Organic Blueberry Production in Florida

Patricia blueberry variety. Photo taken 04-24-18 Photo Credits: UF/IFAS Photo by Tyler Jones

There is a growing market in the United States and globally for fresh fruits and vegetables with reported health-enhancing properties. This includes blueberries, which are high in antioxidants and have been reported to improve heart health and contain anticancer properties. Fresh-market blueberry sales (conventional and organic) increased by 27% between 2013 and 2017, and that trend is expected to continue. In addition, there is an increasing level of consumer interest in organically grown produce (for environmental conservation, taste, and other perceived benefits), for which some consumers are willing to pay a premium over the price for a conventionally produced crop. This new 8-page publication of the UF/IFAS Horticultural Sciences Department discusses various aspects of organic blueberry production in Florida and is intended for use by those currently using or interested in pursuing organic production. Written by Douglas A. Phillips, Peter J. Dittmar, Philip F. Harmon, Oscar E. Liburd, Danielle D. Treadwell, and Jeffrey G. Williamson.

Blueberry Gall Midge on Southern Highbush Blueberry in Florida

Adult blueberry gall midge (female—left, male—right).

Blueberry gall midge is a small fly native to North America that feeds on blueberries and cranberries. It can be found throughout the United States, including Florida, where its larvae feed on southern highbush blueberry and rabbiteye floral and vegetative buds. Reports of blueberry gall midge damage on southern highbush blueberry in Florida have become more common in recent years, in some cases significantly impacting yield where there was severe feeding damage to floral buds. This 3-page fact sheet written by Oscar Liburd and Doug Phillips and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology will inform growers how to scout for, identify, and control blueberry gall midge.

Spotted Wing Drosophila Drosophila suzukii Identification, Ecology, and Management

Figure 7. ‘Farthing’ blueberry.Spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a tiny invasive fruit fly pest of small fruits. It has been found infesting fruits in Europe and North and South America. Since its first capture in California in 2008, SWD has established populations throughout the United States in over 47 states. This trifold brochure written by Lindsy Iglesias, Teresia W. Nyoike, and Oscar E. Liburd and published by the Entomology and Nematology Department describes how to identify and monitor these tiny pests and explains a few strategies to control them and limit the damage they cause to fruit crops.