Cornell Researchers Bully for New Berries

Cornell Researchers Bully for New Berries

Cornell University’s berry breeding program — the oldest in the U.S. — continues to bustle with the release of two new varieties: a strawberry, ‘Dickens,’ and a raspberry, ‘Crimson Treasure.’

Both varieties, which will be available for planting in spring 2019, promise to produce large fruits with vibrant colors that maintain peak flavor for longer than most heritage varieties.

The new berries are the fruits of labor for berry breeder Courtney Weber, Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, NY.

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‘Dickens’ is a traditional, June-bearing strawberry with high yields and bright red fruit that continues bearing late into the season. The berries are firm, so they hold well on the plant and in the container, but not so firm that they have no flavor, according to Weber.

Dickens strawberry

Cold-hardiness is among the top qualities for the new ‘Dickens’ strawberry.
Photo courtesy of Cornell University

The ‘Dickens’ strawberry was first discovered in Weber’s breeding fields in 2002 and was originally noticed for the plant’s hardiness in surviving cold winters, making it especially suitable for New York and other cold-winter climates. Production trials throughout the region have shown ‘Dickens’ to be an adaptable and consistent producer of high-quality fruit.

Weber has named his strawberry varieties after his favorite authors. Because this newest berry “yields like the dickens,” Weber decided to name it after Charles Dickens.

Crimson Treasure raspberries

The ‘Crimson Treasure’ raspberry produces fruit larger than other varieties grown in the region.
Photo courtesy of Cornell University

The new raspberry, ‘Crimson Treasure,’ also is very high-yielding with larger fruit than traditional varieties grown in the region. The well-known ‘Heritage’ raspberry produces fruit of approximately 2.5 grams, while ‘Crimson Treasure’ produces berries twice as large – averaging between 4 to 6 grams. That’s typical of what you see with supermarket raspberries, Weber said.
‘Crimson Treasure’ is a fall-bearing raspberry with bright-red fruit that holds its color and texture well in storage.

This is the third raspberry in the ‘Crimson’ series. Two previously released raspberries were named ‘Crimson Giant’ and ‘Crimson Night.’