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Cara's Choice
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United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Washington, D.C. 20250
New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08903

Notice of Release of
Cara's Choice
Highbush Blueberry

Cara's Choice blueberry clusterThe Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station announce the release of CARA'S CHOICE, a new highbush blueberry cultivar with improved sweetness, firmness, and flavor. Tested under both G-695 and ARS 95-5, CARA'S CHOICE is a progeny from the cross G-144 x US 165. G-144 originated from the cross 11-93 (a sibling of 'Bluecrop') x 'Darrow'. US 165 is a self of US 79, a hybrid of the diploid species Vaccinium darrowii 'Fla 4B' x US 56. US 56 originated from a cross of hexaploid V.constablaei x T-65. T-65 is a rabbiteye hybrid from the cross of 'Walker' x 11-180 (= 'Myers' x 'Black Giant'). The cross that produced CARA'S CHOICE was made by A.D. Draper at Beltsville, Maryland in approximately 1977. The seedling was selected in 1981 at the Atlantic Blueberry Company, Hammonton, NJ, and subsequently evaluated by A.D. Draper, N. Vorsa, A.W. Stretch and M.K. Ehlenfeldt at both Atlantic Blueberry Co. and Variety Farms in Hammonton, NJ.

CARA'S CHOICE ripens with 'Bluecrop', the leading main season cultivar, but usually has a shorter ripening interval than 'Bluecrop'. Its fruit are medium sized, light blue, with small, dry scars, and excellent firmness. CARA'S CHOICE fruit is very sweet, with balanced acidity, and a superior flavor that is both complex and aromatic. Yield in New Jersey on mature plants in mixed plantings has been about 55% of 'Duke', and 65% of 'Bluecrop'. Table 1 compares fruiting characteristics of CARA'S CHOICE to 'Duke', and 'Bluecrop'. The high levels of soluble solids in CARA'S CHOICE represent an approximate 30% relative increase in soluble solids over the average values for 'Duke' and 'Bluecrop'. A further distinctive feature is its ability to retain quality on the bush for several weeks, without significant declines in sweetness, acidity, firmness, or flavor.

CARA'S CHOICE is an moderate to low-growing bush, that flowers slightly later than 'Bluecrop', but earlier than 'Duke'. It has distinctive blue-green foliage, which makes it easily recognizable in comparison to most northern highbush blueberry cultivars.CARA'S CHOICE produces a moderate yield in New Jersey, but is untested in most other regions. CARA'S CHOICE is recommended as a midseason, high-quality, specialty cultivar primarily for commercial growers, pick-your-own growers, and home growers in northeastern temperate regions, including New Jersey and adjoining states.

Nurserymen may request information on how to obtain propagations by contacting M. K. Ehlenfeldt, USDA-ARS Blueberry & Cranberry Research Center, 125A Lake Oswego Road, Chatsworth, NJ 08019. Requests for plants will be prorated if demand exceeds the supply. Genetic material of this release will be deposited in the National Plant Germplasm System where it will be available for research purposes, including the development and commercialization of new cultivars.

Adesoji O. Adelaja,                                                                Date 3-12-2000
Director, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Edward B. Knipling,                                                                Date 3-27-2000
Administrator, Agricultural Research Service U.S. Department of Agriculture,

Table 1. Fruit weight, color, firmness, soluble solids, titratable acidity, and estimated 50% ripening dates for 'Cara's Choice', 'Duke', and 'Bluecrop' summarized across all harvests in 1998 from a field in Hammonton, New Jersey planted in 1993.
CultivarWeightBerry ColorFirmness Soluble SolidsTitratable AcidityDate 50% Ripe Yield
(grams)(L)1( citric acid)3(Kg)
Cara's Choice 1.6 ? 0.42916113.4 0.676/273.6
Duke2.1 ? 0.626 13410.10.496/206.3
Bluecrop1.8 ? 0.42712610.60.807/55.4

1 Color in the L*a*b* color co-ordinate system as defined by the Commission Internationale l'Eclairage (CIE). L coordinate indicates lightness; higher numbers indicate lighter color. Color meter aperature, 50 mm.

2 Grams of force needed to produce 1mm of deflection, averaged across 30 intact fruit.

3 Soluble solids and titratable acidity were determined on a blended one cup sample of fruit.

For more information about Cara's Choice please contact: Dr. Mark Ehlenfeldt

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