New Jersey Rutger’s new blueberry variety enters its final phase
June 26, 2024

Rutgers University is in the process of developing a new blueberry variety for New Jersey growers. After 10 years of research, the institution is in its final trial stages of developing a sweeter, firmer blueberry variety.

Of the thousands of blueberry plants evaluated at Rutgers’ Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension in Chatsworth, New Jersey, only three or four samples will be selected to move forward.

Rutgers expects to have a new and improved blueberry cultivar in five years after the selection process. Ten states in the United States account for over 98% of the commercially produced blueberries in the United States: California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and Washington.

New Jersey produces between 35 and 45 million pounds of blueberries on average a year. Last year, the state's total production was 17,237 metric tons, with fresh blueberries accounting for 79%.

According to Rutgers, a new less-tart tasting, firmer blueberry could mean significant economic benefits for local growers who are trying to cater to "ever-changing consumer tastes."