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Strawberry Fields (and Research) Forever

Some of the most popular strawberry varieties on the market are a result of the ARS strawberry breeding program at the Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory in Beltsville, Md which—at over 100 years—is the longest continually running strawberry breeding program in the world. Throughout its history, the ARS strawberry breeding program has solved problems plaguing both growers and consumers while focusing on producing nutritious, flavorful, disease-resistant varieties suitable for local year-round production.

Over the years, ARS scientists have developed several superior strawberry cultivars. Each cultivar has unique characteristics that improve qualities like shelf-life, rot resistance, taste, and size. Some recent cultivars include:

  • 'Flavorfest' - a long mid-season, short-day strawberry resistant or tolerant to most stem and leaf diseases. 'Flavorfest' strawberries have a high yield, excellent flavor, are large, bright red, and distinctively plump. (Released in 2012) . 

  • 'Keepsake' - a midseason, short-day strawberry. 'Keepsake' is the first to result from an increased effort to develop strawberries with improved shelf life. 'Keepsake' produces large fruit with outstanding flavor and are resistant to anthracnose fruit rot. (Released in 2018) .

  • 'Cordial' - a late-season, short-day strawberry.  'Cordial' is the second cultivar resulting from efforts to develop strawberries with increased shelf life and is expected to be adapted to the Mid-Atlantic and regions with similar climate. 'Cordial' strawberries, large and high yielding with good flavor, are resistant to anthracnose fruit rot and are tough enough for handling. (Released in 2020) .

Now, in 2024, we are excited to introduce our newest strawberry crush, "USDA Lumina." USDA Lumina is a high yield, early-season strawberry with outstanding flavor! In addition, this large fruit is resistant to anthracnose fruit rot and has an excellent shelf life. 


Introducing USDA Lumina!

Get Cooking With These Recipes

Watch our latest episode of Cooking with Science.

Chef Mark Mills, of Frederick Community College in Frederick Maryland, guides you through a delicious easy to make strawberry cobbler while ARS plant geneticist Kim Lewers chats about history of the strawberry, it’s nutritional benefits, and how she’s making bigger, tastier, and more disease resistant strawberries that last longer in storage. 

Download the recipes to follow along while watching the video. 

Featured Cooking with Science Video: Strawberries

Watch the video on your mobile device.

ARS Strawberry Research

Using the Sun to Fight Strawberry Disease

A team is harnessing shortwave ultraviolent light (UV-C) to kill powdery mildew fungus.

Freeze-Dried Berries Excellent Stabilizers

Freeze-dried berry powders can act as excellent stabilizers for ice cream and other dairy desserts.

Research May Slow Onset of Alzheimer’s

Strawberries are among the many flavonoid-rich foods that may help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Keepsake Strawberry is a Keeper

ARS researchers released new strawberry cultivar, ‘Keepsake.’ 

Mold-free Strawberries? Please!

Scientists are on the case, looking for ways to keep strawberries mold free without fungicides.