At Macfrut, International Blueberry Days exclusively featured the launch of Cupla, the new early and productive variety of G-Berries.
At International Blueberry Days, the G-Berries company will present its new collaboration with Cuna de Platero, a Spanish cooperative based in Moguer, Huelva, for the early variety of blueberries Cupla.
A parallel reality to that of Molari Nurseries, a nursery specializing solely and exclusively in berries, G-Berries now focuses on breeding, applied research and management.
After your work in the field of raspberry breeding, along with various projects with a focus on blackberries, you have decided to focus some of your work also on blueberry. How do you believe you can work in this part of the sector and how does a collaboration with Spain fit in?
"Cuna de Platero is already part of the Gil Program regarding raspberry varieties," says Matteo Molari, "a program inspired by an intuition of our father. Since my brother and I took the reins of the company, we have always tried to work in this direction: innovation and quality. The collaboration with Cuna de Platero is not only important for the blueberry landscape in Italy, but it opens the door to great innovation and synergies."
"On blueberry , we have never built a direct research program," Matteo continues, "despite this, we feel our position in the market is strong, so we have chosen 2023 as our launch year on blueberry.
"There is a lot of awareness about the blueberry market in Italy. Most of the varieties in the market are free, or we are talking about a large concentration of licensed varieties. However, despite the boom of blueberry in recent years, we believe there is still room to grow and innovate in the sector. Not only commercially, but also to do something more for farmers who in one way or another find it difficult to enter the market. So we work to bring a product that responds excellently not only to the needs of the producer, but also to those of the consumer."
G-Berries will have the exclusive license of the variety in Italy and Greece, Vivai Molari the nursery in charge of distribution?
"That's right. In Greece, distribution has already begun. Plants are sold in sizes starting from 0.5 up to a maximum of 1 liter; we prefer a small size. Sales are made with an initial trial of a minimum of 1,000 plants. Cupla can be planted in the fall period, between October and November, but it is still preferable to plant during the spring period."
Earliness is definitely an attractive trait for a Southern Highbush variety, even on a commercial level. How does Cupla fit into this discussion?
"Cupla is a very early variety of blueberry , similar to the Snowchaser variety. The product can be harvested as early as the period between November and December, although we are really talking about small quantities. However, peak production occurs between February and March."
"Unlike other varieties, such as Ventura or Snowchaser, however, Cupla requires less water, and according to data collected by Cuna de Platero, the shelf life is really good: 97.5 percent of the weight is maintained even after 30 days of storage at 4°."
Speaking of production, however, what can we expect in terms of quantity and productivity of the Cupla variety?
"The berries have good strength, which is compliant and also suitable for machine harvesting. This is a very delicate aspect that we care a lot about and are working on. However, the fruit does not have an extremely high caliber, we are talking about 17-18mm."
"In terms of production, we are around 6,000 plants per hectare. At peak harvest, we have a production of 18.6 tons/ha, with a quantity of 3.13 kg of product per plant (IFAPA tests on plants in the first and second year of production), whether we are talking about growing in soil or above ground."
"On the organoleptic level, however, we are talking about a blueberry that is not distinguished by its crispness, but by its juiciness and characteristic flavor, not unlike that of wild blueberry ."
G-Berries will present Cupla exclusively at Macfrut 2023, during International Blueberry Days, at booth A1-087.