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Greg Willems with California Berry Genetics

“Our blueberry cultivars are bred for innovation and grower success”

In partnership with the renowned University of Georgia (UGA) Horticulturist Scott NeSmith, California Berry Genetics developed a blueberry seedling program. NeSmith was the head of the UGA Blueberry Breeding Program for over 20 years and bred the Duchess series blueberry varieties “Through UGA, we have the exclusive rights in the US (except for Georgia) to sell the three Duchess varieties to commercial growers in the United States,” says Greg Willems, owner of California Berry Genetics.

Duchess series
The varietals are high-yield blueberries that are mechanically harvestable, keeping labor costs and food safety in mind during operation. The three varieties offered include Early Duchess, Blue Duchess, and Sweet Duchess and are 17-23 mm. in size. “They are a large-sized berry with a medium to light blue color. Duchess blueberries have a small dry scar and firm skin. Outside the United States, Blue Duchess is also offered in Mexico. All varieties are harvested between the beginning of May and late June and available at retailers in the western region of the US under California Berry Genetics’ consumer-facing brand Farm to Table Berries.

Blue Duchess and Sweet Duchess blueberry varieties.

New varieties
In addition to the three Duchess varieties, the company will be releasing five new varieties to commercial growers in the next two years. These varieties were developed from seedling selections from the University of Georgia. “We plan to call these new releases the Monica series,” said Willems. With their size ranging from 20 to 28 mm, they are considered jumbo blueberries with a thick skin and dense flesh. Just like the Duchess varieties, they have a very small stem scar.

Blueberries from the Monica series.

“All varieties have a uniform appearance. They are crisp and sweet with high brix and low acidity,” commented Willems. “We focus on selling top-of-the-line blueberry cultivars from the University of Georgia that are innovative and bred for grower success,” he added. All varieties are grown in the Central Valley of California, in Fresno County. “However, they are well suited for many environments and therefore, they are offered to commercial growers around the US.” California Berry Genetics is looking forward to sharing their unique genetics program and cultivars with the agriculture industry to take the blueberry sector to a new level.

For more information:
Greg Willems
California Berry Genetics
[email protected]

Ashleigh Sorensen
Director of Business
[email protected]