Organic Strawberries have been very popular at the Family Resource Center Garden this season. Kids and adults alike seem excited by the presence of fresh, red, ripe fruit in a garden close to home. What not every one may realize is that there are 4 different varieties planted….
These types of Strawberries are called “cultivars”. A cultivar is as the name sounds – a cultivate variety. In fact almost all the fruit we eat are cultivated varieties – derived from wild foods of long ago through centuries of plant breeding. And sometimes that means breeding of combinations of plants to form new ones … in university laboratories.
ALBION Strawberries are the most popular at the FRC Garden. They look and taste like the kinds of strawberries you’ll normally find in a farmers’ market or store. They’re large and cone shaped, with dark-green leaves, and are good at fighting off insects or disease.
SAN ANDREAS are similar to Albion, enough that we can mistake one for the other. But they tend to burst with fruit earlier in the season, whereas Albion Strawberry plants produce fruit more consistently once they get started. Flavor and disease resistance in San Andreas are very good as with Albion, and very similar to Albion.
GOLDEN ALEXANDRIA Strawberries are smaller and sweeter in flavor, and the leaves are more of a light, lime-green color. Fruit tends to come out and ripen in summer or fall. You’ll find these interplanted with the Raspberries (which are starting to set flowers and may fruit later this month or early next month, but that’s for another post).
QUINALT Strawberries yield fruit that is small in size, with a long and slender shape.
You’ll find some of the Strawberries in the long bed on the east side of the garden, and 3 of the 4 types of Strawberries in the southernmost of the 4 equal sized raised beds closer to the FRC building, and 1 type in the Raspberry patch south of the 4 main raised beds.
All of these 4 Strawberry cultivars selected for planting and harvesting at the FRC Garden are “everbearing” which means they keep putting out berries after the first round of fruiting.