Behold The Strawberry That Took 15 Years To Develop

A sweet, juicy delicacy that's been enjoyed for countless centuries, strawberries are timeless little fruits. The small berry is said to have originated in Ancient Greece and Rome where it was typically used for medicinal purposes before blossoming into the cultivated fruit we love to eat today (per The Californian). As it turns out, the Romans weren't wrong. According to WebMD, strawberries pack a nutritional punch that promotes heart health, increases levels of good cholesterol, and protects against cancer. High in antioxidants, vitamins, and potassium, 3 billion strawberries are grown in the U.S. each year, with California contributing to more than half of that total (per University of Vermont). Simply put, people love strawberries, and they seem to love people back.

According to The Spruce Eats, there are over 600 unique varieties of strawberries. While that may seem excessive, strawberry breeding helps enhance the flavor, texture, aroma, color, and most importantly, the health benefits of strawberries. Strawberry breeding can also help reveal the fruit's survival adaptability in different conditions (per NIH). Fifteen years in the making, a breeding team at Rutgers University has just unveiled a brand-new, plant-patented strawberry aptly named Rutgers D'Light (per Rutgers).

Rutgers D'Light is a flavorful strawberry designed for dipping

Agriculture and natural resource agents Pete Nitzsche and Bill Hlubik have been working with commercial farms, farmers, volunteers, and other universities for over a decade to cultivate a one-of-a-kind strawberry. Over the course of 15 years, the experts' primary ambition was to produce a strawberry bred for robust flavor. Rutgers D'Light strawberry has a distinct blend of sugars, acids, and aromatic compounds designed to dazzle and inspire fans of the fruit (per Rutgers).

Hlbubik says that Rutgers D'Light, which he believes is one of the best strawberries on the market, will "awaken the senses of true strawberry lovers" and adds that its large, oblong shape makes it an "ideal strawberry for dipping in chocolate." Say less! We'll take a pound of them! According to Nitzsche and Hlubik, Rutgers D'Light is poised to hit farmers' markets soon. Local farmers who enjoyed the luxury of trialing the strawberry are eager for more, and while the plants are available to home gardeners and commercial growers, the berry itself won't be available until 2023.

Although California is the largest producer of strawberries in the United StatesĀ (per University of Vermont), New Jersey is giving them a run for their money when it comes to cultivating super-sweet, dippable strawberries.