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Florida Strawberry Festival will feature new white, red varieties of the fruit

Strawberry breeder Vance Whitaker says the white strawberry has a sweeter taste and smells a little like pineapple.
Credit: UF/IFAS Photo by Cristina Carrizosa
11-13-19 Compendium of Strawberry Diseases Front and Back Cover Photography for Natalia Peres at Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC)

PLANT CITY, Fla. — It's time for the Florida Strawberry Festival again and this year there will be a few new flavor options brought to you by researchers from the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

The scientists put a lot of time and effort into finding genetic traits that make the fruit flavorful and came up with two brand new varieties: the white strawberry and a new red one.

Vance Whitaker, a UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences and a strawberry breeder, said the white strawberry's flavor is much different than the typical fruit. He said it tastes sweeter and smells sort of like pineapples. 

"White strawberries have been popular for some time in Japan, but this is expected to be the first white strawberry on the market in the United States," Whitaker said. 

The new red variety also has great flavor, according to Whitaker. It has a high sugar level and a higher acid content, giving it an intense taste. 

Not only will the strawberries bring a new flavor to the fruit, but the genetic modifications can also help farmers and the environment. The fruit has been modified to need fewer chemicals on it to keep critters away. 

This year's Florida Strawberry Festival runs from Thursday, March 4, through Sunday, March 14, in Plant City -- just set the GPS to 2209 W. Oak Ave.

RELATED: Your guide to the 2021 Florida Strawberry Festival

RELATED: Florida Strawberry Festival cancels big concerts in 2021

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