The United States's oldest berry breeding program has announced the release of two new varieties: a strawberry and a raspberry named "Dickens" and "Crimson Treasure", respectively.  Available for planting in spring 2019, these berries are claimed by their breeder at Cornell University to grow large with vibrant colours that maintain "peak flavor far longer than most heritage varieties".


Courtney Weber, Associate Professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences based at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, New York and the breeder of the new berries, picked names based on his favourite authors.

"Dickens" is a traditional, June-bearing strawberry with high yields and bright red fruit that continues bearing late into the season. The berries are firm, so they hold well on the plant and in the container, but not so firm that they have no flavor, according to Weber.  It has also been shown to be an adaptable and consistent producer in production trials.  

"Dickens" takes its name from Weber's favourite author, and because this newest berry “yields like the dickens,” Weber says.

The new raspberry, the fall-bearing "Crimson Treasure" is also very high-yielding with larger fruit than traditional regional varieties - about twice as large as typical "Heritage" raspberries.  It produces bright-red fruit that holds its color and texture well in storage.