CIV has always been involved in developing new varieties of June-bearing strawberries with high chilling requirements suitable for both Northern Italian and transalpine climates (e.g. France, Germany, England, Holland, etc.).
The Ferrara’s Consortium presents Lycia® CIVNB557*, a new variety boasting innovative characteristics. Giancarlo Caloi and his independent technician Giorgio Perbellini manage Zeba Elena farm in the Verona area, where they have been growing Lycia® CIVNB557* for several years.
Perbellini points out: “As well as a wide harvesting time window, an important aspect is the fruit’s quality which maintains well while still on the plant. This means that, even if they are not harvested immediately when the skin colouring is complete, rather than spoiling quickly they accumulate sugars and maintain good pulp consistency, skin strength and a bright red colour. This also implies a good shelf life, facilitating the packaging processing of the fruit in the warehouse (as damage caused by handling is reduced) and its sale".
Perbellini concludes by highlighting a significant agricultural factor which he has also observed in other farms that cultivate using tunnel systems: “Good sized plants – such as those in the A or A+ category with a well-formed crown – have a generous amount of flowering stems, making them doubly productive between autumn and spring. On average, each plant can achieve a production of between 100-150g in October. Then, as the temperatures drop, the plants effortlessly prepare to produce fruit again at the end of the winter period, with their production cycle coming to a halt in spring with a generous yield. What’s more, the plant in itself is very fruitful (each averaging a total production of about 750-900 g). The A category plants, on the other hand, are more suitable for spring-only production”.
Technical consultant Germano Gabanini describes a similar experience with Lycia® CIVNB557* in Cesena, with regard to the 2021 Season sales campaign. “As for the plant’s attributes, LYCIA® CIVNB557* is generally characterised by a compact growth habit whose semi-erect morphology facilitates fruitfulness both in open fields and in tunnel systems. Moreover, like many CIV varieties, it is known for its excellent rusticity as well as tolerance against powdery mildew and fungal diseases, allowing it to be grown even in fatigued soils that have been subject to a strawberry monoculture for many years”.
Gabanini seconds the claim of his Verona-based colleagues regarding the fruit’s wide harvesting time window, ability to maintain well while still on the plant (meaning it can be picked periodically every 3, 4, 5 or even 6 days) and productivity levels (which exceeded 1 kg per plant in Romagna as of 21st May).
Gabanini proceeds to dwell on the fruit’s qualitative characteristics: “Lycia® CIVNB557* has an excellent flavour with an average sugar content ranging from 8 to 9 degrees Brix. The fruit is bright red and never turns dark, not even in late harvests. Its elongated shape and the crunchy consistency of its pulp are in some ways reminiscent of the strawberries grown in southern Italy. It is this very characteristic that distinguishes it so starkly from other varieties, placing Lycia® CIVNB557* in its own league of exceptional quality June-bearing strawberries with high chilling requirements, which are normally known to be less crunchy and more heart-shaped”.
From a commercial perspective, Gabanini, Perbellini and Caloi agree that “retailers are very satisfied and recognise the fruit for its quality, thus positioning Lycia® CIVNB557* among the premium fruit varieties of northern Italy and the transalpine area”.