A fresh market strawberry bulletin from the Northwest Berry Foundation. 
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Trials and tribulations: Update on establishing on-farm variety trials as the landscape of the Oregon strawberry industry changes
   Trials    

Northwest Berry Foundation is managing four total seasons of fresh and processed trials in PNW with this season’s plants already in the ground. This project is funded by a grant through the Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research.
Fresh Market Selections Planted May 2018
Left photo: Camila. | Middle photo: Sangria (left) and Emilia (right) | Right photo: Ruby June
Sangria and Camila are both LCN June bearing variety with large, long conical fruit. Sangria is said to have more of a wedge shape than Camila. Both are listed to have good flavor and firmness with medium red and glossy exterior and light red interior. Plants are earlier fruiting with open pant canopy and moderate vigor. 

Emilia is another June bearing variety from LCN. The fruit is a large, long conical shape with sweet taste and good firmness. Fruit color is described as light red inside and outside. Plant characteristics include early fruiting, moderate vigor and open plant canopy.

Ruby June is the last LCN June bearer planted. The fruit is described to the be darkest exterior and interior color of any of the LCN varieties with excellent flavor, large fruit size, medium firmness and an early season. Plants are compact with tighter plant architecture.
The Day Neutral Selection
WSU 12.216-3
WSU 12.216-3 is an advanced day-neutral selection from the WSU small fruit plant breeding program. In preliminary tests, WSU 12.216-3 has had consistent fruiting compared with standard cultivars, with good flavor, size, appearance, color, and firmness.
Processed selections planted May 2018
Left photo: Marys Peak. | Right photo: Puget Crimson. 
 Marys Peak is a mid to late season, dual purpose strawberry with excellent flavor. Consistently large fruit and vigorous plants.

Puget Crimson is a late season, dual purpose strawberry with excellent flavor. It has large fruit in both the first and second fruiting seasons. 
   Tribulations    

Ongoing industry dynamics are moving targets right now. Processors, growers, propagators, industry organizations… all the pieces appear to be shifting right now. Some main points:
Propagation: Fresh and processed propagation of small lots of plants is increasingly difficult when competing for nursery ground. Additionally, timelines for securing clean plants before nurseries can replicate them is challenging. We are working around this by agreeing to trial nursery proprietary selections and new releases in PNW with additional funding to secure planting ground. In addition, communicating between plant breeding status and propagator access has been key to movement of new varieties.

Processors: Recent buyer driven demands have made processors (and therefore processed growers) leery of planting any processed acres, particularly newer varieties. We are working around this by involving buyers in the initial variety discussion and initial small-scale user testing. 

Growers: Either they are removing themselves from this complicated processed web all together or they are adapting as they are able. It’s becoming very difficult for growers to plant for the processed market based on numerous factors, and so the movement toward fresh market is becoming a more confident market to fall back on. There is little willingness to plant processed trials at this time.

Industry Organizations: With the disbandment of the Washington Strawberry Commission and the general lower assessment dollars generated to do commission funded work, there is a shift toward fresh market grower awareness and engagement. 
   2018 Strawberry Field Day Highlights    
Left photo: Julie Pond (Northwest Berry Foundation) giving an update on the latest round of on-farm variety trials.  | Right photo: Chad Finn (USDA-ARS) giving a tour of the strawberry breeding plots.
Last week, OSU  hosted the 2018 Strawberry Field Day at North Willamette Research and Extension Center. If you missed the event, you can read Capital Press' recap article for highlights from the day, including how 'artificial fruit' could control spotted wing Drosophila. 
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This bulletin is produced by the Northwest Berry Foundation in collaboration with the Oregon Strawberry Commission.  Contact the NBF office at 503-285-0908 or send us an email.
Copyright © 2017, Northwest Berry Foundation, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: 5261 North Princeton Street, Portland, OR 97203
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