[NAFEX] Fairfax strawberry

loneroc loneroc at mwt.net
Fri Nov 30 07:00:48 EST 2007


Lon or others:

Any thoughts on how I can maintain the plants without new virus infections for as long as possible?  The USDA describes 'Fairfax' as particularly sensitive to viral infection.  Pots in a screenhouse would not be my 1st choice.  I've got a garage full of dormant, potted material already.  And I don't have a sceenhouse handy.

On the other hand--maybe I shouldn't worry about it:  I don't suppose that the plants will become infected at such a fast rate that I couldn't get many good years of fruit out of them.  I imagine that the original pox-ridden accession Corvallis began with would have passed through the hands of dozens or even hundreds of farmers before ever making it to Oregon, braving exposure to all manner of different viruses I don't have here on their journey.  If I  am only infected occasionally by a local virus it may not make a huge difference in productivity or quality--just a very gradual decline over the decades---with the various infectious species causing little harm individually, but having a cumulative negative effect.  I can't imagine that I have all or even many of the possible contaminants living here already.  

Alternatively, maybe there are a couple of widespread viruses that routinely infect strawberries everywhere and rapidly put an end to their useful life--  Dunno.

Lon, could the Peruvian plants not have been exposed to the most damaging viruses?  I imagine that there is a degree of isolation that may have prevented exposure--or perhaps the 12000 foot altitude of the Peruvian highlands would not have as many leaf-hopper and aphid vectors, preventing exposure to many things.

Steve Herje
Lone Rock, WI USDA zone 3-4   
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Lon J. Rombough 
  To: North American Fruit Explorers 
  Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 2:16 PM
  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Fairfax strawberry


  Strawberries are one fruit that doesn't seem to last long enough to become an heirloom. Of all the interest groups in NAFEX, the strawberry group has never taken hold because no one maintains any old varieties. Strawberries take more work to maintain than other fruits. Leave an apple tree for 20 years and there's a good chance it will still be there. Leave a strawberry for two years and it will usually have been crowded out by weeds or will die from disease. Even when old varieties have been kept going, they are almost always mislabeled. So it's up to places like the NCGR at Corvallis, Oregon to maintain them. There, the plants are held in pots in a screenhouse. Flowers and immature fruit are kept removed so no accidental seedlings will arise in a pot. And the plants are either available as runners or by tissue culture.
  Still, strawberries CAN last a long time. Go to South America and you can find strawberries in places like Peru that have been maintained for many decades, if not centuries by the local people. The interesting thing about this is that those old selections are often full of virus, but show no effects. Over the centuries, types have been selected that have amazing tolerance to the diseases, as that was the only way they could last.
  Point of all this rambling? Not much, except to hope that a few explorers here might look for old, forgotten varieties and outstanding wild plants that could be of use to produce types for N. America that have similar ability to last a long time and perhaps to bring in that wonderful wild flavor.
  -Lon Rombough
  Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at http://www.bunchgrapes.com Winner of the Garden Writers Association "Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003. 
  For even more grape lessons, go to http://www.grapeschool.com
  For all other things grape, http://www.vitisearch.com

  On Nov 28, 2007, at 7:56 AM, road's end farm wrote:


  On Nov 28, 2007, at 7:17 AM, loneroc wrote:


    Check with the germplasm repository at Cornwallis.  Yesterday I received runners of the 'Fairfax' strawberry that I requested from them via e-mail last spring.  No cost whatsoever and they were Fed-Exed overnight to my door.  Good work USDA!! (I don't have cause to praise them too often.)  I stuck 'em in pots--should be no trouble--roots were already forming.


     
    Steve Herje


    Lone Rock, WI USDA Zone 3-4


     
    PS:  Thanks to whoever suggested Fairfax.  It's is one of the parents of Sparkle--my favorite commonly available berry and it's supposed to be even better.  It's supposed to grow well in (part?) shade--which is something I can always use.






  Great news!

  How many runners did they send you?

  Are you considering getting Fairfax back on the market?

  Let us know how they do --

  --Rivka
  Finger Lakes NY; zone 5 mostly_______________________________________________
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