San Joaquin Valley blueberries evaluated for quality attributes
Blueberry production in California was estimated in 2007 at around 4,500 acres and is rapidly increasing. Common southern highbush cultivars with low chilling-hour requirements are being grown from Fresno County southward, including ‘Misty’, ‘O’Neal’, ‘Emerald’, ‘Jewel’, ‘Star’ and others. We characterized the quality parameters (soluble solids concentration, titratable acidity, ratio of soluble solids concentration to titratable acidity, firmness and antioxidant capacity) of six southern highbush blueberry cultivars grown at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center in Parlier, in the San Joaquin Valley, for three seasons (2005–2007). We also conducted in-store tests to evaluate their acceptance by consumers who eat fresh blueberries. We found that the southern blueberry cultivars currently grown under warm San Joaquin Valley conditions are producing blueberry fruit that is of acceptable quality to consumers and profitable to growers.