Rabbiteye blueberries (Vaccinium ashei Reade = V. virgatum Aiton) are native to the southeastern United States and due to their broad adaptation, vigor, and high yield potential, rabbiteye blueberry cultivars are grown widely throughout the region by both producers and homeowners. Commercial blueberry producers in the Gulf Coast region have capitalized on the lucrative early U.S. fresh berry market by growing rabbiteye blueberry cultivars that ripen earlier than highbush type blueberries grown in more northern regions. Production of rabbiteye blueberries is also expanding into the Pacific Northwest where they may be grown to capitalize on late-season fresh berry markets. The midseason ripening rabbiteye blueberry ‘Powderblue’ is among more popular rabbiteye blueberries mostly due to its exceptionally light blue fruit that results from the “bloom” or relatively thick natural waxy coating on berry skins (Freeman et al., 1979). However, the relatively small berries of ‘Powderblue’ may at times sell for less than larger berries of other cultivars. ‘Bluesfest’ is a productive new rabbiteye blueberry developed and released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS). Important attributes of ‘Bluesfest’ include its mid-to-late season ripening period, exceptionally light blue color, and berry size exceeding that of fruit of ‘Powderblue’, an industry standard.
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