Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/23/2005
Publication Date: 8/1/2005
Citation: Ehlenfeldt, M.K., Stretch, A.W., Vorsa, N., Draper, A.D. 2004. "cara's choice' blueberry. Hortscience. 40:1556-1557. Interpretive Summary: The blueberry industry needs new cultivars that have improved fruit quality. 'Cara's Choice' is a mid-season ripening hybrid blueberry that was developed by the cooperative breeding program of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). It represents an improvement in firmness and flavor over currently grown early cultivars. 'Cara's Choice' was released as a mid-season-ripening, specialty cultivar with excellent fruit quality, and improved sweetness, firmness, and flavor. This cultivar will be of interest to blueberry growers interested in high quality fruit production.
Technical Abstract: 'Cara's Choice' is a mid-season ripening tetraploid hybrid blueberry (Vaccinium x 'Cara's Choice') that was developed by the cooperative breeding program of the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES). It was named in recognition of its excellent fruit quality with improved sweetness, firmness, and flavor. Evaluations of plants established in a replicated trial indicated that its most impressive traits were very sweet fruit, with balanced acidity, and a superior flavor that is both complex and aromatic. Its fruit are uniformly medium sized, medium- to light-blue, with dry scars, and excellent firmness. Its high levels of soluble solids represent an approximate 20-25% 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. Studies in New Jersey have shown that it is relatively resistant to mummy berry blight caused by the fungus Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi (25 in a group of 76 cultivars), and has average resistance (39 out of 76) to the secondary, mummy berry fruit-infection stage. It is relatively susceptible to anthracnose fruit-rot (ranking 71 out of 100), but is better than than 'Bluecrop' (92 of 100).