Angus Soft Fruits says new winter-breeding fruit have been received with acclaim

Angus Soft Fruits has released three new strawberry varieties that have been bred to produce fruit throughout the winter season.

The three varieties – AVA Alicia, AVA Catalina and AVA Sofia – were bred and selected by the Angus Soft Fruits Breeding Programme team, led by research director Dave Griffiths. The varieties are intended for production in the Mediterranean region and have been trialled and tested over the past three years. 

Griffitths explained that the science behind the breeding of the new varieties started several years ago, when ASF reviewed its Mediterranean production of strawberries. Varieties at that time were deemed to lack some of the characteristics enjoyed during the summer season of production, he said, and so efforts were made to combine genetics that would express the appearance and flavour of the traditional ‘summer season’ berries.

Also required in the makeup of the new varieties was the ability for them to produce fruit in the short days of winter, albeit during the warm climate enjoyed during the Mediterranean winter. ASF reports that the strawberries have ”more than satisfied the requirements” of its farmers, retailers and consumers, allowing for the scaling up of production in the months and years ahead.

“Tests over the past three seasons at the ASF trial sites in Spain have confirmed that we have exciting new varieties for the future,” Griffiths said. “The significant point of difference for growers in the region with the varieties is the high level of resistance to disease, along with an ideal season and yield portfolio.

”Retailers throughout Europe and the UK have been very quick to embrace the tremendous appearance and overall characteristics of the fruit. That is along with their reliability of consistent production and extended natural shelf life. Consumer benchmarking has also demonstrated excellent responses to the flavour, texture and overall qualities of these new very special varieties.”

ASF sales director David Buxcey added: ”The varieties have all been successfully sampled by our customers with excellent results, allowing us to continue to supply consumers with great-tasting strawberries during the UK winter season.”