Flair, The early-season June bearer Flair has been selected by Marcel Suiker of breeding and nursery company Flevoplant in The Netherlands in 2004. Meanwhile Flair has replaced a part of the early varieties Honeoye and Clery in Scandinavia and North and Central Germany. Due to ist very good taste and extreme earliness Flair is an interesting variety for early prodution in greenhouses, under tunnels and under rowcovers. Compared to Darselect the fruitset of Flair is better and the berries remain more glossy after harvest. Flair is earlier on the market as Clery and tastes better. Flair is not as susceptible to rootdiseases as Lambada and produces firmer fruits.
Flowering and harvest period
Flair develops an open canopy with long petioles and well displayed fruit which ensures a good ease of harvest and high picking speed. The flower trusses develop after eachother in a short time. Therefore Flair has a short production period of on average 4 to 5 weeks. Fruits of Flair can be harvested 2 to 5 days before Clery and up to 10 days before Darselect. Because flower trusses are normally positioned above the leaf canopy the early flowers can be damaged by nightfrost. Therefore frost protection in open field culture and rowcovers is necessary. The fruits colour quickly which results in a concentrated short harvest period of only 4 to 5 weeks.
A characteristic of Flair is the good fruitset and uniform fruit shape. In general berries tend to be elongated conical. Flair has a high chilling requierement and in case this is not fulfilled the first flower trussses can remain short and result in underdevelopped flowers with less viable pollen. Also in case of unfavourable field conditions in autumn (high temperatures and low nutrient status) Flair can give winterflowers. Already in the early season the variety bears attractive fruits which taste good and have a pleasant strawberry aroma. Fruits at maturation have a vibrant red colour. However, they can colour after harvest during cold storage. At high temperatures, fruits may become dark, therefore it is recommended to pick in an earlier ripening stage every other day in the morning. Due to its short shelf life, the variety is not suited to shipping long distances.
The average berry weight of Flair is comparable to Clery. In general Flair is earlier but lower yielding. However, by planting early and feeding well in September and October comparable yields can be obtained with Flair.
Pest and disease susceptibility.
Flair is relatively tolerant to powdery mildew (Sphaeroteca macularis) however towards the end of harvest especially on table tops fruits can get infected. Flair is moderately tolerant to wilt (Verticillium dahlia) and crown rot (P. cactorum) although it is advised to treat preventive on substrate culture and misted tips planted in the soil. Flair is sensitive for herbicide treatments. Therefore it is advised to adapt the rates and wait with treatments until the plants are sufficiently rooted.
Flair prefers a cool climate during green fruit stage and the harvest;under low temperature conditions the berries keep their size and skin firmness. The strawberries are fairly resistant to rain and well suited for outdoor production. In tunnel production it is recommended to harvest every other day in the morning to avoid softer and to dark fruit. Flair has a high need for water and needs to be irrigated very regularly. To keep the temperature low it is advised to well ventillate the tunnels during harvest. Flair does have a high chilling requirement, what should be taken into consideration when the variety is cultivated early in the season in tunnels or greenhouses as a trayplant or fresh dug plant. In that case, a longer period of chilling and additional night break lighting is required to ensure good elongation of the flower trusses. Flair has a higher need for zinc compared to most varieties. In soils with high pH and high phosphate the uptake of zinc can be decreased. Flair can show deficiency symptoms by forming pale green young folded leaves and cupped elongated middle leaves with a light green colour. Flair is mainly suited for direct sales on the farm and short distance distribution.