Jessica Scalzo, who heads the plant breeding team at Costa.
Jessica Scalzo, who heads the plant breeding team at Costa. Costa

The big blue developed here on the Coffs Coast

BIGGER than your average blueberry and packed with flavour, a new blueberry variety developed by the plant breeding team at Costa is now available in supermarkets across the country.

The 'Arana' blueberry was developed by Gary Wright at the Costa berry farm in Corindi and is now being widely cultivated around the world.

The berries, promoted as 'Special Pick', are sold through Driscoll's.

Jessica Scalzo, who heads the plant breeding team at Costa, said it was rewarding to see how their work could lead to a completely new variety of blueberry, with added benefits for the consumer.

Dr Scalzo, who has a PhD in plant breeding, said the 'Special Pick' blueberries had been specifically bred for their size, taste and longer shelf life.

 

The bigger blueberry that's available in supermarkets across the country.
The bigger blueberry that's available in supermarkets across the country. Costa

"It's a long process and a big challenge, balancing the horticultural, market and consumer requirements," Dr Scalzo said.

"Plant breeding is a good combination between art and science. You have to use your imagination when you breed a crop because what you cross today you won't see as a variety for around 10 years.

"Costa invests a lot into this type of research and development; we are the breeders and the growers which gives us a big advantage. 

"Our varieties are in high demand and are grown pretty much around the world."

Dr Scalzo said her team was constantly working on selecting new varieties of blueberries, to enhance flavour, nutritional value, shelf life and size.