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The Blue Ribbon Blueberry

If you want to grow brilliantly plump and juicy blueberries with superior taste and yield, then the Blue Ribbon Blueberry might be just what you’re looking for. A Blue Ribbon Blueberry bush can grow up to six feet tall. These blueberries also produce a yield on par with Legacy and while outperforming Miss Jackie. These pumpkin-shaped berries are crisp and resistant to higher temperatures, making them the perfect blueberry for growers in the south.

If this blueberry sounds enticing, we’ve got much more to tell you about the Blue Ribbon Blueberry. Let’s take a closer look.

Blueberries on a shrub that resembles the Blue Ribbon Blueberry.

History of the Blue Ribbon Blueberry

The origins of the Blue Ribbon Blueberry date back to 2005. The plant is a Southern Highbush/ Northern Highbush hybrid that was first bred in Lowel, Oregon, and originated from the 2002controlled cross-pollination of pollen parent (unpatented) G344 from female parent (unpatented) Toro.

The seedling was picked out first in 2005 out of a field planting that produced a high-density yield and has since been replicated in trials beginning in 2008. “The Blue Ribbon Blueberry was registered in 2012 by Fall Creek Farm and Nursery.

Some of the Blue Ribbon Blueberry features include:

  • High Yields
  • Outstanding firmness
  • Resistant to high temperatures
  • Good after-harvest shelf life.
  • Midsize to large Berries with high-quality flavor
  • Strong leafing
  • Long laterals
  • Long arching branches
  • Self-fertile
  • Ripens between Draper and Duke
  • Highly adaptable to evergreen management inside low-chill environments.

Recommended commercial plantings for the Blue Ribbon Blueberry are in Midchill regions and high chill climates with milder winters.

Blue Ribbon Blueberry / Fruit Characteristics

The Blue Ribbon Blueberry shares many characteristics in common with Miss Jackie and the Legacy Blueberry.

  • Berry average firmness: 148-196 g/mm
  • Wax/bloom: Medium
  • Fruit scar: Small and dry with an average of 2.54mm in diameter.
  • Berry Shape: spherical, oblate
  • Berries per cluster: 5-7
  • Mean harvest date: July 21
  • Mean last pick date: August 22

The Blue Ribbon Blueberry also averages six to seven flowers per cluster with a faint and sweet fragrance.

Hanging cluster of blueberries.

Chilling Level

Blue Ribbon Blueberry bushes require between 800 and 1,000 chilling hours.

Ripening Season

The Blue Ribbon Blueberry has an early ripening season. They tend to ripen after Duke and before Draper, which puts their peak somewhere in June-July.

As mentioned earlier, they produce excellent yields, and because of their leafy bushes, the berries are protected mainly from sunburn in warmer climates.

For more information on harvesting blueberries, we highly recommend this guide by Minnetonka Orchards on the best time to harvest blueberries.

Fruit Qualities

The berry skin color for immature berries is Green Olive 17-0535. After harvest is Velvet Morning 18-3927. After polishing, it’s Shale 19-3903.

As for their flavor, these berries rate better than Legacy and are on par with Miss Jackie.

Berry Size

Blue Ribbon Blueberries weigh on average about 2.4 grams with an average width of 17.40mm and height of 13.04mm.

Planting Zones

The Blue Ribbon Blueberry’s parentage includes some southern highbush, which means it’s unlikely to perform well in the coldest blueberry growing areas such as upper-New York State and Canada.

However, they perform very well in mid and high chill climates, areas such as Oregon, Northern California, New Jersey, and as far north in colder climates such as Eastern Washington state.

Also, you always want to check the USDA Hardness Zones when planning which blueberries to plant in your orchard or garden. However, these blueberries grow best in zones 4 through 7.

You can also find more information on how to grow Blue Ribbon Blueberries in our handy reference guide titled “How to Grow Blueberries.”

Blueberry shrub with berries.

Size and Spacing

Blue Ribbon Blueberry bushes mature at an average height of four to six feet tall, making them perfect for potting and smaller yards. This is a slightly spreading bush that’s very leafy. We strongly recommend sturdy trellis wires to help hold the bushes’ heavy crop load.

Much of the Blue Ribbon’s size has to do with the bushes’ heavy leafing that grows close to berry clusters. This perhaps puts more energy into the berries.

Pollination

Blue Ribbon Blueberries are self-fertile, which means each flower consists of both female and male parts. They are self-pollinating.

The great thing about Blue Ribbon Blueberries is their high yield even without cross-pollination. However, we recommend growing at least one other variety to improve further yield and flavor, such as the Ochlockonee and Aurora Blueberry.

Winter Bell and Rebel Blueberries are also favored varieties to grow alongside Blue Ribbons.

Honeybee pollinating a blueberry blossom.

Blueberry Bush Care

The Blue Ribbon Blueberry bush is grown from a plug plant, and it’s always best to use an excellent acidic fertilizer rich in ammonium forms of nitrogen like sulfur-coated urea, urea, cottonseed meal, and ammonium sulfate. Fertilizers for certain flowers like rhododendrons and azaleas are also suitable for blueberries.

And it would be best if you never fed healthy and established bushes more than once a year.

Also, since this bush grows out pretty broad and is very leafy, you’ll want to take care to prune and trim your bushes a bit more regularly than other blueberry varieties.

Soil

Like every other blueberry variety, the Blue Ribbon Blueberry bush grows best in rich, well-drained soil.

The ideal soil for blueberries has a pH between 4.5 and 4.8, and incorporating peat moss into your planting medium yields great results.

Sunlight

Blueberry bushes love lots of sunlight, so it’s best to plant your Blue Ribbon Blueberries near an area that receives plenty of sun.

Watering

A blueberry bushes’ root system develops more slowly than is the case for other plants. Due to this factor, you’ll want to water them deeply on a consistent schedule to ensure your blueberries grow to their full potential.

If you want to use drip irrigation, just make sure your soil moisture is even.

Pruning

This blueberry bush definitely needs careful and consistent pruning. An excellent guide on pruning blueberries is “How to Purne Blueberries,” which you can find on our website.

Man pruning blueberry shrubs in the winter.

Diseases & Care

As for diseases, here’s a list of common diseases and the Blue Ribbon Blueberry’s resistance or susceptibility to them.

  • Root Rot: Resistant
  • Stem Blight: Undetermined
  • Phomopsis Twig Blight: Resistant
  • Botryosphaeria Stem canker: Undetermined
  • Bacterial Cane Canker: Resistant
  • Botrytis blight: Resistant
  • Leaf Spot: Resistant
  • Leaf rust: Resistant
  • Bud Mites: Undetermined

If you would like to learn more about common diseases that impact blueberry bushes, please check out our guide.

Common Uses For Blue Ribbon Blueberries

These bushes not only produce big, plump, and juicy blueberries, but they make for lovely landscaping plants as well. And since these bushes tend to grow a bit smaller than other varieties, you can easily plant them in pots around your home or in smaller gardens.

Woman holding mug of blueberries.

What Do Blue Ribbon Blueberries Taste Like?

Blue Ribbon Blueberries have a very sweet taste with a crisp texture.

Cooking

Also, they are fantastic in recipes such as blueberry scones, blueberry pies, and our favorite, homemade blueberry ice cream! And for dinner, these sweet berries pair well with many chicken recipes that use berries.

Salmon with blueberry sauce.

Eating Raw

You can’t go wrong with a bowl of fresh Blue Ribbon Blueberries. They are perfect in fruit salads or by themselves with a bit of honey or yogurt. And don’t forget about your healthy smoothies!

Canning Blueberries

While canning isn’t the best way to preserve your blueberries, you can find lots of delicious blueberry preserve and jam recipes online. However, we recommend freezing or drying as the best method.

Freezing Blueberries

Freezing is perhaps the top method for preserving fresh blueberries. To freeze, you first want to rinse and wash them well. Next, lay our blueberries out on a cookie sheet layered with paper towels. Using a few more paper towels, you’ll need to dry your berries as much as you can.

After that, place your dried blueberries on the cookie sheet with a bit of space between each berry before placing them in the freezer. Spacing is essential so you don’t end up with a giant clump of blueberries. Also, this allows your frozen blueberries to maintain their shape.

Drying Blueberries

The best way to dry blueberries is via a food dehydrator, or you can put them in the oven. To dry in the oven, first, place the berries on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, then bake for at least three hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Let your berries bake entirely, and then move them over to ziplock bags or airtight containers.

Dish of dried blueberries.

Recipes for Blue Ribbon Blueberries

You can find tons of delicious blueberry recipes on the Minnetonka Orchard website, along with recipes for many other kinds of fruits. Just substitute any fruit listed for your dried, fresh, or frozen blueberries.

Here are just a few.

Health Benefits of the Blue Ribbon Blueberry

All blueberries are loaded with nutrition and are a fabulous source of antioxidants. There’s a good reason why it’s considered a “superfood.”

Closeup of small bowl of blueberries.

Here are a few health conditions blueberries are shown to improve.

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke recovery
  • Weight control
  • Cognitive disabilities and dementia
  • Colon cancer

You can learn more about the nutritional benefits of blueberries by reading this comprehensive guide provided on the Minnetonka Orchards website.

Where To Buy Blue Ribbon Blueberry Bushes

You may find the plug plant for this bush at your local nursery.

Blueberry shrubs in pots.

Where To Buy Blue Ribbon Blueberries

As for buying Blue Ribbon Blueberries, you may have to check around at your local nurseries or specialty grocery stores like Sprouts, which tend to have a more extensive variety of fruits.

However, your best bet is to grow your own Blue Ribbon Blueberries.

Wrapping Up Our Discussion of The Blue Ribbon Blueberry

Blueberries on shrub.

If you’re looking for a smaller blueberry bush with lots of berry yield, size, and flavor, you can’t go wrong with the Blue Ribbon Blueberry. These bushes produce some of the juiciest, plumpest, and sweetest blueberries you’ll ever find, and they grow in a wide variety of climate zones.

Do you have tip or suggestion about growing Blue Ribbon Blueberries? Leave a comment in the section below! To read more about blueberries, click this link for our other blueberry-related blog posts.