Californian Strawberry Rockstars

17 March 2022

It used to be said that if California were a country, it would be the largest strawberry producing country in the world. While that statement may not stand today, it certainly has the overall reputation of being a global strawberry Rockstar. California has almost perfect growing conditions for strawberries in three principal areas along the coast, Oxnard (2400 hectares), Santa Maria (4600 hectares) and, of course, Watsonville (5150 hectares) totalling 12,150 hectares. Now, like all industries there are many moving parts that are required to make it a success. Californian strawberries are no exception. There are first class plant nurseries, exceptional growers, highly professional marketing companies and sophisticated supply chains, all playing a role in the success story.

California Strawberry Industry

There are two other strong components though, the California Strawberry Commission and the strawberry breeding programmes.

Let's talk about the Californian Strawberry Commission. This wonderful organisation offers support to growers, press, researchers, and a whole lot more. The California Strawberry Commission also supports the breeding efforts of the University of California, Davis and has done so for fifty years. This long-lasting relationship as I witness has achieved many great things in a number of directions. One principal function is the sharing of industry information and trends. This up-to-date information collated by the Commission and shared with the industry and of course, the University of California, has allowed the breeders the opportunity to focus on today’s industry requirements through an ever-changing landscape. It is this collective relationship that looks to me, somewhat as an outsider, that has underpinned and supported the Californian strawberry industry for multi generations.


Now, I expect everyone reading this will know that Global Plant Genetics is the International Master Licence holder for the new UC Davis strawberry genetics. We could not be prouder and more excited by this. Who wouldn't be? It is an amazing opportunity to work alongside some of the world's best scientists and industry stakeholders.

Five Varieties

In recent times, UC Davis has launched five new varieties, UCD Victor, UCD Warrior both short day types and UCD Royal Royce, UCD Valiant and UCD Moxie, day neutrals. In our opinion, these five new varieties are about to set a new standard in the short day and day neutral market. Growers have been looking for improved yield, labour savings and disease resistance, as well as improved fruit quality. These five deliver on all fronts. Each one of these dynamics adds to an improved profitability for growers, all funded from a state breeding programme available to all. This has, of course, been happening for fifty years and there is therefore no wonder that Californian growers and packers have been able to maintain their positions as strawberry leaders.


Outside of the USA, many other strawberry growing industries are able to reap the benefits too. We have licence holders for these new varieties in place in the EU, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Australia and Latin America, all launching these new varieties over the coming months.


So, if you are a grower, make sure you take a good look at the new varieties and gain a competitive advantage that they will surely bring you. Like the California Strawberry Commission, UC Davis strawberry breeding programme, world class nurseries and packers, we need you, the growers, to be here for the next 50 years too.


For more information on the varieties or to contact one of the licensed nurseries, visit - but most importantly make sure you have these new Rockstars on your radar, your competitors will.

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