This blurb and the photos come via Dr. Wayne Porter in Meridian:
Harvest of southern highbush blueberries began this week in Perry County. This is about two weeks earlier than normal due to the very warm late winter, early spring weather. Harvest probably could have started last week.
The crop is looking good and market prices are strong. The fruit are large and sweet. First varieties to be harvested will be Rebel, Star, and Emerald.”
Rebel typically ripens in late April to mid-May in south Mississippi. Berries tend to be large and medium to light blue in color. They have small, dry picking scars and good firmness, but flavor is somewhat bland. Some stemming may occur at harvest. This variety was released by the University of Georgia in 2006 and it is patented.
Star usually ripens from late April to mid-May in south Mississippi. Berries are very large with good color and flavor with medium firmness. The berries may split in wet weather. This variety was released by the University of Florida in 1996 and it is patented.
Emerald tends to be slightly earlier than Star with late April to mid-May the typical time frame of harvest in southern Mississippi. Emerald is capable of carrying large crop loads due to its vigor. It has large, high quality berries. This variety was developed by the University of Florida and released in 1999. It too is patented.