Italy: Blueberry varieties suitable for different environments
It's not always true that acidic soil is needed to produce blueberries. An unsuitable soil can be counterbalanced with specific varieties and techniques. This is just one of the pieces of advice Battistini Vivai gives when customers ask about blueberry crops.
"Research is making giant leaps and, by employing the right techniques, blueberries ca be grown also in soils that would once have been considered unsuitable. A few years ago, blueberry cultivation was mainly a hobby while now we talk almost exclusively to professionals and large businesses," explained Sandra Laghi and Romano Roncasaglia from Battistini Vivai.
In 2017, Battistini Vivai sold around 25% of its blueberry plants in Italy, while the rest was shipped abroad. They are mainly destined to Spain, Portugal, the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The company produces over one million plants of soft fruit a year.
"Blueberry varieties are distinguished according to whether they need a few (Southern) or a lot (Northern) of chill hours. People used to believe this fruit could only be grown in cold areas while now, thanks to varietal innovation, excellent productions can be obtained in the lower Mediterranean basin as well."
All areas have their own varieties of reference, but the most popular are definitely Alix Blue, Duke, Gupton and New Hanover, to name a few.
Specialisation is very important when it comes to raspberries. "Soil-less crops are becoming more popular and research is focusing on remontant varieties. A lot of produce is sent to Eastern Europe, where it is destined mainly to the processing industry, but the fresh market is interesting as well."
"The 2017/18 campaign is ending and we are already thinking about the next one. Italian and foreign companies can get in touch with us for suggestions and to find solutions to best suit their needs."
Publication date: 2/23/2018
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