Although fall is not usually when you find Florida-grown blueberries at the store, thanks to University of Florida researchers, that may change. In Florida, the fruit normally grows and is harvested from February through May. That means that typically, in the fall, you can only buy imported blueberries.

UF/IFAS researchers may have found the right genes to develop Florida-grown blueberries in what is normally considered the off-season. In a newly published study, scientists evaluated 536 varieties of the Southern Highbush Blueberry on two commercial farms in Waldo – northeast of Gainesville — during the fall of 2019 and the fall of 2021.

Patricio Muñoz, blueberry breeder and a UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences: “We always observed a few varieties that will produce in the fall, meaning they have the capacity to develop flowers when days are long. Basically, these are day-length insensitive. So, we developed a study to determine whether we could promote a profitable fall production in Florida.”

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