Did Some Say Strawberries For Dinner?
Multistate TunnelBerries project in Durham, NH, last November. Photo Credit: University of New Hampshire
Strawberries for Thanksgiving Dinner
Researchers with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire have succeeded in quadrupling the length of the Granite State’s strawberry growing season as part of a multi-year research project that aims to benefit both growers and consumers.
New Hampshire’s strawberry season traditionally lasts only four to six weeks. However, researchers working on the multi-state TunnelBerries project were picking day-neutral strawberries in Durham last November. Last year, experiment station researchers harvested strawberries grown in low tunnels for 19 consecutive weeks from mid-July through the week of Thanksgiving. They also found that the low tunnels significantly increased the percentage of marketable fruit, from an average of about 70 percent to 83 percent.
Now in its second year, the TunnelBerries research project is being conducted at the UNH Woodman Horticultural Research Farm in Durham, a facility of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. It is part of a larger, multi-state USDA-funded initiative to optimize protected growing environments for berry crops in the upper Midwest and Northeastern United States. UNH’s component is focused on improving berry quality and the role day-neutral varieties may play in extending the length of strawberry season in the Northeast.
This work is supported by NH Ag Experiment Station, through joint NIFA funding under award 1006928. It is also funded through the NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative under Award Number 2014-51181-22380.