Northern Highbush Varieties

High Chill Varieties

Northern Highbush varieties are the most widely planted blueberries in the world. They grow best in temperate climates where total winter chilling is 1,000 hours or more. Except where listed, most Northern Highbush varieties are relatively self-fertile. Our subjective evaluations are compiled with the most recent information from growers throughout the world.

Varieties are listed in order of ripening.

 


 

Denotes varieties produced by Fall Creek Variety Solutions and exclusive to Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc.

Denotes varieties licensed to Fall Creek Farm & Nursery, Inc. Please refer to our Variety Charts for license details.

  Berries Bush Primary Use
Variety Season Size Qualities Habit Commercial Fresh Process Local Market & U-Pick
Northern Highbush
Earliblue
Light Blue, Sweet Open, Upright
Earliblue produces some of the first berries on the market and is easy to grow. Earliblue is not as heavy a producer as many of the mid-season varieties. Avoid frost pockets and poorly drained soil.
Northern Highbush
Duke

Light Blue, Mild Flavor, Very Firm

Stocky, Upright

Duke is the leading early ripening Northern Highbush variety. It is known for its high yields of uniform sized, quality fruit. Duke’s mild flavor seems to improve with cold storage. Duke can be a challenge to maintain plant vigor over a long period of time. Growers must choose a quality growing site and continually employ good cultural practices. Duke is one of the leading candidates for mechanical harvest, U-pick and local sales.

Northern Highbush
Reka

Dark Blue, Excellent Flavor & Aroma

Upright, Vigorous

Reka is an early ripening, high yielding, and adaptable variety with good machine harvest characteristics. It is vigorous and more tolerant of heavier soils than many other varieties. Berries are medium sized, slightly dark in color, and have a pleasing aroma and sweet flavor. A percentage of the berries often have a “red back”, similar to Bluecrop, if the bush is over cropped. Reka has found reasonable success in the fresh market and for local sales, but is predominantly grown as a processed variety.

Northern Highbush
Spartan

Medium Blue, Superb Flavor & Aroma

Moderately Vigorous, Upright

We introduced Spartan on the West Coast in 1981. It is moderately productive, blooms late but ripens early, and is frost resistant. Spartan prefers light, well drained soils. Spartan’s flavor and large berry size are noteworthy making it a favorite for local fresh markets.

Northern Highbush
Patriot

Good Flavor, Medium Blue, Slightly Flat

Short Stature, Slightly Spreading

Patriot is a cold hardy variety and a heavy producer. The bush is of low to medium stature with pliable branches that yield to heavy snow loads in winter. Plants are easy to establish and seem to tolerate less than ideal conditions such as wet or heavier soils. Berries are very large with a small, dry scar and fair fresh fruit quality. Patriot is well suited for U-pick or local sales in areas with cold winters or shorter growing seasons.

Northern Highbush
Northland

Dark Blue, Sweet

Spreading, Vigorous

Northland is the one of the most cold-hardy Highbush varieties. It is vigorous, easy to grow and adaptable to different soil types and conditions. Northland yields are heavy and the berries are sweet with high sugar content. Northland is sometimes used for local sales in colder regions but is predominantly grown as a processed variety.

Northern Highbush
Bluejay

Firm, Light Blue, Mild Flavor

Extremely Vigorous, Upright

Bluejay is recommended for growers focused on mechanical harvest for the processed market. The bush grows rapidly and is easy to establish. Berries form on loose clusters that hang for long periods of time so that most of the fruit can be harvested in one picking. The medium- sized berry has a small dry scar and thick skin. It is acceptable for fresh sales, but is best suited for the process market.

Northern Highbush
Blue Ribbon
U.S. Patent Pending
Firm, Light Blue, Sweet Spreading

New! Exclusive to Fall Creek Variety Solutions, Blue Ribbon is an early-to-mid-season selection being released primarily for the high quality, hand harvest, fresh market. Its most notable attributes are high yields, flavorful large berries, and good post-harvest shelf life. We recommend Blue Ribbon for commercial trial plantings in the Pacific Northwest and like areas throughout the U.S.

Northern Highbush
Toro

Firm, Medium Blue, Mild Flavor

Round, Spreading

Toro produces outstanding quality fruit for fresh market U-pick and local sales. The easy-to-pick, medium scar berries form in large clusters that hang like grapes. The large, tight clusters discourage machine harvest of the first picking.

Northern Highbush
Draper
U.S. Plant Patent 15,103

Firm, Crisp, Light Blue, Sweet Flavor

Round, Stocky

Draper has become a standout variety in mid and high chill climates throughout the West. Draper has a compact habit, ripens early to mid-season, is highly productive as a young plant and has outstanding quality fruit. Draper has exceptionally firm berries and concentrates its ripening. The berries have excellent post-harvest color retention and superior shelf life. It is extremely fast to hand-pick and also has potential to be harvested by machine. After only 3 years in the market, Draper fruit has become a leading choice for both fresh and IQF markets and has also performed well in controlled atmosphere storage. 
Licensor:  Michigan State University   Exclusive Territory(s): US (West of Mississippi River), Canada   Non-Exclusive Territory(s): Europe

Northern Highbush
Bluegold

Flavorful, Round, Sky Blue, Very Firm

Compact, Spreading

Bluegold is a mid-season, cold-hardy variety with high production and superior fruit quality. The berries are very firm, flavorful and evenly sized with a small recessed scar. Because of its concentrated ripening, Bluegold is economical for hand and mechanical harvest. We recommend Bluegold for growers desiring a superior quality mid-season berry for fresh or processed sales.

Northern Highbush
Bluecrop

Light Blue, Slightly Tart

Open, Upright

Bluecrop, until recent years, has been the industry’s most widely planted variety. An easy bush to grow, Bluecrop has presented very few field management problems. It can withstand spring frosts quite well, resulting in high, consistent yields. The fruit can be tart and have a large percentage of “red backs” if picked too early or if the bush is over cropped. Machine harvesting of Bluecrop remains a challenge but has become more feasible with the use of color sorters in processing lines. Bluecrop is recommended for process and local fresh market sales.

Northern Highbush
Clockwork
U.S. Plant Patent Pending
Firm, Intense Flavor, Medium Blue Upright

New! Exclusive to Fall Creek Variety Solutions, Clockwork is a mid-season selection released primarily for the machine harvest high quality processed marketplace. Clockwork has an upright growth habit, narrow crown, and a highly concentrated ripening period. The berries are medium sized, have intense flavor, aroma and high brix. As a new introduction into the commercial marketplace with true potential for a single pick harvest, we highly recommend Clockwork for commercial trial plantings in the Pacific Northwest and like areas throughout the U.S.

Northern Highbush
Top Shelf
U.S. Plant Patent Pending
Firm, Sky Blue Upright

New! Exclusive to Fall Creek Variety Solutions, Top Shelf is notable for its very large and flavorful, firm fruit. While similar to Draper in many ways, Top Shelf seems to excel in critical areas such as plant vigor, fruit size and flavor. We recommend Top Shelf for commercial trial plantings in the Pacific Northwest and like areas throughout the U.S.

Northern Highbush
Chandler

Excellent Flavor, Medium Blue

Slightly Spreading

Chandler produces exceptionally large, high quality fruit. Berries are often as large as a quarter. Chandler can be picked regularly over 4-6 weeks. It is perfect for U-pick and direct market local sales where handpicked standout berries are needed. Yields are good to excellent. It is recommended for production in northern areas with milder winters.

Northern Highbush
Legacy

Excellent Flavor, Light Blue

Open, Upright, Vigorous

Legacy is a highly adaptable variety recommended for both fresh and process sales. This variety tends to be a little slower to produce in the first few years; however, yields can be very high once the plants become established. Legacy has received good reviews for its fruit quality, small scar and flavor. Mechanical harvest suitability is good. In many areas, Legacy will keep its leaves through most of the winter, and may require a different approach with pruning, often at a higher cost than many other northern varieties.

Northern Highbush
Liberty
U.S. Plant Patent 15,146

Balanced Flavor, Sky Blue

Slightly Open, Upright, Vigorous

Liberty is the leading solution for outstanding flavor and good shelf life in the mid-late season market. Liberty is a fast growing upright bush and often has very high yields during the establishment years. It has performed particularly well in Oregon and southern Washington. Harvest begins 7-10 days before Elliott and ends after two to three pickings. The berries are slightly flat with an attractive sky-blue color, and have a balanced flavor that is a consistent favorite in our taste tests. Care must be taken during harvest as high temperatures can result in soft fruit. Fruit size is smaller in later pickings. Observations from growers suggest good potential for mechanical harvest as the cluster is loose and ripe berries detach easily.

We highly recommend Liberty for mid-late season fresh and process markets.
Licensor:  Michigan State University   Exclusive Territory(s): US (West of Mississippi River), Canada   Non-Exclusive Territory(s): Europe

Northern Highbush
Cargo
U.S. Plant Patent Pending
Firm, Light Blue, Tart Upright, Vigorous

New! Exclusive to Fall Creek Variety Solutions, Cargo is a high yielding, vigorours variety with good fresh and machine-harvest process characteristics. Ripening in Liberty season, Cargo berries are extremely round, uniform and maintain their firmness and flavor during refrigerated and freezer storage. We recommend Cargo for commercial trial plantings in the Pacific Northwest and like areas throughout the U.S.

Northern Highbush
Elliott

Light Blue, Tart

Open, Upright

Until Liberty and Aurora were introduced, Elliott was the leading late season blueberry for the fresh market. The berries are medium sized, with a small dry scar, and can be very tart if not completely ripe. Elliot ripens over a period of three to five weeks depending on location. Care must be taken during harvest as high temperatures can cause berries to wrinkle. Elliott has moderate vigor and must be adequately pruned to retain bush growth and berry size.

Northern Highbush
Aurora
U.S. Plant Patent 15,185

Firm, Medium Blue, Slightly Tart

Spreading & Round, Vigorous

Aurora is the latest ripening Highbush, offering northern growers an opportunity to extend the fresh fruit season. Our observations in the Pacific Northwest find Aurora to have extremely high yields. Berries ripen over three to four pickings and are on average about 25% larger than Elliott with a slightly darker color. Aurora can be tart if not harvested fully ripe. Aurora is often more resistant to cracking and shriveling than Elliott and as a result, it can be allowed to hang longer, developing much better flavor in many cases. We recommend Aurora for growers where a cold hardy, hand harvest berry is desired to extend the fresh market harvest season.

Licensor:  Michigan State University   Exclusive Territory(s): US (West of Mississippi River), Canada   Non-Exclusive Territory(s): Europe

Northern Highbush
Last Call
U.S. Plant Patent Pending
Excellent Flavor, Light Blue Extremely Vigorous, Upright

NEW! Exclusive to Fall Creek Variety Solutions™, Last Call, a very late season Northern Highbush, ripens in the same window as Aurora and Elliott, dense, mainly for commercial fresh production in the high value late season market, this vigorous, upright bush produces high yields of large, meaty berries with a classic sweet and slightly aromatic blueberry flavor. It’s also recommended for processed or local market growers wanting to extend their harvest season.