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Ripe for the picking: Cute name sought for new Japan strawberry variety

"Shiga SB No. 2," a new variety of strawberry cultivated by the Shiga Prefectural Government, is seen at the prefectural government office in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on Nov. 2, 2021. (Mainichi/Misaki Morokuma)

OTSU -- A western Japan prefectural government is seeking suggestions for a cute name for a new variety of strawberry, "Shiga SB No. 2," raised by the prefectural agricultural technology promotion center.

    This is the first time Shiga Prefecture has cultivated a new strawberry variety. It is said to be large and bright red, with a refreshing, floral aroma and a good balance of sweetness and sourness. Shiga Gov. Taizo Mikazuki is calling for people to think of cute names and submit them for the contest.

    In recent years, when prefectural governments register their bred varieties with the national government, there has been a trend to restrict other municipalities from growing them, so in 2016, the Shiga Prefectural Government began developing its own strawberry.

    One variety was selected from about 1,600 samples produced by crossing "Akihime." which is widely grown in the prefecture, and "Kaorino," which has a hard skin. It reportedly has a moderate sourness and heightened sweetness.

    The name is scheduled to be announced around March 2022. The person whose suggested name is chosen will receive a commemorative gift and 1 kilogram of the new strawberry variety as an extra prize. The new strawberry is expected to be available in stores in 2023.

    Suggestions will be accepted until Dec. 26 via the application form on the prefectural government website or by mail. For more details and inquiries, please visit the prefecture's webpage at https://www.pref.shiga.lg.jp/ippan/shigotosangyou/nougyou/ryutsuu/321312.html (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Misaki Morokuma, Otsu Bureau)

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