New strawberries in the pink
Two new home-grown strawberry varieties, Pink and White, will soon be available to Australian growers and consumers after Hort Innovation put the call out for a commercial partner to fast-track the products to market.
Hort Innovation chief executive officer Brett Fifield said both varieties had an intense strawberry aroma and an unusual appearance that was expected to appeal to consumers.
They have been specially bred for the Australian environment and offer superior overall quality.
“Pink and White strawberries are like nothing else on Aussie retail shelves,” Mr Fifield said.
“They’re exceptional, and so they should be.
“They are the culmination of years of research, field trials, consumer preference testing and industry engagement.”
The new White strawberries are brilliant white on the inside and on the outside — they are white with a pale pink blush and specked with red seeds.
The Pink strawberries have a peach-pink exterior and also feature a white inside.
Both have a rich aroma and a sweet flavour.
Hort Innovation and DAF QLD are seeking a suitable partner to commercialise the varieties, foster grower adoption and deliver marketing efforts to support consumer awareness.
The new strawberries are the first ‘novelty’ varieties to be developed and commercialised through the Hort Innovation-DAF QLD partnership.
According to the Horticulture Statistics Handbook, in 2020-21, 77,751 tonnes of strawberries were produced at a value of $417.2 million.
Eighty-eight per cent of this domestic production was supplied to the fresh market, seven per cent (5417 tonnes) was processed predominately into preserves, and five per cent (3578 tonnes) was exported.
The majority of strawberries are grown in Queensland (42 per cent), followed by Victoria (36 per cent), Western Australia (11 per cent) and South Australia (seven per cent), with smaller volumes in Tasmania and NSW.
There are about 100 commercial strawberry farms in Victoria, with the majority (75 per cent) in the Yarra Valley.
Strawberries are propagated via ‘runners’ with Toolangi, south of Yea, one of the main runner growing regions due to suitable chill hours that induce flowering, once planted.