TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
Strawberries are generally described as June bearing, everbearing, or day neutral. June bearing refers to the two- to three-week period the crop produces fruit in the spring. These crops typically produce berries that are larger than those from everbearing and day-neutral types and are more popular with commercial growers. June bearing types have three different varieties: early, mid-season, and late.
Everbearing types do not produce crops all season as the name implies, but rather once in spring and again toward the end of summer. Depending on the region, however, everbearing varieties can produce three crops: one each in spring, summer, and fall. Day neutral types produce fruit all season long. All three types are highly susceptible to frost damage. There are many varieties available for all types, which vary in sweetness, color and fruit size.
References: Colorado State University, University of Illinois Extension.
PESTS & DISEASE
Botrytis rot or grey mold will grow at 32°F, albeit very slowly. Grey mold is the most common cause of postharvest fruit loss and starts as white in color but quickly turns grey.
Rhizopus rot will not grow in temperatures below 41°F so proper temperature storage will prevent losses. Rhizopus stolonifer is the fungus that causes Rhizopus rot; spores are airborne and easily spread. Infected fruit becomes soft and leaks a sticky red juice. It is distinguished by its black color and dry, random placement.
Mucor rot looks very similar to Rhizopus rot since the infected fruit becomes soft and leaky, yet has a hair-like appearance and row pattern.
Strawberry bud weevils, also called “clippers,” can cause considerable damage. The females lay eggs once a year, inside buds, and clip them to prevent flowering and exposure of the eggs. Leafrollers generate twice per year and hide themselves in cocoon-like enclosures secured with silky, white, thread-like webbing. They feed while enfolded in the leaves and then as the plant matures, work their way to the fruit, leaving tiny holes.
Strawberry aphid waste is referred to as “honeydew” and is the cause of sooty molds. The aphids shed their skin, which sticks to the mold and contaminates the fruit.
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Penn State Extension, UC Davis Postharvest Technology website.