Strawberries are grown extensively for market and home use. The cultivated strawberry is an American fruit that originated by hybridization from the wild species of eastern North America and South America. The berries, which are rich in vitamin C, have a unique, tangy taste, and are highly valued as dessert fruit. Commercially, strawberry growers today receive over $250 million yearly for the freshly harvested fruit. About one-third of the crop is processed. This adds substantially to its overall value. Many varieties are grown successfully, however, some varieties with special qualities may be best for a given region. Other varieties are chosen for such particular qualities as flavor, shape, or hardiness.
New varieties of strawberries appear from time to time. These may grow well in one region, but prove unsatisfactory in other regions. Before planting new varieties extensively, growers should test them for more than one year. Compare new varieties with those already successful, and reject them if they are not superior to the standard varieties.
Selecting a Variety: Grow the very best varieties for your region. Choose them carefully; many environmental conditions affect the performance of a given variety. New varieties become available frequently and the best variety last year may not be the best one this year. The two general classes of strawberries are "everbearers" and "June-bearers" (one-crop varieties). As their name suggests, everbearers produce fruit during spring, summer, fall, or during the fall and winter months in Florida. June-bearers, on the other hand, produce fruit only in late spring and early summer. Whether the strawberries are grown in a home garden or for market influence the selection of a variety. In turn, the type of market use may determine the variety of strawberries grown. Strawberries are marketed fresh and frozen. They also are processed for preserves, flavoring, concentrates, and extracts.
Regional Differences: Regional adaptation refers to the response of a variety to environmental conditions within a region or area. One major factor is the relationship between temperature and the amount of daylight on the growth and fruit bearing of plants. Varieties of strawberries respond differently to these variable conditions. Differences appear in the growth, vigor, and productivity of plants; in the size, flavor, and firmness of fruit; and in susceptibility to diseases. Long days and warm temperatures are necessary for flower formation in the June varieties. Everbearing varieties can product flowers during either long or short periods of daylight.
New Varieties Developed at GCREC - In 2000, the University of Florida GCREC-Dover was pleased to announce the development of two new varieties to be released for commercial use in the near future. These two varieties are named 'Earlibrite' in tribute to Dr. Earl Albregts and 'Strawberry Festival' in honor of the annual Strawberry Festival held in Plant City, Florida.
In 2001, 'Carmine' was released to the public. Perhaps not as sweet as
'Sweet Charlie', 'Carmine' appeals to growers because of its deep red color and
longer shelf life, which is imperative for Florida growers who ship most of
their fruit to northern states.
Popular Varieties Grown in Florida
Oso Grande – University of California (UC) cultivar; high yields in March and April; large average fruit size; fruit color and flavor tend to be variable; fruit are usually conic to wedge shaped with a distinctively rounded tip.
Sweet Charlie – University of Florida (UF) cultivar; resistant to anthracnose fruit rot; fruit has a distinctly sweet flavor due to a high sugar/acid ratio; external fruit color is orange red, and internal color is orange streaked with white; fruit are generally less firm than the fruit of Oso Grande and have an average size of 17g, which is similar to that of Selva but less than that of Oso Grande. Fruit has a larger calyx – compared to the fruit of other cultivars grown in Florida.
Selva – UC cultivar; can produce ripe fruit within 30 days of planting; fruit is firm, but generally has a dry, bland flavor; fruit shape varies from medium conic to flat and wedgy. Fruit skin color is a deep red.
Camarosa – UC cultivar; fruit are very firm and large, with uniform deep red color and high acidity, but they tend to vary in sweetness and flavor intensity. Fruit shape: long wedge.
Rosa Linda – A new UF cultivar; produces many medium-sized, conically shaped berries; mature fruit frequently have white tips early in the season, but otherwise ripening is uniform; external fruit color is bright red with a deeper red blush around the achenes (seeds); internal fruit color is mostly bright red, which makes fresh slices of this fruit very attractive; fruit are slightly firmer than the fruit of Sweet Charlie; fruit flavor is full-bodied and aromatic.
Carlsbad - Relatively high February yield, compared to other University of California cultivars. Produces firm, deep red fruit. Fruit is low in flavor and sweetness and is prone to rain damage.
Gaviota - New cultivar from the University of California. Less vigorous than 'Camarosa'. Produces large fruit which can become seedy in hot weather.
Diamante - New cultivar from the University of California. Day neutral fruiting type, like 'Selva'. More resistant to powdery mildew and spider mites than 'Selva'. Produces large fruit and has an open canopy.
Aromas - New cultivar from the University of California. Day neutral fruiting type, like 'Selva'. More resistant to powdery mildew and spider mites than 'Selva'. Produces large fruit on an erect, vigorous plant. May have pollination problems early in the season.
For more information regarding Univ. of California varieties. Adobe Reader required to read PDF file.
Other Common Varieties:
|Region||Cultivars 1980||Cultivars 1990|
|California||Tioga, Tufts, Heidi||Chandler, Selva, Pajaro, Commander, Ken Sheehy, Swede|
|Florida||Tioga, Tufts||Selva, Pajaro, Dover|
|Pacific Northwest (BC, WA, OR)||Northwest, Hood||Totem, Benton, Shuksan|
|Upper Midwest (ND, SD, MN, northern IO, WI, northern MI||Veestar, Redcoat, Sparkle||Honeoye, Kent, Glooscap|
|Eastern Canada (Ont. Quebec, maritime provinces)||Veestar, Redcoat||Veestar, Ken, Glooscap, Honeoye, Blomidon|
|Northeastern US (WV, MD, DE, PA, NJ, NY, CN, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME)||Sunrise, Earlidawn, Redchief, Raritan, Guardian||Earliglow, Honeoye, Kent, Allstar|
|Lower Midwest (NE, souther IO, MO, IL, IN, MI, OH, KY)||Earliglow, Raritan, Redchief, Guardian, Surecrop, Midway, Delite||Earliglow, Raritan, Redchief, Allstar, Surecrop, Midway, Delite|
|Southern US (TX, OR, AR, LA, MS, TN, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA)||Tangi, Sunrise, Earlibelle||Chandler, Earliglow, Cardinal, Apollo|