Florida's fastest-growing strawberry variety also is its newest.
The Florida brilliance variety, the latest release from the Strawberry Breeding and Genetics program at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, is in its first commercial season, said Vance Whitaker, strawberry breeder at the University of Florida.
“It’s the largest roll-out we have ever done, with 1,000 acres out of the approximately 10,000 acres in central Florida already planted the first season,” he said. Whitaker said Florida Brilliance is widely expected to become the leading variety as soon as enough nursery stock is available.
Florida brilliance is an earlier yielding variety and the fruit has better shape, firmness and flavor than the current leading variety Florida radiance, Whitaker said.
However, Whitaker said sweet sensation is still the highest rated for flavor and will still have an important place in the industry.
Descriptions and videos of the characteristics of all the leading varieties can be found on the University of Florida’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center website, http://bit.ly/UF-strawberries.
While the Florida radiance variety is widely used, Gary Wishnatzki, president, CEO and owner of Wish Farms, Plant City, Fla., said Florida brilliance is getting some attention.
Wish Farm also has big acres of the sweet sensation variety, which he said is a variety that holds it size, shape and sugar levels through the season.
In addition, he said Wish Farms has invested in a breeding program with Kanaka Peak Research, a California-based company led by strawberry breeder Beth Crandall.