The very first white strawberry in Japan – the “Fragrance of First Love”

White strawberries’ popularity is gradually increasing in Japan since the very first one called “Fragrance of First Love” (Hatsukoi-no-kaori 初恋の香り) appeared in 2009. The name was given as this strawberry does not turn red even if it is ripe. The skin is ivory white with pink blushes and red seeds, giving the image of first love. When you cut it in half, its inside is purely white. White = Sour? Not really! It is actually a delicate strawberry with strong sweetness and is very soft. ヽ(๑╹ڡ╹๑)ノ

However, force of resistance for new things is inevitable. At that time, many farmers refused to cultivate white strawberries with the blackboard image in mind that strawberries are red and that white strawberries could not be sold. The creator, Miyoshi Agri-Tech Co. Ltd. (三好アグリテック株式会社) located in Kobuchizawa-cho, Yamanashi Prefecture (山梨県 小淵沢町), used 5 or 6 years to clear all those obstacles. White strawberries eventually became very popular and are ever more popular now, with travellers from overseas found them extraordinary.

Photo by 馬場理沙
White strawberries lack the reddening ability

Are white strawberries white because they just saw a monster and were panicking? ฺ(☼Д☼) I believed that it’s undoubtedly true until science had given me a good snap on my face in order to wake me up.

Following the life-cycle of red strawberries, they begin with white flesh and redden as they ripen thanks to a protein called Fragaria allergen 1 (Fra a1). For white strawberries, they stay white in colour even after ripening because they lack the ripening protein Fra a1, which is responsible for the colour change.

White strawberries are sweeter and softer than red strawberries

White strawberries looks like the unripe strawberries. You might have this questions on your mind: “Is it not sour?”. It is actually sweeter than the red strawberries! (っ˘ڡ˘ς)

Looking at its acid-like appearance, expecting that it must be super sour, when it finally reaches your mouth, its softness and sweetness will definitely melt your heart. White strawberries contain 12 degrees of sugar content while that of red strawberries is 11 degrees on average. They are also softer with a characteristic fragrance compared to the red ones.

The most famous varieties of white strawberries

There are many different varieties of cross-bred/hybrid white strawberries in the market. Many of them do not even have a name yet. Below is among the most well-known varieties of white strawberries. Until today, “Fragrance of Love” (the very first white strawberry in Japan) is still one of the best to have possessed a great balance between its softness, sourness and sweetness.

 

Fragrance of First Love                                                                Fruit of Angel

 

Snow Rabbit                                                                                     Cherry Blossom

White strawberries are luxury products

It is not easy to cultivate white strawberries. Sunlight exposure is highly controlled. Few strawberry farm grows them and their quantities are limited in a typical strawberry farm. That’s why their prices are relatively high compared to many red strawberries. You can easily pay 1000 yen for a single white strawberry. But actually the prices are not much higher than the very high quality red strawberries.

Picking white strawberries in a farm is possible

The strawberry season in Japan is around December to April. But you can find strawberries all year around in green houses. Strawberries are at their best condition from January to March as strawberries ripens slowly during that period of time and this allows the growing concentration of sugar in them.

Time-limited all-you-can-eat strawberry farms are very common in Japan. As more and more farms are trying to cultivate white strawberries, there exists some strawberry farms which allow visitors to try them, mostly with a limited quantity per person. But even if it is not easy to find the farms for white strawberries picking, there are over 50 varieties of red strawberries with different softness and sweetness for you to taste during winter season. It is time to go for a strawberry challenge! v(❆ڼ❆)v

 

 

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