that will allow us to do more.” Blueberry variety research will be
scaling up considerably, from 25 to 40 per cent of the program, under the new structure. Dosset is working with a dual focus of improving fruit quality and disease resistance. “We’d like to have something firm
enough that we can reliably machine harvest for fresh market, and improving the firmness and storability of fruit for export markets,” he explains. “The best quality from firmness standpoint, and best flavours as well, are found in Southern high bush blueberries which don’t do well in our area.
“What I’m trying to do is cross Southern and Northern varieties, to move those attributes into plants that are better adapted for this area.” Despite some promising selections coming online, Dossett predicts it will be another three to five years before they have a blueberry variety ready for grower trials.
The big push for Dossett and his team is on raspberries.
“I’m scrambling to do evaluations on the selections already in the pipeline as quickly as possible,” he says.
“If we don’t have a new variety that’s going to be a game changer in the next five to ten years, we are in danger of losing our raspberry sector in B.C.” The goal is to find a variety for growers that will machine harvest well and resist root rot. Ninety-five per cent of raspberries in B.C. are machine harvested, so it’s important to have a berry that comes off very clean, firm, and that doesn’t crumble for IQF product.
“One of weakness we’ve had in the program over the past few years is we didn’t evaluate for machine
harvestability until later in the trials,” Dossett explains.
“All the yield trials are being machine harvested now, and we can pick out the issues right away.”
At the 2014 Horticulture Short Course, he introduced ‘Squamish’, a new variety of raspberry. “I think Squamish will replace Malahat for fresh market. he predicts. “It’s not the silver bullet, but it machine harvests okay, and is going to help people with the early season. It’s not going to replace Meeker or Chemainus.”
British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2014 13
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