Blueberry grown in NSW breaks Guinness World Record as world’s heaviest | Australia news

It’s dark blue, about the diameter of a golf ball and it weighs 10 times as much as your average blueberry.

Picked on 13 November, the piece of fruit was this week officially recognised by the Guinness World Records as the world’s heaviest blueberry.

“When we put it on the scales I was a bit shocked,” said Brad Hocking, blueberry lead at Costa, a fruit and vegetable producer at Corindi in New South Wales.

“I knew they were big but had to do a double take to make sure.”

Grown by Hocking, Jessica Scalzo and Marie-France Courtois, the berry weighs in at 20.4 grams and is 39.31mm wide.

The giant blueberry is now frozen, but there are talks of getting it cast in resin and hung on the wall, Hocking said.

It is from the Eterna variety, a type of blueberry created under Costa’s variety improvement program (VIP), which develops one or two new blueberry varieties a year.

The record-breaking blueberry is about 1.25 times the weight of the previous record holder, which weighed 16.2g with a diameter of 36.33mm. The past two records were set by Ozblu Western Australian growers in 2020 and 2018.

Hocking said while typically a sacrifice in quality is expected with larger fruit, blueberries of the Eterna variety were “firm with a really good shelf life”.

“The consumer experience is consistently good with great flavour,” he said. “It’s really outstanding that it maintains all of those eating qualities, even with the large size that it delivers.”

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Agronomist Brad Hocking at Costa Group’s blueberry farm in Corindi, NSW. Photograph: Brigid Veale/Costa Group

Hocking said the fruit wasn’t an abnormality within the Eterna variety: there were about 20 blueberries of a similar size present when the berry was picked, Hocking said.

He said there was a growing demand for bigger fruit, which he attributed to a shift from using fruit in baking and on breakfast cereal to snacking.

Hocking said that while “there’s always potential to go bigger”, Costa was focused on improving agronomic traits – such as heat tolerance and resistance to pests and disease – over size.

The record was a “long time coming”, he said, taking about 10 years from the beginning of the breeding process through to commercialisation.

Costa blueberries are bred using traditional techniques, which include manually hand pollinating and throwing out seeds.

In Australia, Costa has also developed the Delight variety, specialised for production in low latitudes, and the Arana variety, which has an extended production profile so it can be harvested for six months of the year.

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