Sweetheart has been named Outstanding Fruit Cultivar 2012 by the American Society for Horticultural Science. The society presented the award to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada during its annual conference in early August.
Dark red and firm, the sweet cherry cultivar originated from a cross between Van and Newstar made in 1975 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC) in Summerland, British Columbia. Retired researcher Dr. David Lane and his team developed Sweetheart as part of a breeding program to develop sweet cherry cultivars with improved productivity and quality.
Officially released in 1994, Sweetheart has a number of important attributes. It is late maturing, coming into the market in middle to late August when other cherries have finished, and it is self-fertile. It has been an important parent in the breeding program leading to a number of new cherry varieties, including Staccato, Sentennial, and Sovereign.
The Outstanding Fruit Cultivar Award recognizes a modern fruit introduction that is having a significant impact on the fruit industry.