|Authors: ||W. Faedi, L. Ballini, G. Baroni, G. Baruzzi, M. Baudino, R. Giordano, P. Lucchi, M.L. Maltoni, M. Migani, L. Placchi|
|Keywords: ||Fragaria × ananassa, variety description, fruit quality|
Italy’s national strawberry breeding program began about 40 years ago and was later brought under the Ministry of Agriculture’s (MiPAF) “Frutticoltura” Project.
Since the latter ended in 2004, public-sector extension services working on strawberry have been coordinated by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Frutticoltura - Section of Forlì, now CRA-Fruit Research Unit of Forlì. The three programs running today in the North of Italy are largely funded by regional and provincial authorities: the Emilia-Romagna Region for the predominantly open-field conditions of Po Valley districts, especially in the Cesena area; the Piedmont Region for the highland areas with their late-ripening summer crop of re-blooming cultivars; and Verona Province for the traditional fall crop under tunnel.
All three have received financial support from local strawberry grower associations, which take part in pre-release field testing of selections.
The major aim of these efforts is to produce new and improved dessert cultivars that are well adapted to the environmental conditions and crop-management practices of the three areas.
Fruit quality improvement is another common objective, the focus being on upgrading taste, sweetness and tartness, flesh firmness, size, long and regular conical shape, and uniform, light-red skin colour that holds until eating.
In the last ten years all the programs have also pursued efforts to extend the production season using both June- and ever-bearing parents.
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