U.S.: Cornell University launches new strawberry

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U.S.: Cornell University launches new strawberry

University of Cornell researchers have developed a new strawberry variety called 'Herriot', which they claim has high yields, disease resistance and a slight pineapple overtone.

In a release, associate professor of horticulture Courtney Weber said these factors combined with the fruit's eye appeal would make it an ideal option for growers.

"Herriot is one tough plant - many of our trials are in the worst possible soil conditions, and Herriot is always one of the last varieties standing. And it tastes good, too," she said.

"Herriot really draws the eye because of the nice shine on the fresh berries. That makes them very attractive to farm-stand and pick-your-own customers."

The fruit weight averages at about 11 grams (0.38oz) and can grow up to 25 grams (0.88oz), with heart-shaped shiny red berries and a bright green calyx, which is the berry's green leafy top.

Researchers conducted trials with commercial growers in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Minnesota and Ontario, and found the variety had a 60% higher yield than Jewel, which is the predominant midseason variety for perennial matted-row production and was also developed by Cornell.

The release said Herriot harvests consistently began two days before Jewell in a New York state agricultural experiment station, blooming in mid-May and avoiding most damaging frosts.

Weber said the variety also shows good resistance to common leaf diseases and holds up well to summer renovation stress, allowing for wider adaptation to variable soils.

The variety has been in development for 12 years and was named after one of Weber's favorite authors James Herriot, who wrote "All Creatures Great and Small".

Cornell plant varieties and germplasm licensing associate Jessica Lyga told www.freshfruitportal.com the variety would be available to large scale commercial growers in the U.S. except California, as well as internationally.

Related story: U.S.: pesticide resistance growing in strawberries

Photo: Courtney Weber


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