North Carolina State University is taking tips on its next strawberry breeding projects directly from end-users in the foodservice category — Johnson & Wales University culinary instructors and students.
Led by Mark Allison, a Johnson & Wales chef instructor, a group of culinary students will help N.C. State breeders identify characteristics culinary professionals crave in strawberries, considering flavor, color texture and size. Led by Jerermy Pattison, strawberry researcher and breeder, the N.C. State Plants for Human Health Institute will work on a strawberry variety that incorporates the suggestions.
In return, N.C. State’s plant breeders, strawberry growers and representatives from the North Caroline Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services will give the chefs a look into the production process for strawberries and the produce industry.
“The culinary industry looks for superior flavor and quality,” Allison said in a news release. “We’re teaching our students to seek out the best quality products. By working with N.C. State we connect our students with both researchers and farmers across the state.”
The $200,000 project, titled the N.C. Strawberry Project, is funded by Golden LEAF Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the goal of funding initiatives that strengthen North Carolina’s economy. It is scheduled to last a year.