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New early season berry variety from AAFC

variety from AAFC


February 28, 2008
By Dan Woolley

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Canadian strawberry growers have access to a new early season variety, developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) fruit breeder Dr. Andrew Jamieson, who is based at the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, in Kentville, N.S.

berries
Wendy, a new early season strawberry variety developed by Dr. Andrew Jamieson, a fruit breeder with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, has two strong attributes – great yield and flavour. Contributed photo


Canadian strawberry growers have access to a new early season variety, developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) fruit breeder Dr. Andrew Jamieson, who is based at the Atlantic Food and Horticulture Research Centre, in Kentville, N.S.

The new variety, called Wendy, was first planted in 2005 and bore its first fruit in 2006, the same year it was named. It is currently being propagated in several Nova Scotia nurseries, said Dr. Jamieson. Keddy’s Nursery of the Annapolis Valley is the principal licence holder for the variety and sub-licenses the berry’s propagation to other nurseries, including Nourse Farms in Massachusetts, which produces the cultivar for the U.S. grower market.

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“I think it will be around for quite some time,” said Dr. Jamieson.

He added that he created the strawberry cultivar to help service the early growing season, a time when growers can typically obtain higher prices for early fruit. Although strawberry varieties that mature earlier in the season typically have lower yields, that’s not the case with Wendy.

“Its yield and flavour are quite good,” said Dr. Jamieson.

“I just had a call from a grower in Minnesota and he had really good luck with the variety. In northern Ontario, the person in charge of trials there said it is the variety everyone wanted to take home because of the flavour.”

Dr. Jamieson began his original selection for the genetic stock for Wendy in 1998. One parent was Evangeline, a variety that he admits has never been commercially popular because of inconsistent yields. The other parent, K96-5, is descended from Sable and Cavendish and related to other Kentville, N.S., varieties.

Of the 15 varieties of strawberries developed at the Kentville research centre in the past 24 years, Dr. Jamieson has bred seven of them – Evangeline, Mira, Sable, Cavendish, Cabot, Brunswick, and Wendy. More than 60 per cent of the strawberries grown in Canada originate from the Kentville-developed varieties, which are also popular in the northern U.S.

Dr. Jamieson has traditionally named his berry cultivars after regional place names within the Maritimes. This time, however, he named his new strawberry after his wife’s youngest sister.

“I wanted to name it after her as a kind of tribute,” he explained. “She passed away quite young with cancer.” ❦