In 2014, three new Rutgers strawberry cultivars were submitted for patent protection. These cultivars were developed via traditional breeding techniques by Rutgers professor emeritus Dr. Gojko Jelenkovic. For over 35 years, Dr. Jelenkovic worked on improving strawberry yield, resistance to diseases, and, most importantly, fruit quality and flavor. This work was followed by extensive testing of strawberry selections by Agricultural Agents Bill Hlubik and Peter Nitzsche in field trials at NJAES, observational trials at conventional and organic farms, and flavor evaluations by consumer taste panels.
As a result, the cultivar Rutgers Scarlet™ (patents pending) was released. This new cultivar has the potential to increase strawberry production by eastern U.S. growers, especially of local farms with direct markets, while their customers will benefit from the availability of high quality fruit.