It's All in the Genes
Like every living thing, plants have genes that reveal what characteristics they might develop. Similar to how a child of two parents with brown hair will most likely grow up with brown hair, Joy Makers can predict the characteristics of certain berries by knowing their plant genes.
Joy Makers in the genetics department can look at the fruit genes by testing their DNA. This allows them to make educated predictions about what traits they’ll have, such as flavor or color. In a season, Joy Makers may have 100,000 plants to examine. By looking at a plant’s genes, Joy Makers screen them when they’re still seedlings before they ever produce a fruit. The Joy Maker team can test up to 30,000 seedlings in a single month! That means they can predict which berries have the traits that reflect both the preferences of consumers and the demands of growers (without having to eat 30,000 full-grown berries!)
Joy Makers can identify all sorts of traits including disease resistance, flavor, color, and plant architecture. For example, Driscoll’s consumers have stated they enjoy strawberries that contain a hint of peach flavor. Joy Makers can screen through thousands of seedlings and identify all the plants capable of producing a peachy flavor.
One of the great things about using natural cross-pollination is that Driscoll’s berries are never genetically modified. Everything the Joy Makers do is like traditional plant breeding of crossing one plant with a different plant. The science of genes, however, allows the Joy Makers to more efficiently figure out which plants will produce the best results.