U.S.: New strawberry variety released by USDA

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U.S.: New strawberry variety released by USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new strawberry variety on Monday. Named 'Keepsake', it is a midseason, spring-bearing, short-day cultivar.

This comes after the variety was approved for release in 2018.

The new strawberry is the first result from an effort by USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Maryland to develop strawberries with improved shelf life. A team at the agricultural authority has been testing the new variety for nine years.

In a report, the USDA detailed findings and the benefits of the variety.

Compared to other strawberry varieties, Keepsake has a low proportion of decayed fruit after two weeks in cold storage, it says.

Keepsake strawberries also have "outstanding flavor with very high soluble solids (sweetness) and moderate acidity (tartness)," it adds.

The new variety also has a "pleasing texture and are juicy when eaten", it explains.

Keepsake is similar to the Flavorfest cultivar. The same project developed Flavorfest in 2012.

It specified that the new cultivar should perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern parts of the U.S. Additionally, Keepsake is "firm and tough" enough to withstand handling.

When the USDA tested, Keepsake's first harvest date ranged from May 10 to May 27. After testing harvest dates, the USDA investigated the variety's rot resistance. It details that it is resistant to the most common fungi that cause decay.

Testing found that the average total yield for the variety is 1.3 pounds per plant. This means that it has a slightly smaller yield than varieties like Flavorfest and Allstar but a greater yield than Camarosa and Chandler.

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