Several new raspberry varieties were set out in commercial fields in 2007 and 2008. Here we report on observations made by the growers and our summer students in 2009-2011. We will continue to make notes on these varieties in 2012.
Two summer red raspberry varieties were planted in 2008 in three locations in southwestern Ontario .
This variety was developed in New Zealand and is of interest because it is resistant to raspberry bushy dwarf virus. The raspberry variety Moutere does not have acceptable flavour for most Ontario markets. It is very productive and has a nice large, oblong berry. It had good winter hardiness in Essex County in 2009 and 2010. The berries are red to dark red, with a weak neck.
Glen Ample was early, large and firm, However the flavour was mild and further testing of this variety is needed. It was not overly productive but large berry size made it appealing. The fruit is round, red, without much shine, neck strength is good and skin strength is good. The drupelets are very large, making the fruit seem solid, and "meaty". It suffers from more cane dieback than Moutere. Although this variety is of interest it will not be commercially available in Ontario until 2014.
Glen Ample variety
Several new primocane fruiting raspberry varieties have been released with potential for Ontario. Five of these varieties were planted at two sites in 2007: one in eastern Ontario and one in Niagara region. However, few show improved earliness, fruit brightness, quality or colour over the current standard Autumn Britten. The most promising varieties of those tested are Polka and Joan J, especially for high tunnel production.
Autumn Britten is sometimes less vigourous than the other selections in this trial, however it produces the earliest primocane crop. Fruit size and quality of Autumn Britten are good, but the fruit is dark after harvest.
Although early, fruit of Jaclyn was difficult to harvest. It is a long, conical bright red berry. The fruit is irregular in shape. Jaclyn was the next earliest to Autumn Britten in this trial. Leaf rust was prevalent on Jaclyn.
Fruit is well formed and firm with tight drupelets. Polka is interesting for its excellent fruit quality and good yields. Fruit colour is bright red tending to dark red, and size is large at first, but mostly average. Polka is very susceptible to fire blight, a serious bacterial disease.
Fruit colour is dark red, however other aspects of fruit quality are very good. The fruit has excellent neck strength and skin strength, and is large in size. The canes are nearly spineless. It is a productive variety with fruit quality and earliness that make it promising. Drawbacks include the darker colour and susceptibility to fire blight.
Caroline is known for its excellent flavour and yields, however it is generally too late for field production in most of Ontario. Caroline is a very vigorous variety, with high yields but it is later than Autumn Britten being ready for harvest only a week earlier than Heritage. Caroline and Himbo Top were the latest selections in this trial. Foliage is bright green. Leaf rust was prevalent on Caroline.
Himbo Top is too late for field production in most of Ontario but should be evaluated further for high tunnel production. It is a very vigourous variety. Caroline and Himbo Top were the latest selections in this trial.
Thanks to the Ontario Berry Growers Association who supported this and other variety test plots with funding from the Farm Innovation Program.