New raspberry variety to extend harvest window in Pacific Northwest

From Fresh Fruit Portal | 21 March 2023

Overview of raspberries in the U.S. market, complemented by charts from Agronometrics. Original published on March 20, 2023. 

EarlyBell, a new raspberry variety, could growers in the Pacific Northwest supply fruit for longer and manage harvests more efficiently.

EarlyBell is the latest release from Pacific Berries, a joint breeding program between Plant & Food Research in New Zealand and Northwest Plant Company in Washington, USA.

The variety is said to have good winter hardiness and straight, upright canes. The fruit matures early in the season and has excellent machine harvestability.

The berries have moderate Brix similar to industry standard Meeker, are firm and of medium size, with good IQF (Individual Quick Frozen) properties.

Lisa Jones, plant breeder at Pacific Berries, says the new variety meets the needs of both raspberry growers and processors.

raspberry volumes by ori

Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

“Our breeding program focuses on the traits needed by growers, such as high yield and disease tolerance, as well as the characteristics needed for processing like the ability to quick freeze and good taste,” she said.

“EarlyBell is specifically targeted at growers who want to extend their harvest window, with fruit reaching maturity about 1-3 weeks prior to many popular standard varieties. It’s a great looking, firm fruit with a strong, tart taste that will meet the needs of raspberry processors.”

Pacific Berries has previously launched the Wake family of raspberries, including WakeField and WakeHaven. The new EarlyBell variety has good grower and consumer properties but does not reach the standards of excellence across all characteristics expected in a premium Wake branded variety.

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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