Florida strawberry breeding program focuses on flavor

09/18/2013 11:27:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

Vance Whitaker, strawberry breederCourtesy University of FloridaStrawberry breeder Vance Whitaker checks out some of his work.The University of Florida strawberry breeding program continues to make quality and flavor priorities as evident by two new releases—Winterstar and Florida Sensation.

Both have scored equal to or better than existing varieties with taste panels, according to a news release.

When compared with Florida Radiance, the leading variety in the state, Winterstar often rated better in terms of sweetness and overall flavor.

Rating even higher in flavor was Florida Sensation.

“Probably the thing that distinguishes Florida Sensation the most is its fruit quality,” UF strawberry breeder Vance Whitaker said in the release. “It has good, consistent sugar levels and very consistently good flavor.”

Sensation also meets or exceeds Radiance with consistent, large-sized fruit.

Although Winterstar's fruit size isn't quite as consistent, it and Sensation are the state's earliest producing varieties.

Winterstar will be hitting grocery store shelves this season, whereas Florida Sensation is about a year off.

The university is seeking parties interested in licensing and growing the Florida Sensation variety.

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