Strawberries have been part of the breeding program at WSU Puyallup since 1941. Washington historically is an important strawberry producer, known for its highly flavored, deep red fruit, most of which are processed and used in high-value products such as frozen berry mixes, ice cream, yogurt, and jams. About 12% are sold for fresh use.
The WSU breeding program focuses mainly on June-bearing perennial cultivars, which produce a concentrated yield of fruit usually harvested in June. Since 2010, the program has also been developing day-neutral or perpetual-flowering strawberries, which are productive from May to October in Washington, and are well-suited to fresh market production. We breed for high yields, disease resistance, environmental hardiness, and excellent fruit characteristics: intense color, good flavor, large size, and firmness.
Puget Crimson (released 2010) is a late season, high-yielding, large-fruited June-bearing strawberry with excellent flavor and color. It is moderately firm. It is suited to both processing and fresh use, but its late season generally favors fresh use. It is a very robust plant, resistant to soil diseases but susceptible to powdery mildew.
Puget Reliance (released 1994) is a mid-season, high yielding strawberry with good flavor and color, and excellent disease resistance. It has fairly soft fruit that is best suited for processing, though several growers produce Puget Reliance successfully for fresh use.