Super-sized blueberries on their way
T&G Global is set to take a big, juicy bite out of the Australian blueberry market with its first commercial crop of new super-sized, super-sweet, high-yielding blueberry varieties to be launched in retail stores this December.
The global fresh produce company has secured 16 of the latest and best genetics from breeders Plant & Food Research in New Zealand and US-based Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, and over the last two years has successfully conducted trials of the premium blueberries with selected growers in five Australian states.
Danny Nightingale, T&G’s Global Variety Commercialisation Manager, says what’s exciting about this suite of unique blueberry varieties is their ability to produce fruit all year.
“We know Australians love blueberries, with more than 17,000 tonnes sold each year,” he says. “With these unique premium varieties, we’ll be able to grow blueberries all year, compared to them currently being available for only approximately eight months.”
In order to secure the best blueberry genetics, T&G scoured the world to find unique plant varieties which meet consumers’ needs. The company has worked with a team of growers in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia to trial the blueberry varieties, which consumers will be able to experience them at the end of 2021.
The trials have included a mix of new varieties including Cargo, Last Call and Blue Ribbon. It’s the first time these varieties have been grown in Australia for the Australian market.
With 30 hectares already in the ground and producing high quality results and another 30 hectares soon to be planted, T&G expects volumes to steadily increase over the coming months. The blueberries will be sold under T&G’s premium brand, Orchard Rd.
“This is a game changer for the local berry sector, because now we can grow in Australia for Australians year-round, without the need to import from other countries,” says Nightingale, who adds that the new varieties are strong performers, and growers are impressed.
“They’re easier to pick and the yield is significantly higher than other berry varieties,” he says. “This is great news for growers, because they’ll get more berries per hectare.”