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Cara's Choice Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) is a new highbush blueberry cultivar with improved sweetness, firmness, and flavor. Cara's Choice ripens with 'Bluecrop', the leading main season cultivar, but usually has a shorter ripening interval than 'Bluecrop'. Its fruit are medium sized, light blue, with small, dry scars, and excellent firmness. Cara's Choice fruit is very sweet, with balanced acidity, and a superior flavor that is both complex and aromatic. Yield in New Jersey on mature plants in mixed plantings has been about 55% of 'Duke', and 65% of 'Bluecrop'. Table 1 compares fruiting characteristics of Cara's Choice to 'Duke', and 'Bluecrop'. The high levels of soluble solids in Cara's Choice represent an approximate 30% relative increase in soluble solids over the average values for 'Duke' and 'Bluecrop'. A further distinctive feature is its ability to retain quality on the bush for several weeks, without significant declines in sweetness, acidity, firmness, or flavor.
Cara's Choice is an moderate to low-growing bush, that flowers slightly later than 'Bluecrop', but earlier than 'Duke'. It has distinctive blue-green foliage, which makes it easily recognizable in comparison to most northern highbush blueberry cultivars. Cara's Choice produces a moderate yield in New Jersey, but is untested in most other regions. Cara's Choice is recommended as a midseason, high-quality, specialty cultivar primarily for commercial growers, pick-your-own growers, and home growers in northeastern temperate regions, including New Jersey and adjoining states.
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