British strawberry growers are hoping to tap into the market for premium strawberries for longer next year, when a new premium variety hits the shelves.

Merit strawberries produce higher yields than is typical for other everbearing varieties those which produce fruit from June until September or October.

Soft fruit marketing company Total Berry, which developed Merit, said its lower canopy density would allow growers to plant 25% more plants on the same growing area. This would increase total yield with no need to expand growing areas, it said.

Farm owner Charles Gaskain, who trialled Merit, said it allowed faster picking, had lower watering needs and was less susceptible to disease than other varieties. "The Merit has a promising future," he said.

Merit strawberries are on sale directly through Total Berry. The company hopes to have listings in the mults next summer.