Gupton and pearl, two highbush blueberry cultivars developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could benefit Southern growers.

These berries give Southern growers early-ripening fruit, according to the USDA.

The early ripening starts in April and May.

Gupton was released in 2006, and pearl was released in 2010. Previously, there was limited acreage of Southern highbush blueberries because their lack of vigor has made them difficult to grow, said Stephen Stringer, a geneticist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Many nurseries have requested pearl, while some Mississippi growers have already planted gupton in small plots, according to the USDA.

Because of the year-round demand for blueberries Southern growers will have a chance to provide more to the market because of the early-ripening berries.