The Philip E. Marucci Center for Blueberry and Cranberry Research and Extension, a substation of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), generates and disseminates research information directly applicable to the production of high-quality blueberries and cranberries and develops new cultivars for industry.
The Marucci Center was first established over 100 years ago at Whitesbog in 1918 under the direction of C.S. Beckwith. Although it was originated to focus solely on cranberry problems, research was gradually devoted to blueberries as the new fledgling cultivated blueberry industry developed. In 1927 the station was moved to Pemberton and then, in 1962, to its permanent new research facilities at Chatsworth, NJ.
In addition to the renowned Beckwith, the substation has been the laboratory for such notable cranberry scientists as C.A. Doehlert, director from 1944 until his retirement in 1960; R.B. Wilcox, USDA plant pathologist; F.B. Chandler, horticulturist; and entomologists R.S. Filmer, P.E. Marucci, and W.E. Tomlinson, Jr. Both Chandler and Tomlinson eventually joined the staff of the Massachusetts Cranberry Experiment Station.
Today, the modern research facility, located in the midst of New Jersey's cranberry and blueberry industry in the Pinelands, is recognized by the federal government as the National Center for Vaccinium Research. In addition to providing information on the cultural needs of cranberries and blueberries, the facility supports an extensive cranberry breeding program in cooperation with scientists from Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
NJAES and USDA cooperative research at the Marucci Center has a rich history of achievement:
- The first cultivated highbush blueberry varieties.
- Other successful blueberry varieties such as Duke.
- Successful control methods for insect pests, such as the blueberry maggot and leafhoppers, that transmit blueberry stunt and cranberry false-blossom disease.
- Demonstration of the crucial role bees play in pollinating both blueberries and cranberries.
- Techniques for applying fungicides to blueberries and cranberries with minimal disturbance to the environment.