July to see first harvest of potential new brand of white ‘Snow Strawberry’
‘Think Rich’, an agricultural corporation established last November in the town of Nakashibetsu in eastern Hokkaido, has begun cultivation of a white strawberry. Strawberries that only bear fruit in winter were cultivated in greenhouses from seedlings developed in-house by the corporation, and original technology was then used to enable the strawberries to be harvested all year round. Named ‘Hokkaido Snow Strawberry’, the fruit will be marketed as a luxury strawberry. Available in three colors – white, red and pink – the first harvest is expected to take place in July.
Ohno Tetsuya, who is involved in civil engineering and agricultural work in the town, is the corporation’s CEO. Kawakami Riyo, who runs a company in Saitama prefecture in the Kanto region, is the corporation’s managing director; and Maeda Mitsuki, who works in strawberry variety development and production in Nara prefecture in the Kansai region, acts as an advisor.
As a researcher of biotechnology, Maeda utilized cross breeding to develop the ‘Pearl White’ variety of strawberry, which is a red variety with white-fleshed fruit. The new variety of strawberry is said to possess a less tart taste with a refined sweetness and fragrance. Maeda cultivates strawberries himself as a producer.
There are varieties of strawberries that bear fruit from winter to spring, and also varieties that bear fruit from summer to autumn. Winter fruits include the ‘Amao’ variety, a famous luxury strawberry with a strong sweet taste. However, conditions are strict as they only flower or bear fruit if temperatures are low and sunlight hours are short.
The plan is to sell the strawberries in the town, in the metropolitan area and overseas. “We were a little anxious but they flowered without fault. We’ve already had purchasing enquiries from the United States and Malaysia,” says managing director Kawakami. CEO Ohno hopes “to make Nakashibetsu a strawberry producing region, and that the product will become one of the gifts designated in the Hometown Tax Donation program”.
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