Jul 2, 2012Cornell breeder releases two new raspberries
Cornell University recently released two new raspberry varieties, Crimson Night and Double Gold.
Crimson Night was selected in 2003 for its “heavy crop load, firm fruit, good flavor and shiny fruit,” said Courtney Weber, small fruits breeder and associate professor of horticulture at Cornell.
“The shiny, good-flavored fruit was the reason it was put into tissue culture to produce virus-free plants for commercial trials and high tunnel production,” he said. “It was in the high tunnels that the uncommonly good flavor and extra dark fruit became really apparent.”
One commercial tester asked Weber if he could market it as a purple raspberry.
“I told them no, since that implies black raspberry in the background and it does not have any.”
Crimson Night is on the shorter side for primocane varieties, and could be grown in a pot pretty easily on a patio, Weber said. The canes are dark magenta in color with dark green leaves, so it is very attractive. It also has not gotten cane or leaf diseases in Cornell trials, so the plant remains very clean looking.
Double Gold was first selected in 2004 based on its summer fruit, which was an attractive, peachy color. It also carried a heavy summer crop load, Weber said.
“While the fruit is only medium in size, the conic shape and color make it very attractive and it is very flavorful,” he said.
Weber also realized Double Gold set a significant fall crop. The plant is vigorous, with tall canes that can reach 7 feet or more in a tunnel. Outside, it produces a lot of canes and spreads to fill the area it is given. The plants are resistant to root rot and leaf spot, so plantings persist for years. The fall crop is fairly late and benefits from season extension.
In commercial trials with Double Gold, growers always comment on the high flavor, but it is too soft for shipping long distances. The release is targeted to u-pick growers and farm markets because the fruit is too delicate to pack.
Double Gold and Crimson Night are the fourth and fifth varieties introduced by Weber’s breeding program in the past year. Recent releases include Purple Wonder, a dark strawberry variety; the Herriot strawberry, a high-yielding midseason variety; and the Crimson Giant raspberry, a high tunnel berry with a late harvest. Weber hopes to maintain a steady pace with selections this summer.
“For 2012, there will be approximately 20,000 raspberry seedlings under evaluation, and we will plant about 7,500 more,” he said. “We’ll also be adding 2,500 more strawberries to the 2,000 already under evaluation.”
For more information, visit the Cornell University fruit website.