Submitted to: North American Strawberry Conference Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/19/2007
Publication Date: 2/12/2007
Citation: Takeda, F. 2007. Recent Strawberry Production Innovations in the Eastern United States. North American Strawberry Conference Abstracts, Pg. 3. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Many strawberry farmers in the central and eastern United States operate small-acreage, diversified fruit and vegetable operations and direct market their products locally and regionally. Local and regional marketing of strawberries enables growers to harvest fruit at higher maturity stages and reduce the time between harvest and consumption and insure higher quality fruit for consumers. High quality vegetatively propagated plant material and improved protected environment production systems will extend the production season and permit growing of strawberries without the need for pre-plant soil fumigation. Improved management strategies for producing high quality planting materials and extending off-season fruit production for strawberries are being developed and are intended to open niches for alternative and value-added products that small farms can provide. In the Mid-Atlantic coast region (39° N, 77° W), the main strawberry harvest season is from early May to late June. Out-of-season fruit production in the region is low, but the interest for out-of-season strawberry production systems has risen recently. Greenhouse produced ‘Camarosa’ and ‘Chandler’ strawberries and fruit of the day-neutral ‘Seascape’ harvested from November and March have been direct-marketed to restaurants in the Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore area at $3.00 to $4.00 per pound or about four times higher than fruit harvested in spring. We have developed a simple propagation scheme for short-day type cultivars to produce fruit in fall and spring in high tunnels without using standard conditioning treatments such as chilling and artificial short-day photoperiod, during the nursery phase. As much as 100% of ‘Carmine’ and 86% of ‘Camarosa’ transplants have flowered in early fall when they are produced using the new propagation technique. Both are short-day type cultivars that were started as plug plants in early July and maintained in propagation trays until field establishment around 1 September. In 2006, July-plugged ‘Carmine’ strawberry in high tunnels produced an average of 340 g of marketable fruit from late October to late December. The management strategy used to modify key physiological mechanisms that advance and promote fall flowering in short-day type cultivars will be discussed.