Strawberries get a working over

Principal horticulturist Mark Herrington is developing strawberry varieties for the future.
Principal horticulturist Mark Herrington is developing strawberry varieties for the future. John Mccutcheon

FANCY a peach-flavoured strawberry? How about bubblegum?

These unique combinations were uncovered as part of an ongoing research and development project being undertaken on the Sunshine Coast by the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.

Horticulturist Mark Herrington said the program, funded through Horticulture Australia, the State Government and the strawberry industry, was centred on creating varieties of strawberries that will serve the needs of producers and consumers long into the future.

Mr Herrington said one of the aims of cross-pollinating known strawberry varieties was to produce a scenario where shoppers would have choices in strawberries similar to picking Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples.

"One of the wonderful things about breeding is that you see things that you haven't seen before," he said.

Some of the more unusual creations to date include the Sugarbaby variety, which tastes like a peach, and the as yet unnamed strawberry, which has a taste "reminiscent of bubblegum".

Mr Herrington said while research into these varieties was "still in its infancy", it had the potential to be marketed to children to promote higher fruit consumption.

But it takes between five to seven years of rigorous testing before a particular variety is ready for commercial production.

The Rubygem strawberry is the most recent success story, making a major impact in the European markets for its enhanced flavour and glossy red colour.

The Queensland strawberry industry is now worth around $145 million a year, up from $12 million in 1995.

"This growth is due in part to the success of the strawberry breeding program, which has given us the Rubygem and other lines, and extension efforts with industry," Mr Herrington said.

Topics:  research strawberry variety

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Tragic love story: Couple with MS reach for last hope

Nicholas Hawkins and Tessa Herbert meet in a support group for multiple sclerosis. Nicholas condition has progressively gotten worse and Tessa has organised a crowdfunding to send him to Russia for treatment.

Coast couple's struggle to get Nick to Russia for surgery

Council mergers: Did they actually save us money?

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie confronts protesters against council amalgamation outside the shire council in Barcaldine.

A decade on from council mergers, was the pain worth it?

Janita's youth mental health movement

With one phone call, Janita Cooper helped pave the way to better youth mental health.

One phone call that paved the way to better youth mental health

Local Partners