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UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Alternative Crops


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Blueberry is a shrub fruit crop, cultivated commercially in over 25 countries worldwide. The United States is the largest producer of blueberries, accounting for more than half of the global fruit crop. In last 15 years, blueberry production has more than doubled and the demand keeps increasing. This increase in demand is largely due to numerous health benefits associated with blueberry consumption. There are four main types of blueberries: Rabbiteye, Northern Highbush, Southern Highbush, and Lowbush. Number of varieties of Southern Highbush blueberries are suitable for growing in Florida, under mild winter conditions. Florida blueberries are harvested in early spring (April-May) making them desirable for an early market window and can compete with blueberries imported from South America and Mexico.


Peach is a deciduous tree fruit crop, originated in the temperate regions of Asia. The University of Florida has developed high quality, low-chilling, early-maturing peach and nectarine cultivars that can be grown from the panhandle of Florida to as far south as the Flatwoods of Florida. Low-chill cultivars can grow and produce fruit under Florida conditions that are much warmer in winter than in northern states. Furthermore, ripening of these cultivars during early April to May ensures an early spring market window for tree-ripe fresh fruit in Florida before peaches and nectarines from other southeastern states and California come to market. The varieties should be chosen carefully based on the location and weather conditions as well as the intended purpose of the crop.