Strawberries are big business. Really big business. In fact, the strawberry industry is a multi-billion dollar worldwide business. And, the market keeps getting bigger and better – just like the strawberries themselves. Since there is so much money to be made selling one of the world's most delightful and relatively easy to grow fruits, new varieties are constantly being developed, refined, and even engineered by manipulating the genetics of the strawberry plant itself. While I am not keen on the artificial manipulation of the core genetic structure of any food, much less something already as delightful as strawberries, it is hard to argue that something new seems to always be making headlines regarding strawberries. Now, the latest in the strawberry color scheme is available for your home garden: purple strawberries!
Up until this year, there were only three naturally occurring strawberry colors available commercially. The traditional and famous red strawberries need no introduction or explanation. The white strawberries have been around for quite some time and have recently burst onto the scene again with the emergence of the popular Pineberry variety. Yellow strawberries have also served a smaller niche market. But, those were the only options. No longer! Add to the color options the latest introduction from the W. Atlee Burpee company, Purple Wonder strawberry plants.
Purple Wonder Strawberries: Details, GMO?
Many people these days are concerned about genetically-modified foods (often dubbed Frankenfoods due to their unnatural altered genome). Fortunately, Purple Wonder strawberries are NOT a genetically-modified organism (GMO). This variety has been bred by natural means by the small fruits breeding program at Cornell University. The process for bringing new cultivars to market can be extensive and time-consuming, and this burgundy variety was in development since 1999. Finally, the official Purple Wonder strawberry cultivar was released on March 5th, 2012, 13 years after its development began.
The result of this extensive trial and development process, however, is a final product unlike anything else available. These medium-sized purple strawberries are very sweet and aromatic and carry an exquisite strawberry flavor. They ripen from creamy white to deep burgandy, and the color develops all they way through to the center of the berries. This makes them a fine candidate for any culinary use that gains from deeper color. It is well-suited for both strawberry wine and strawberry preserves. The trials were predominantly performed in Michigan, Illinois, and New York and met with much success, proving their hardiness. They should do well across the temperate regions of the United States, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast.
Also of note is the fact that purple wonder strawberries produce very few strawberry runners. This makes them an ideal choice for container gardens, small spaces, and square-foot gardening systems. They are a poor choice for large matted row systems and pick-your-own farms.
If you want to grow your own purple strawberry plants, click the “Purple Wonder” link above to buy them directly from Burpee. If you want to price shop any other variety available for ordering online (including the other strawberry colors), see the directory here: Buy Strawberry Plants. Most of the varieties there are the regular and delicious red-producing ones, but the white and yellow producers are also available.
Purple Strawberry Plants: Conclusion
While some say that the strawberries are more a deep burgundy color instead of purple, they are noticeably darker and different from even the deep red strawberry varieties. So, if you are adventurous, why not order a few plants for your garden and spice up your life with something new! Of course, if you don't know how to put a purple strawberry to good culinary use, visit our catalog of fantastic strawberry recipes. And, fret not. The Purple Wonder is not a Franken-fruit GMO. It was selected and developed for 13 years through the typical process without use of recombinant gene-altering technologies.
So, once you have grown and harvested some yourself, be sure to visit again and leave a comment about your experiences!