The new Florida Medallion strawberry requires a different management strategy than the other varieties currently on the market. But the rewards are potentially great for Florida growers who choose to produce the latest variety release from the University of Florida/IFAS.
Vance Whitaker, strawberry breeder at the University of Florida Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, has a couple of recommendations based on the compact nature of the plant.
“I suggest targeting planting dates earlier in the planting period from Oct. 1 to 10. Because of the compact plant, you can plant this variety fairly early without overgrowing the plant,” Whitaker said. “This variety (also) needs more nitrogen fertilization and maybe more fertilization for all nutrients than Brilliance and Sensation.”
Whitaker also suggests that growers target Medallion to fields that have heavier or wetter soils. Because the plant needs to be pushed a little bit more, that maybe a little bit more difficult to achieve on dry, non-organic soils.
Due to Medallion’s susceptibility to Charcoal Rot disease, growers need to avoid planting in fields with Macophomina infestations.
Stock availability of Medallion is limited. Whitaker estimates between 150 and 200 fruiting acres in 2021-22. But that should increase up to 2,000 acres in 2022-23.
“Florida Medallion is a variety with really great fruit quality and flavor. It is a compact plant that has fewer runners in the fruiting field but is also going to need to be managed a little bit differently than the other varieties,” Whitaker said.