Whether paired with sponge cake and whipped cream, dipped in chocolate or just enjoyed on their own, ripe red strawberries are a crowd favorite found at Memorial Day BBQs, graduation parties and neighborhood cookouts from late spring to early summer.

This season, Rutgers researchers unveiled a new varietal that’s been 15 years in the making: Rutgers D’Light.

Bred for its flavorful, sweet fruit, Rutgers D’Light has a unique holiday light shape that makes it the “ideal strawberry for dipping in chocolate,” according to Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) agent Bill Hlubik.

The strawberry is now available to home gardeners and farmers after years of field trials conducted on New Jersey research and commercial farms by Hlubik and NJAES agent Pete Nitzsche.

Chocolate-covered Rutgers D'Light strawberry
The Rutgers D'Light is the perfect strawberry for dipping in chocolate.
Pete Nitzsche

Developed at NJAES by the team that developed the Rutgers Scarlet strawberry in 2015, the Rutgers D’Light is derived from plant biology professor emeritus Gojko Jelenkovic’s 30 years of testing hundreds of varieties to develop a better tasting strawberry.

“Rutgers D’Light has a unique balance of sugars, acids and aromatic compounds that will awaken the senses of true strawberry lovers,” said Hlubik. “After many years of testing varieties, I believe our Rutgers D’Light and Rutgers Scarlet are the two best tasting strawberries on the market.”

Rutgers D’Light produces abundant runners in the field, which are stems that reproduce themselves, making it ideal for gardeners wanting to expand their strawberry garden.

“The plant’s characteristic upright architecture allows for adequate air flow and ample sunlight penetration, producing delicious deep red berries,” noted Hlubik.

Rutgers D’Light is a patented variety licensed to Indiana Berry & Plant Co,. which is making the plants available to gardeners and farmers for order.