The Council of Agriculture said it has recently introduced a new variety of strawberries that is bigger and harder than previously developed varieties, adding that the fruit is expected to be suitable for growing on sightseeing strawberry farms in northern Taiwan.
The Taoyuan No. 4 — a new variety of strawberry developed by the council’s Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station last year — was cultivated through fertilization of a previous variety, Taoyuan No. 3, and a series of strain selections starting in 2002.
“The plant’s special features are that it yields bigger and harder strawberries that ripen early,” station director Liao Chien-hau (廖乾華) said, adding that the plant strain grows taller than other strains, making it easier to harvest and less likely to be damaged by insects.
The new strawberry variety takes fewer days to ripen, taking an average of 61 days from planting to harvesting, while the Taoyuan No. 3 takes about 71 days.
The new species grows to be about 4.1cm long and 3.8cm wide, the station said.
Liao said because the fruit is slightly harder, the fruits are less likely get harmed while being transported or piled together. In addition, the crop output of the fruit is larger, and the research station expected it to be readily accepted by consumers and farmers.
Liao said that growing the new variety is not any more difficult than previous varieties, so the station is already planning to promote technology transfer for growing Taoyuan No. 4 to local farmers’ associations in the near future.
At present, the total size of strawberry farms in Taiwan is about 550 hectares, producing an average output of 5,473 tonnes each year, mainly in Miaoli County, Hsinchu County and Taipei City, the station said.