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FALL 2011
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Around the Quad

New Northeast Superfruit?

By Amanda Garris

Credit above: Rob Way; right: Jim Ochterski

The new raspberry, Crimson Giant, and juneberries, inset.

Cornell’s latest fruit variety is fashionably late. In fact, you may even spot some now.

Developed by associate professor of horticulture Courtney Weber, the Crimson Giant raspberry was developed specifically for the New York climate and can extend the harvest window for fresh, local raspberries to the beginning of November.

It boasts a true raspberry flavor and firm, bright red berries that don’t darken quickly in storage. The fruit is larger than the average 2-3 gram berry, averaging a whopping 4.5 grams. Its late harvest requires a protected production system such as high tunnels to shield it from fall frost.

But that has the added benefit of reducing pests, diseases, and weeds, leading to higher yields.

Crimson Giant is expected to be a boon for growers seeking to command premium prices at a time when apples outnumber raspberries at farmers’ markets.

At the other end of the season, growers have been introduced to another new “superfruit” that could serve as a useful “bridge crop” for you-pick farms, ripening after strawberries but before raspberries.Juneberries are little purple berries that pack a powerful nutritional punch: a half-cup serving of juneberries has about 100 percent of the U.S. RDA for riboflavin, 70 percent for manganese, 23 percent for iron, a significant amount of calcium and dietary fiber, and a healthy dose of antioxidants. Their mild, dark cherry/raisin-like flavor once made juneberries (also known as saskatoons) popular with Native Americans and they are still widely grown in Canada. Now, Cornell Cooperative Extension agricultural specialist Jim Ochterski is working with farmers, chefs, and consumers to help them take root in central New York’s fields and menus.