MSUToday
Published: Feb. 10, 2012

MSU blueberries now being grown in Korea

Contact(s): Layne Cameron Media Communications office: (517) 353-8819 cell: (765) 748-4827 Layne.Cameron@cabs.msu.edu, Jim Hancock Horticulture office: (517) 355-5191, ext. 1387 hancock@msu.edu

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State University blueberry varieties will soon be sprouting in Korea for the first time.

The blueberries, which are the most widely planted in the world, have been sublicensed by Goodman Partners, LLC, a South Korean company, through Hortifrut, the company that holds the exclusive license from MSU on the varieties released in Asia.

All four of the sublicensed varieties – Draper, Liberty, Aurora and Huron – were developed by Jim Hancock, MSU professor of horticulture and MSU AgBioResearch scientist.

Draper is known for its high quality fruit that can be harvested by machine and stored for long periods of time. It also has a refreshing “snap” when first bitten. Liberty produces unusually flavorful fruit late in the season, a plus for growers when other varieties are done. Aurora is the latest fruit producer of all the varieties and stores well after picking. Huron blooms late, which means it avoids damage from most early frosts, and its fruit has a complex flavor.

“I think the areas in Korea where the blueberries will be grown are similar to the growing areas in Michigan,” Hancock said. “So they’ll be able to take advantage of the traits the same way Michigan growers do.”

According to Tom Herlache, technology manager in MSU Technologies who assisted with the sublicensing process, there have been rumors of potentially fraudulent MSU blueberries in Korea – varieties that were purported to be the MSU berries but weren’t.

“Michigan State blueberries are known around the world for their quality,” he said. “The sublicensing contract establishes Goodman Partners as the only dealer of MSU blueberry varieties in Korea.”

MSU receives royalties from plant sales and that tens of thousands of plants are expected to be sold in South Korea each year, Herlache added.

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