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Research Bears Fruit, And Patents

(Blacksburg, Va., May 4, 1999) -- It took Herbert Stiles 30 years to keep a promise to the coed who helped him count thousands of strawberry seeds when he was a master's degree student. He told her he would name his first cultivar in her honor. In 1996, Stiles named a new raspberry variety "Anne," after his wife of 32 years. In 1998, Anne (the raspberry) received a patent, and now its large golden fruit is growing in popularity.

The plant patent was one of three earned by researchers from four universities who are cooperating to create new varieties of raspberries. Stiles, associate professor at Virginia Tech's Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center (SPAREC) in Blackstone, Va.; Joseph Fiola, small fruits specialist at Rutgers University's Cream Ridge Fruit Research and Extension Center; Brian Smith, small fruit breeder and horticulturist at the University of Wisconsin; and Harry Jan Swartz, small fruits breeder and biotechnologist at the University of Maryland, received two patents last May for raspberry plants named Caroline and Anne, and one patent in September for a raspberry plant named Lauren. Caroline is named after Fiola's daughter and Lauren after Swartz's daughter. The researchers waited until the new varieties had survived several years of trials before naming them. Now Caroline, Anne, and Lauren are finding favor with growers across the country.

Caroline and Anne are fall-bearing or every-bearing raspberry cultivars. Giles County, Virginia, grower Ralph Farley says he harvests Anne at his Berry Patch farm spring and fall.

Farley tested the variety in 1997 "and it turned out fine, so I put in 2,400 feet last April. I get two super crops -- about 1,000 cases of beautiful golden berries almost as big as coffee creamers." The fruit is only about 10 percent of his market because "people are still getting used to the unusual color," but by the end of last year's season he was beginning to get requests for special occasion
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Contact: Herbert Stiles
rasbry@vt.edu
804-292-5331
Virginia Tech
10-May-1999


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