The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Our favorite strawberry varieties

Strawberry varietiesDisease-resistance, date of bearing, and size of berries are all relevant factors for the organic strawberry grower to consider. But if I'm being honest, I'll tell you that I make variety selections based 95% on taste.

With that in mind, we've ripped out multiple varieties that just didn't make the cut. Fresca, Jewel, and Allstar simply weren't tasty enough for my palate.

At the other extreme, delectable keepers have included:

  • Honeyoye --- a big berry with a more subtle (and slightly sourer) flavor than most. On the downside, this variety is prone to diseases, and those diseases accentuate the sour. But an undiseased, sunkissed Honeyoe is a delight!
  • Ozark Beauty --- a small but ultra-sweet berry that melts in your mouth. I snack on these the most when I'm out and about in the garden because they're just so dependably good. On the downside, I'm not 100% sure the plants actually are that variety since I bought them at Wal-mart and the big box stores are notorious for mislabeling edibles, so you might not get the same results I have....
  • Sparkle --- this late-fruiting variety is like Ozark Beauty on steroids. Some fruits are small, but many are big, all are sweet, and they are actually too soft for some applications. These plants benefit from daily rather than my usual bidaily picking and I'll admit that a few end up rotting on the vine.
  • Galletta --- this ultra-early variety lost most of its blooms this year to freezes. Perhaps that's why the berries that did set are humongous rather than small as I'd understood they'd be? They're also quite firm --- nearly the consistency of storebought --- but are almost as sweet as Ozark Beauty and feature a hint of Honeyoye's tartness. I find myself snacking on these almost as much as on Ozark Beauty.

How about you? Which strawberry varieties have turned you into a fruit connoisseur?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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We don't have many varieties you can find in the US, but over here a Beni-hoppe or Tochi-otome are the queens of the crop.
Comment by Burke Eric Mon May 30 18:52:36 2016

I agree that Sparkle is excellent in flavor, but a little tougher to deal with growing and harvesting. As you point out, it is pretty soft when ripe, and hard to pick without damaging it. The softness of the fruit I think makes it more prone to mold and rot. It also tends to want to grow too dense even with aggressive thinning the previous year, which exacerbates the mold issue.

Maybe give Earliglow a try; flavor is very good and they are easier to keep manageable and not as soft. I think Sparkle tastes a little better, but my wife thinks Earliglow is just as good.

Comment by Holly Gates Mon Jun 6 12:29:12 2016

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