03 Sep 2022

THE REPORT CARDS OF 42 EUROPEAN SPECIALISTS AT 7 VARIETIES O...

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Fall Creek, the U.S.-based breeding and nursery company for blueberries, held a Tasting Forum in late July 2022 attended by key European stakeholders in the blueberries supply chain, including leading growers, category managers, purchasing managers, production managers and technicians, new variety development managers, growth strategists, production managers, agronomists specializing in blueberry, administrators, landowners, and purchasing managers.

Participants came from the main producing and marketing countries: the Netherlands, Georgia, Turkey, Germany, Portugal, Serbia, the United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Italy, Uzbekistan, and Spain.

The test was conducted by subjecting participants to 7 different varieties of blueberries, which were marked only by a number during the evaluation. Participants had to evaluate the different samples, without knowing the variety, based on five different parameters, then give a summary evaluation for each sample and finally choose the preferred sample.

Only after the blind evaluations ended were participants shown the results of the samples matched to the 7 different varieties, revealing the names of the fruits that, up to that point, had remained anonymous to the evaluators.

The varieties tested were DukeValorCargoPeachyBlueDraperTop Shelf, and ArabellaBlue, all of the Mid Chill and High Chill types, i.e., with medium to high chill requirements, thus suitable for northern and central Italian climates, for example.

All samples were of Dutch production and stored in a refrigerator between collection and testing.

VALOR CHAMPION OF AESTHETICS

Regarding appearance, four out of seven varieties scored good or excellent in at least half of the evaluations. The best was Valor, while the poorest rating was achieved by Duke.

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PEACHYBLUE'S FLAVOR DETACHES EVERYONE

In taste evaluation PeachyBlue pulled decisively away from the other 6 varieties; closing the rankings are Duke and Draper, considered good or very good by about one-third of the evaluators.

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CRUNCHINESS, MANY DIFFERENCES

The toughness of ArabellaBlue and PeachyBlue made the difference in the ratings, while Duke and Top Shelf achieved the lowest scores.

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CALIBER, DUKE TAILBACK

The dimension awarded ArabellaBlue, Valor and Top Shelf.

Duke achieved the worst scores, with more than two-thirds of the evaluations calling it too small.

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PRESERVABILITY, ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

The evaluation of the degree of preservation of the samples at the time of evaluation mainly rewarded PeachyBlue, with Top Shelf, Draper, and Duke rounding out the ranking.

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PEACHYBLUE IS FAVORITE

Participants were finally asked which sample was their favorite among those numbered 1-7. The preference went to PeachyBlue with a wide gap from runner-up Valor (who scored less than half of PeachyBlue's points) and ArabellaBlue.

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