MIDDLESEX COUNTY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Garden State may soon become famous for its strawberries.
New Jersey scientists think they’ve produced a berry so tasty it’s patented.
As CBS2’s Elise Finch reported Tuesday, agricultural scientists at Rutgers University have been perfecting them for 10 years. The result? The patented Rutgers Scarlet strawberry.
“It has certain volatile compounds — in other words compounds that you can smell, compounds that give it that deep, rich strawberry flavor,” said Rutgers Agricultural & Resource Management Agent Bill Hlubik.
Scientists began work on the perfect strawberry as a way to help local farmers diversify their crops and compete with strawberries flown in from places like California and Florida, Finch reported.
They used old-fashioned cross-pollination to make it happen.
“Basically we’re taking the best characteristics from two different genetic lines and we keep doing that for many years until we find the exact berry that we want,” said Hlubik.
The scientists said because the area has seen so little rain this spring, it’s allowed them to control the irrigation of their crops, producing one of the most flavorful strawberries they’ve ever tasted.
“It’s not too sugary and not too sour,” said one student.
“I can’t go back to the supermarket strawberries,” said another.
“I was warned before I started that I won’t be able to eat those somewhat white strawberries on the inside, and that’s definitely the case,” said another student.
Scientists say this local, organic product thrives in this climate and costs the same as other strawberries, but is more nutritious and tastes better.
“Strawberries accumulate sugar and flavor as they ripen. And so some of those other regions, they might need strawberries that can ship, they might have to harvest them a little bit early before they’re at their peak,” said Peter Nitzsche, with Rutgers Agricultural & Resource Management.
The Rutgers Scarlet has already won a series of taste tests. The team of mostly current and former Rutgers students tending to the crop say it’s so sweet, they’ll never be able to eat store-bought strawberries again, and neither will you.
If you want to taste the Rutgers Scarlet, you’ll have to pick some yourself because they’re not yet available at stores or farmers markets. They will be available across the Tri-State are this time next year, Finch reported.
The following New Jersey farms have Rutgers Scarlet strawberries:
Alstede Farms, Chester Borough
Donaldson Farms, Hackettstown
Hlubik Farms, Chesterfield
Specca Farms, Springfield
Grasso Girls Farm Market, Mullica Hill
Fernbrook Farms, Chesterfield (organic)
Cecil Creek Farm, Mickleton (organic)
Giamarese Farm, East Brunswick
Terhune Orchards, Princeton
Hauser Hill Farm, Old Bridge
Von Thun Farm, Monmouth Junction