It has taken fifteen years for the Archer strawberry variety to come to fruition. There is quite a bit of effort and a ton of patience involved in bringing a new strawberry variety to market. And, the new Archer strawberry variety is no exception. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York (Cornell University), has finally released the variety that was selected in 2001. Courtney Weber, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science, is the man responsible for this new and exceptional variety. If early indicators are correct, this berry could significantly boost both farming revenues and culinary enjoyment.
What Makes the Archer Strawberry Variety Special?
Strawberry plants can be fickle. They often succumb to fungal pathogens, and pests seem to enjoy munching on them just as much as humans do. So, whenever the process of strawberry selection begins for a new variety, one of the main goals is to ensure that the plants can survive in the locations for which it is developed. Archer does just that. It is hardy and resistant to most of the common strawberry pathogens that can inflict losses on gardeners and commercial growers alike.
Hardiness isn't the most notable characteristic of the Archer strawberry variety, however. Size matters. Archer is a gigantic strawberry variety. The berries are very large, topping out at a staggering 50 grams (a little bit less than 2 ounces). That is quite large for a strawberry. Big berries have been bred before, though. The new Archer strawberry variety succeeds in another category where other large-fruited varieties have notably failed: taste.
Strawberries have to survive, grow large enough to be commercially viable, and taste great. The historical problem with very large strawberries is that they tend to be bland and watery. Or, they have a fibrous or hollow space in the center of the berry. The Archer strawberry variety has conquered those conundrums nicely. Unlike its older siblings, this large strawberry variety has a powerfully sweet flavor with an intensely aromatic quality that enhances the experience of consuming it.
The Market for the Archer Strawberry Variety
Due to its exquisite taste profile and aroma, Archer strawberries are excellent for just about any fresh use. They are likely to quickly carve out a sizeable niche at roadside markets and farmer's markets and pick-your-own or U-pick operations. They are June-bearing, which means they ripen over 2-3 weeks in June. The strawberries also keep their large size throughout the harvest and freeze well. The Archer strawberry variety was developed in New York and is also very cold-tolerant. It is expected to quickly carve out market share in the Northeast down to Maryland and west across the northern mid-west states.
Where to Get Archer Strawberries
Archer strawberry plants are licensed through the Center for Technology Licensing at Cornell University. So, if you wish to grow and re-sell the plant or propagate them in any way, you should contact them first. Plants are available now for fall planting for the 2017 growing season. You can purchase them from Krohne Plant Farms (Hartford, Michigan). Supplies are limited, so the maximum order of plants is 250 at the time of publication (September 2016). At one point, 25 plants could be purchased for $16.00. However, pricing must now be obtained by calling the number listed directly.