“It’s critical when renovating that

growers don’t let the first fruit to drop and grow,” Vorsa advises. Some growers will flood the field during bloom or let frost kill the bloom, he suggests.

In spring, growers can see the different hues in a bed, which indicates there are different varieties there, rather than the single variety that was planted.

“They’re a weed, and a nefarious one, because you can really only spot them at a certain time of year.” Varieties such as Stevens and Bergman came out of a 1940s breeding program at Rutgers, and much of B.C.’s acreage is in Stevens. Vorsa he studied a bed of Bergmans in B.C., and DNA fingerprinting revealed there were at least 20 different fingerprints. Only two were similar to Bergman, in that they differed by only one marker out of 40, but 18 were off-types.

Although fruit from some varieties don’t size up as well in B.C.’s climate conditions there is generally better development of colour in B.C., notes Vorsa.

However, with Ocean Spray’s Craisins product, high colour is not

considered an important attribute. In fact, the company would prefer less colour for that product, he says, so the dried product doesn’t darken too much.

This year, he will be planting some of the new varieties developed at his

facility in the growers’ new research farm in Delta, to trial them for local growers. Popular current Rutgers varieties

include Mullica Queen and Crimson Queen, while Haines and Welker are later varieties that look promising.

British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2017 19

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