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Re: Blueberry tasting

  • To: gardenchat@hort.net
  • Subject: Re: Blueberry tasting
  • From: "Pam Evans" <gardenqueen@gmail.com>
  • Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 21:26:55 -0500
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Sounds like a grand day!   I've been watering, scrubbing bird baths and
deadheading salvias all day.  Lots of hummer activity too, so that was fun.

On 7/26/08, james singer <islandjim1@comcast.net> wrote:
> We went to a blueberry tasting this morning. It was held at the OSU-USDA
> germplasm repository in Corvallis. They've got more than 400 varieties of
> blueberries under cultivation--and we were free to just wander around, pick,
> and eat. "But no baggies," our tour guide said. We want to add 3-4
> blueberries to the landscape here, so we much appreciated this event and did
> our own informal judging. We sought out heavy producers of large, slightly
> tart berries that appeared to more-or-less ripen at the same time. When the
> tasting was over, my sister said that she'd taken on enough anti-oxidants to
> keep her from rusting for a long time.
> In all, we must have sampled 100 or so varieties. Tartness ranged from sour
> to sweet. Flavor ranged from distinct, which is about the best you can say
> for a blueberry, to bland or close to none; flavorfulness and tartness seem
> to be linked, except the sour ones are simply sour. We ended up with a short
> list of five desirable varieties--Spartan, Blueray (1), Blueray (2),
> Elliott, and an unnamed new cultivar. All are "northern highbush" varieties.
> Since the unnamed cultivar was not superior to any of the others, we lopped
> it from the list.
> Interesting thing about the two Bluerays: In theory, they're the same
> cultivar, but (1) came from the Royal BG [which I took to be Kew] and (2) is
> the original Blueray variety developed in the US. The RBG Blueray was
> slightly tarter [hence, more flavorful] than the home-grown one, although
> the home-grown one was also very tasty and otherwise the fruits were much
> the same. I should've taken my refractometer so I could have measured the
> brix of both, but it didn't occur to me.
> Blueberries were the main reason we went, but there's a lot more going on
> at the station. It's also a major repository of pear germplasm--some 1,600
> varieties of pears--with tasting of those coming ripe now. Because pears are
> not high on our list of favorite fruits, we skipped that part of the tour.
> We tasted two "new" cultivars of cane berries, both of which are just now
> entering commercial-grower trials. One is a blackberry [excellent, maybe
> best ever]; the other a red raspberry [nice, but to my mind only marginally
> better than what's out there].
> Then a vegetable researcher showed us his two favorite projects--a purple
> tomato that is really purple [and has the same anti-oxidant properties of
> other purple/blue fruit, like blueberries and egg plant, and a squash called
> tomboncino. The fruit of the tomato, it seems, is purple where it's exposed
> to the sun, but greed where it's shaded. When it ripens, the green part
> turns red but the purple part stays purple. Tomboncino squash look and grow
> like the zucchini/yellow crookneck tribe, but the breeder, James Myers, says
> the flesh is denser and has a nuttier flavor. At present, tomboncino seeds
> are available from a few nurseries [he mentioned, when asked, Nichols], but
> they produce big vines. He's trying to breed a bush [no, not him; the useful
> kind].
> On the way home, we bought two more quarts of red currants that we are now
> processing in the steam juicer.
> Island Jim
> Willamette Valley
> 44.99 N 123.04 W
> Elevation 148'
> Hardiness Zone 8/9
> Heat Zone 5
> Sunset Zone 6
> Minimum 0 F [-15 C]
> Maximum 86 F [30 C]
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------
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Pam Evans
Kemp TX
zone 8A

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