mandarin variety in the state of Florida. It has characteristics very similar to the Minneola Tangelo, maturing between 4 to 6 weeks earlier and presenting fruit with  better taste and appearance.


The tree of the Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 variety has dense foliage, an erect, vigorous grows habit with a flat top. It goes into production starting at year four and has the capability to produce earlier with proper management techniques, including the rootstock choice and girdling. Florida growers have reported good, consistent yields. Excellent yields have been reported in fruiting trees using Swingle Citrumelo as rootstock. Yields were 18.3% higher than the Tango variety under the same conditions (age of the tree, rootstock, and treatment). In addition to its remarkable resistance to HLB, the variety is very tolerant of Alternaria brown spot.

Market Perspectives

Peru requires mandarin varieties to supply the production window from April to June, and the plantation of the Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 mandarin hybrid variety is a good alternative. In the southern hemisphere, Sugar Belle® could ripen from the end of May to the beginning of July, an ideal window for citrus export.

The Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 cv. contains high levels of vitamin C, 40% higher than most citrus varieties, which makes it a very healthy product. “Sugar Belle® helps strengthen the immune system, defenses, and is a powerful antioxidant,” says Josefina Justiniano, EMCO CAL’s commercial manager for South America.


Diverse Offer

In addition to its berries suitable for Peru for its low chill hour requirements, EMCO CAL now offers Peruvian nurseries, producers, and exporters plant material of the Sugar Belle® brand LB8 9 cv. Cuttings to be grafted are originating from Spain for companies interested in trying this variety. For more information and plant orders, contact: Ekland Marketing Company of California, Inc. (EMCO CAL),


+++ May 5, 2020 +++

The new and successful strawberry varieties from the University of Florida are available in Chile


The strawberry varieties from the University of Florida (UF) have been selected for their earliness and high fruit quality, forming a new and very profitable alternative for Chilean fruit growers. Due to the varieties’ strong attributes, growers will be able to supply the market during time windows they currently have no production for. The availability of strawberry fruit is sparse during those times, and prices reach maximum value.


Chilean strawberry producers are just in time as the new short-day and neutral-day strawberry varieties from the University of Florida (UF) are already available in Chile:

  • Fortuna™ (Variety FL 01 116)
  • Brilliance™ (Variety FL 13 26 134)
  • Sweet Sensation® (Variety FL 09 127)
  • Beauty™ (Variety FL 12 121 5) day neutral / everbearing

The first field trials were carried out in 2019 and showed great promise! All four varieties achieved high yields of early, high quality fruit with excellent flavor.


Trials of the new UF strawberry varieties were established in central-south and north-central areas of Chile, both in open field and under tunnels and during different planting dates. The four tested varieties were: Fortuna™ (FL 01 116 c.v.), Brilliance™ (FL 13 26 134 c.v.), Sweet Sensation® (FL 09 127 c.v.), Beauty™ (FL 12 121 5 c.v.). All UF varieties stood out for their excellent flavor, appearance, high yields, good external and internal color, and large fruit size. The varieties adapted very well to the coastal conditions.


The new UF strawberry varieties have been grown as potted plants, allowing for improved plant establishment in the field. Potted plants are known to produce fruit even earlier. Strawberries can be harvested between 60 to 90 days from the planting date, depending on weather conditions, day length, soil type and location. These traits will generate a rapid return on investment.


EMCO CAL’s Commercial Manager for South America, Ms. Josefina Justiniano, confirms the availability of the four UF strawberry varieties as potted plants in Chile for the 2020 season:

  • Fortuna™ (Variety FL 01 116)
  • Brilliance™ (Variety FL 13 26 134)
  • Sweet Sensation® (Variety FL 09 127)
  • Beauty™ (Variety FL 12 121 5) day neutral / everbearing

This was also varified by Mr. Harry Jacobsen, Commercial Manager of Europlant Nursery and in charge of the production and sales of these strawberry plants.


Growers who wish to plant the new UF strawberry varieties can contact:

Josephine Justiniano

Commercial Manager South America