A new variety of Strawberry: Sonsation
ENS, the Netherlands – Their first variety that bears its fruit midseason, Flevo Berry’s new cultivar Sonsation has evidently been an enormous hit from the very start. A mighty burst of flavor with a lovely shiny appearance, and yet barely susceptible to the dreaded root disease Phytophthora. “Sonsation fits into our philosophy. In developing new varieties we always look ahead. It can be done differently and it really must be done differently, so for us, flavor and sustainability are at the top of the list. It is a part of the way we think”.
On the market eight years after the start of the crossing. The folks at Flevo Berry in the Dutch town of Ens knew it: the demand for their new variety of strawberry – Sonsation – rapidly exceeded the number of available plants. Still that success was a bit overwhelming for Marcel Suiker, owner and plant breeder at Flevo Berry. “Our focus has mostly been on developing early-bearing, everbearing and late-bearing varieties. We had not done much work on varieties that bear their fruit midseason – because everybody else has been working on that kind.”
Nevertheless, due to the genetics involved Suiker continued to follow the progress in the work being done on strawberries that bear fruit midseason. After all, it is from those varieties that the greater part of the European cultivars have been derived, varieties like the Elsanta and Sonata. “For me, that was the challenge. I wanted to see an improvement in the way our new varieties set fruit and develop; I wanted to see a higher percentage of class 1 fruit production, better flavor and a nicer gloss on the fruit in the mid-season varieties”
Zon and Sensation
And it worked out that way. Fairly early in the process Jos Goossens, co-owner of Flevo Berry, noted the lovely conical shape and deep red shine, even after a period of storage. But it is especially the intense flavor that overwhelms. Which is where the name comes in, a combination of the English word sensation and a bastardization of the Dutch word “zon” (meaning “sun”). Because, according to Goossens, that is what you experience when you taste the Sonsation. “The sensation of the first rays of the summer sun.”
Most of all, the Sonsation is a robust, vigorous variety – any vulnerability to the root disease Phytophthora Cactorum is negligible. As a result you can grow the Sonsation in a sustainable manner. Marcel Suiker: “The turning point was when we saw no loss of Sonsation plants, during the season”. Good news for growers, because then there is an opportunity to use less pesticide, herbicide and fungicide. That is better for the earth and for people, which makes Sonsation a cultivar for the future”.Hardy and juicy
Sonsation plants grow easily. They remain compact, with attractive upright foliage that make it easy to pick the berries. Steven Oosterloo, commercial director of Flevo Berry: “You can use Sonsation in a variety of growing systems. From normal conditions and cooled environments to cultivation on racks and on substrate in greenhouses. The variety is easy to grow and juicy, making it appropriate for both direct sale and retail.”
Oosterloo says the new cultivar fits perfectly within the philosophy of Flevo Berry. “We do not believe in short term success. We always look ahead when developing new varieties. It can be done differently, it has to be done better. So flavor and sustainability are at the top of the list. That is the way we look at it.”
Strawberries year round
Flevo Berry is established the Netherlands in the town of Ens. The company chooses to operate in a way that enables them to produce strawberries throughout the entire year, with varieties suitable for both direct sale and for retail. Some of the well-known Flevo Berry varieties include the everbearing varieties Furore and Favori, recently crowned as the best-tasting strawberry during the Dutch Strawberry Demo Day in 2017.
Would you like more information about Flevo Berry? Or perhaps you are looking for photographs, or you would like an interview with Marcel Suiker or Steven Oosterloo? If so, contact: [Steven Oosterloo], [firstname.lastname@example.org], [+31615450999] Check their site: www.flevoberry.nl