Florida Pearl is the brand name for the early short-day white strawberry variety adapted to different annual growing systems for winter and early spring production. It can also be cultivated in tropical areas that have a much wider production window. After the success of the first commercial trials and retail tests, during the last 2021/2022 campaign in the United States, a company that is marketing this variety helped cultivate more than 100 hectares of Florida Pearl in the strawberry-producing regions of Florida and California. This season, this variety will reach the European and Middle Eastern markets.
"The Florida Pearl brand, FL 16 78 109 cv variety is a unique white strawberry developed by the University of Florida. Dr. Vance Whitaker selected it because of its extraordinary and attractive white color, sweet strawberry flavor, and pineapple aroma," Emco Cal stated.
"The Florida Pearl brand fruit is medium-sized, has a conical shape, and can also be heart-shaped. Its skin sometimes acquires a slight pinkish hue with red achenes when fully mature. The fruit offers a good firmness with a very pleasant texture. Florida Pearl has good post-harvest behavior and average shelf life of about six days."
"It also stands out as one of the earliest and highest-performing cultivars in the University of Florida's portfolio. Generally, producers can harvest the first fruits 50-60 days after transplantation. The yield ranges from 900 g to 1,200 g per plant."
"The expectation generated by the Florida Pearl strawberry brand in Huelva was really surprising"
"During the last strawberry campaign in Huelva, only five producers tested the Florida Pearl. Despite the small number of plants that were tested, it generated an incredible expectation in the markets, media, and social networks. It even surprised us. The huge impact that Florida Pearl had with so few plants yet in production clearly showed the global interest in premium varieties with differentiating characteristics."
"Florida Pearl will now be a select premium quality brand that will be marketed through its official brand by a limited number of partners, who will follow strict quality guidelines to ensure that only the highest quality fruit reaches the market."
This year, the premium fruit of the Florida Pearl brand will be marketed in the main markets of Europe and also in the Gulf region, while production in the southern hemisphere will begin in 2023. "We'll launch the Florida Pearl brand at the next Fruit Attraction and announce who our brand partners will be."
"During this campaign, about 30 million Felicity brand strawberry plants will be planted"
Florida Pearl complements the extensive portfolio of strawberry varieties managed by Emco Cal. Their portfolio includes the outstanding Felicity brand, a new, very early short-day variety of the University of Florida. Some 30 million plants of this variety will be planted in Huelva and other Mediterranean countries during the current campaign.
Huelva has been testing the Felicity FL 17 15 86 cv strawberry variety for the last three years. It stands out for its high early production, a high percentage of first-class fruit, and its excellent fruit quality from the beginning to the end of the campaign. Its fruit is medium-large in size and has an elongated conical shape. It is also extremely homogeneous throughout the season. It offers very good flavor and aroma with an average Brix of 8.1%. Its good fruit firmness also guarantees an extraordinary shelf life," stated Emco Cal.
"Producers in Huelva and other Mediterranean countries are going to start planting both varieties from the beginning of October. Several thousand potted plants have already been planted. In the case of potted plants, the production of both varieties is expected to begin at the end of November and, in the case of plants with bare roots, in mid-December."