Mae was bred at East Malling Research Ltd by Dr David Simpson and his team. It was selected in 1995 from progeny of the cross Rosie x Marmolada.
The berries have a regular conical shape with firm skin and flesh. Eating quality is good, with a pleasant flavour and juicy texture. The fruit is attractive with a glossy finish and mid red colour, intermediate between Rosie and Elsanta. Shelf life is similar to Elsanta.
Yield and Fruit Size
Mae was trialled at East Malling in 1997-98 and 2000-01. In both trials the yield was less than Elsanta in year 1 but greater in year 2. Fruit size and percentage class1 fruit was superior to Elsanta in all 4 years. Mae maintains large fruit size very well on two year old plants, which, combined with very low percentage waste, results in rapid and economical harvesting. Mae is more productive than other early season varieties such as Rosie and Honeoye
The season of Mae is seven days earlier than Elsanta.
Mae is an early season dessert type with good fruit quality that is suitable for all types of retail outlets.
Plants are compact and the fruit is well displayed. If planted as a misted tip, the first year plants are small and would be suitable for a high density planting. Second year plants are slightly less vigorous than Elsanta. Runner production is good.
Mae does not have strong resistance to any of the common strawberry diseases and a spray programme equivalent to that used for Elsanta is recommended. Soil sterilisation is recommended where there is a risk from Verticillium wilt.
Use of the variety
Mae offers growers the opportunity to start the season with a productive variety that comes on stream one week earlier than Elsanta. The large, well shaped berries will mean rapid harvesting and the good eating quality of the berries will be very acceptable to consumers. Flowering is also early and Mae will perform best under protection in areas where there is a risk of late frosts.