Since the announcement a year ago that Fall Creek was establishing a blueberry nursery in South Africa, the company has been very busy.
“During the past 18 months a small and exceptionally talented team has been recruited – ready and excited to serve the Southern African blueberry industry. We are happy to announce that the plants of our first production are now for sale and will be ready for delivery from December 2020,” says Burgert van Dyk, Fall Creek regional director in Southern Africa, where the company has been fundamental to the development of the nascent blueberry industry over the past two decades.
The location of their Western Cape nursery will be finalised soon, the company says, but great progress has been made.
Zero chill varieties
“The three varieties which are now available in South Africa form part of the Fall Creek Collection® platform and are commonly referred to as The Three Amigos,” he says.
“JupiterBlue™ (pictured right), AtlasBlue™ and BiancaBlue™ have been crossed and selected from the Fall Creek breeding programme in Mexico. This programme specifically focuses on developing new genetics for the zero and low chill environments. These varieties would typically be adapted to the climate of large parts of the Northern Cape and Namibia which hold similarities with the climate of Southern Spain and Baja California, Mexico. They can also be considered for areas in the far north of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia where the climate is comparable to the Central Mexican climate.”
JupiterBlue™ is currently the earliest ripening variety from their zero chill programme and has a competitive yield during the early marketing window. The flavour and post-harvest quality of BiancaBlue™ are remarkable, the company says, while the ripening of the exceptional yields of AtlasBlue™ during the same period as the familiar ‘Biloxi’ and ‘Ventura’ varieties is much more concentrated.
BiancaBlue™ stands out for its Brix levels, firmness and post-harvest quality (photos supplied by Fall Creek Nursery)
An additional two varieties Ventura™ and Victoria™, available in the Open Catalogue portfolio, will be offered to the Southern African industry alongside The Three Amigos.
Descriptions of varieties can be found here: https://www.fallcreeknursery.com/commercial-fruit-growers/varieties/
Previewing plants before committing to commercial purchases
All of the Fall Creek-owned and managed varieties are available to customers under a Preview License Agreement.
Pictured right: AtlasBlue™
“The cost structure of preview plants is different to the commercial plantings and offers the grower an opportunity to preview the variety on their own site, before deciding to commit to commercial plantings,” explains Wian Mouton, commercial manager at Fall Creek South Africa.
“Many new and exciting varieties are in the pipeline and will be added to the Fall Creek offering from 2021 onwards.”
Fall Creek webinars on the blueberry industry
The Fall Creek South Africa Commercial Team members are available to customers as a resource for information on blueberry horticulture, varieties, markets, and general industry trends to assist them in making business decisions on blueberries.
Fall Creek webinars presenting insights on blueberry-related topics and market updates are open to anyone upon registering here:
For more information:
Fall Creek Nursery South Africa
Wian Mouton, commercial manager
Tel: +27 72 906 5119
Elsa Muller, sales and grower support
Dane Castle, sales and grower support
Office: +27 21 276 3777