Sonata - Mid Season
Bred by PRI in Holland, the same breeder as Elsanta, Sonata is a cross involving Elsanta and Polka. The result is a uniform, large, conically shaped fruit. While the cultivar is one or two days later than Elsanta, the main advantage is that produces a much lower incidence of mis-shapen fruit during the first and second pickings. This is seen particularly in spring and autumn cropping. The cultivar is particularly suitable for field scale production similar to Elsanta.
It appears from the trials we have seen that Sonata has a much higher percentage Class 1 fruit. Less waste means quicker picking but because the fruit size is generally bigger, the kilos per picker per hour are increased by, in some cases, 25% in comparison to Elsanta. Admittedly this was from a tray plant and grown in new glass, but with Elsanta as a guideline it certainly looks favourable.
Overall, Sonata is a little sweeter than Elsanta. Flavour is better at the start of picking when yields are high and tends to flatten out towards the end of picking. Elsanta has a much stronger flavour at the end of picking as the yield reduces.
Thr fruit is also a nice red colour with no tendency to darken after picking. This is a major advantage as many of the new strawberry cultivars released over the years had a tendency to turn dark after picking.
The firmness of strawberries is also a very important trait which was taken into account when breeding Sonata. Firmness is very important for a successful shelf life. Results indicate that the berry is almost as firm as Elsanta, although much larger in size.There are far fewer mis-shapen and larger berries on Sonata compared with Elsanta making the crop easier and quicker to pick.