Memorial Bish strawberry released by N.C. State breeders
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Memorial Bish strawberry released by N.C. State breeders

Ornate letter "A"
new strawberry variety recently released for trial by growers and nurseries has been named in memory of Dr. Eric Bish, who lost his life while working as a strawberry research and extension associate at N.C. State University.

The N.C. Agricultural Research Service announced the release of the Bish strawberry, developed by Dr. Jim Ballington, professor and small fruit breeder in the Department of Horticultural Science.

Eric Bish, 30, was on his way out of town in May 2000 when he was shot and killed at a post office near campus. A popular researcher, Bish was known for his work developing a fall and winter strawberry crop that could be grown in North and South Carolina.

Bish strawberry is adapted for plasticulture and significantly resistant to anthracnose. It performs satisfactorily in the piedmont and northern coastal plain, however it seems most well-adapted from the southern Appalachians north through the Mid-Atlantic states. Bish is similar in yield and fruit size to the standard plasticulture cultivar, Chandler.

For fruit characteristics, Bish was also equal to or better than Chandler for attractiveness, fruit firmness and symmetry, skin toughness and flavor. It was poorer in flesh color, though still satisfactory.

In comparison with the cultivar Camarosa, Bish had better flavor and was similar to or better in attractiveness, symmetry and skin color. Fruit size, flesh color, fruit firmness and skin toughness were satisfactory, though not as strong as for Camarosa.

--Natalie Hampton

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