The thornless, trailing blackberry cultivar named Columbia Giant is described by its breeder, ARS geneticist Chad Finn, as "a high-quality, high-yielding, machine-harvestable blackberry with firm, sweet fruit that, when processed, is similar to or better in quality than fruit from the industry standards Marion and Black Diamond".
He added: "Due to its extremely large size, however, Columbia Giant will most commonly be sold in the fresh market."
The Baby Blues blueberry meanwhile is "a vigorous, high-yielding, small-fruited, machine-harvestable highbush [Vaccinium corymbosum] blueberry with outstanding fruit quality," he said.
"It's well-suited for those processing markets that require a small fruit size. Baby Blues should offer growers and processors an alternative to the low-yielding Rubel highbush blueberry, and it may thrive in milder areas where northern highbush blueberries are grown."
The release marks the centenary of the first commercial harvest of highbush blueberries, a move pioneered by USDA chief botanist Frederick Vernon Coville.
Both new varieties were bred by Finn and colleagues at ARS' Horticultural Crops Research Unit in Oregon.