A new strawberry cultivar, Keepsake, was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). ‘Keepsake’ is a midseason, spring-bearing, or short-day strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch ex Rozier). The new strawberry is the first resulting from an increased effort by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Beltsville, Maryland, to develop strawberries with improved shelf life.
Plant geneticist Kim Lewers, horticulturalist John Enns, and visiting scientist Patricia Castro, at the ARS Beltsville Agricultural Research Center‘s Genetic Improvement of Fruits and Vegetables Laboratory, describe ‘Keepsake’ in the February 2019 issue of HortScience.
Compared with other current strawberry cultivars and breeding selections evaluated after 2 weeks in cold storage, ‘Keepsake’ had a low proportion of degraded and decayed fruits. The proportion of fruits degraded at one week was 29 percent, lower than for all the other cultivars, including Chandler (81 percent) and Camarosa (93 percent). These fruits have outstanding flavor with very high soluble solids (sweetness) and moderate acidity (tartness). They also have a pleasing texture and are juicy when eaten. ‘Keepsake’ is very closely related to ‘Flavorfest’, a strawberry plant also developed by this project in 2012, which is available for purchase and popular with commercial growers in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
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