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The Calypso Blueberry

Blueberries can be a challenging fruit for novice cultivators trying to get the hang of things. This is why the Calypso Blueberry has grown in popularity over recent years and is quickly building a positive reputation among experienced northern highbush blueberry cultivators. This berry is very “grower friendly” and produces higher yields.

Cluster of blueberries similar to the fruit of the Calypso Blueberry.

These bushes produce large-sized berries, and in many cases, folks report that they are even easier to manage than Liberty. In fact, the Calypso Blueberry makes for a terrific alternative to Liberty, Bluecrop, Legacy, and other similar blueberry varieties.

See why seasoned farmers are raving about these fantastic blueberries.

History of the Calypso Blueberry

The Calypso Blueberry was initially developed at Michigan State University by Dr. Jim Hancock. The berry was initially labeled MSU-70 and is a descendent of the Elliot and Draper Blueberry varieties.

Hancock has a reputation for breeding many of the world’s most popular varieties, including, Draper, Aurora, and Liberty.

Here are just a few of the Calypso Blueberry’s unique features:

  • Large berry
  • Excellent flavor
  • Ripens with consistency and uniformity
  • Exceptional storage life that surpasses Duke and other varieties.
  • Outstanding yield
  • Above-average firmness
  • Easy to grow
  • Flexible harvest time, able to remain on the bush longer before degradation

Calypso Blueberry / Fruit Characteristics

The Calypso Blueberry shares many characteristics with Draper blueberries.

  • Chilling Level: High Chill
  • Ripening Season: Mid-late
  • Fruit qualities: Light blue, firm, sweeter than Legacy, winter hardy
  • Berry size: Large
  • Seed size: 1.32mm
  • Bush Habit: Upright, Open, Vigoroso
  • Primary Use: Processed or Fresh

Chilling Level

The Calypso requires 1,000 chilling hours per year. This berry isn’t suitable for areas where the average summer temperature surpasses 85 degrees. Also, temperature variances while transporting the berry from the field to the cold chain will impact the fruit’s firmness.

Ripening Season

Calypso’s fruiting season is typically late mid-season, likely overlapping with Legacy and Jersey. While not as vigorous as Legacy, Calypso is more winter hardy, and the berry’s yields in Michigan have shown to outpace Legacy’s yields.

You can also find more information on the Minneopa Orchards website, where our helpful guide explains the best times for picking blueberries.

Blueberries on shrub.

Fruit Qualities

Calypso blueberries have excellent firmness and a sweet, balanced flavor. This berry’s often compared to Valor. However, farmers have said that Valor tends to taste better off of the bush. However, Calypso performs better after it’s been in cold storage a bit more. If placed in cold storage after a week, the flavor and texture of this berry stand out better against other cold storage blueberries.

Some have reported a slightly mealy texture when eaten directly off the bush and that the flavor isn’t quite as good as Valor. But, cold storage significantly improves these qualities and brings it on par with Valar and many of the best-tasting varieties.

Berry Size

A mature Calypso blueberry has an average height of 1.1 centimeters, an average width of 1.5 centimeters, and an average weight of 2.44 grams.

Closeup of cluster of blueberries with water droplets on them.

Planting Zones

The best planting zones for Calypso blueberry bushes are zones 4 through 7, the best zones for growing highbush.

However, make sure to consult USDA Hardiness Zones before planting them in your orchard or garden.

You can also find more information concerning the best practices for growing Calypso Blueberries in our reference guide: How to Grow Blueberries.

Size and Spacing

For spacing, we recommend spacing at 4×10 per plant. Each bush grows upright, at an average height of 4.2 feet.

Pollination

Calypso blueberry bushes are moderately self-fertile. However, they do require pollination from at least one other highbush blueberry cultivar to achieve maximum fruit yield.

Closeup of blueberry blossoms in spring.

These bushes can also be propagated using hardwood cuttings in a greenhouse before planting them in a field. Root development from hardwood cuttings can take between four to six weeks.

And it can take three to four weeks for root development using microshoots.

Draper and Legacy are excellent cultivars for growing with Calypso Blueberry bushes.

Fertilizer

For all blueberries, the best fertilizer needs to contain plenty of nitrogen. Fertilizers containing nitrogen in ammonium, ammonia nitrate, or urea work very well for blueberries. They also require lots of elements, such as magnesium and iron.

We recommend fertilizers such as Hi-Yield Aluminum Sulfate and Organic Berry~tone. Also, fertilizers that work well with flowers such as Azaleas, Camellias, and Rhododendrons, also work well with blueberries.

Soil

Calypso bushes need rich and well-drained soil.

The best mixture of soil usually has high concentrations of peat moss, such as Sphagnum peat moss. Pine bark is another good you can add to your peat moss, but blueberries can also thrive in 100 percent peat moss.

Sunlight

You want to ensure your blueberries have plenty of sunlight, so areas with too much shade are not the best places to plant your bushes. Your bushes will need full sunlight all day long for maximum production, with a minimum of eight to ten hours of direct (unfiltered) sunlight each day.

Man picking blueberries from bushes on sunny day.

Watering

Blueberry bushes have root systems that are slower to develop and become established than many other plants. Due to this factor, you’ll want to ensure you water your bushes consistently and deeply to promote maximum growth.

Also, if you’re using a drip irrigation system, you’ll need to check to make sure your soil is evenly moist and not over or under-saturated in different areas.

Pruning

You can learn everything you need to know about pruning your Calypso Blueberry bushes in the “How to Prune Blueberries” guide found on our website.

Diseases & Care

You can learn more about common diseases that impact blueberry bushes in our website guide.

Pests

It’s not just people who love blueberries and, chances are, you’ll end up dealing with a pest or two. For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries

Common Uses For the Blueberry

Blueberry bushes are more than just delicious fruit-producing plants. They are also beautiful and make for fantastic landscaping fauna that can complement any flower.

Calypso blueberries are large and flavorful and are perfect for pies and muffin recipes. You can also add them to your yogurt and oatmeal for a special treat. And don’t forget those blueberry pancakes!

Closeup of wooden bowl of blueberries.

What Do Calypso Blueberries Taste Like?

Many people compare the taste of Calypso Blueberries to that of Legacy, saying that this berry is a bit sweeter. Once again, we should mention that some report this berry isn’t as sweet off the bush as other berries, and for the best results, you should eat it after about ten days in cold storage.

Cooking

There are no limits to what you can do with blueberries when it comes to cooking. Beyond your pies, cakes, muffins, and fillings, you can also incorporate blueberries in beef dishes like filet mignon, blueberry-beef burgers, and beef with Brandy Blueberries Flambé, just to name a few.

slices of pork with blueberry sauce.
Blueberries and pork make a tasty combination for a meal.

Eating Raw

Once again, we want to remind you that Calypso blueberries may not be as sweet fresh off the bush as other varieties. However, after a few days in cold storage, farmers report the taste and texture dramatically improved.

These berries are also excellent in salads and your favorite cold or hot cereals.

Canning Blueberries

We have to warn you that canning blueberries is not the choice method most growers use for preserving blueberries. However, if you’re interested in making jams and preserves, you can find various delicious recipes online.

But, for preservation, we recommend either drying or freezing blueberries.

Freezing Blueberries

Freezing is the best way to preserve your blueberries perfectly. You can follow these simple steps for freezing blueberries.

  1. Wash and rinse your blueberries well.
  2. Lay your blueberries out on a cookie sheet lined with 2 or 3 layers of paper towels.
  3. Using a few more paper towels, blot your blueberries as dry as possible.
  4. Place your blueberries on another cookie sheet, ensuring that each berry has a bit of space between them. Spacing is essential to preserve your blueberries’ shape and ensure you don’t end up with a big clump of frozen berries.
  5. Place your berries in the freezer.

Drying Blueberries

We highly recommend using a food dehydrator as the best way to dry blueberries. However, you can also accomplish this task using a conventional oven. To dry blueberries using an oven:

  1. Place the blueberries on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  2. Bake the blueberries for at least three hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Make sure your berries are entirely cooked before transferring them to either airtight containers or ziplock bags.
Closeup of small bowl of dried blueberries.

Recipes for Blueberries

You can find a wide array of savory blueberry recipes on the Minneopa Orchards Website. Here are just a few recipes you can try.

Health Benefits of the Blueberry

Blueberries contain lots of nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese and are considered a superfood.

Here is a list of a few health conditions blueberries are shown to help.

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

You can learn more information regarding the nutritional benefits of blueberries by reading our comprehensive guide on the Minneopa Orchards website.

Where To Buy Calypso Blueberry Bushes

If you’re interested in growing Calypso for your home garden, it doesn’t appear to be a variety that’s widely available to the home grower market. If you live in the zones the Calypso is rated for, you may be able to check with local nurseries for availability.

Where To Buy Calypso Blueberries

Your best bet for finding Calypso blueberries might be your local nursery or a specialty health food store.

A Final Word on the Calypso Blueberry

Clusters of blueberries on a shrub.

If you live in a cooler climate and want to try your hand at growing blueberries, the Calypso Blueberry is a great starter crop. It produces a high yield and it’s very easy to manage. Plus, they have a wonderful flavor after a few days in cold storage. There’s a good reason why so many growers are adding this blueberry to their crops.

If you have a tip or suggestion to share about growing Calypso blueberries, leave it in the comments section below! To read about other blueberry varieties, click here for our other blueberry-related blog posts.