Kannapolis, NC. - September 29, 2010 - How do you engineer a tastier, sturdier strawberry? In a unique partnership, JWU's College of Culinary Arts and North Carolina State University have teamed up to create the perfect strawberry. Supported by a $200,000 grant, the year-long, interdisciplinary project involves culinarians, researchers and growers from across the state — all focused on creating a berry that’s unique to the region. Strawberries are big business in North Carolina. Developing a tastier berry with a longer growing season will benefit growers, chefs, entrepreneurs and consumers — not just locally, but nationwide. The project's organizers hope to have a lasting impact on the region's agricultural sector.To JWU students and faculty, the year-long project offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with and learn from other disciplines. “By working with NC State, we connect our students with both researchers and farmers across the state,” notes Mark Allison, the Charlotte Campus’ dean of culinary education and team lead. “We’re also teaching our students to seek out the best quality products.” JWU’s team of chef-instructors and culinary students will help identify the traits that characterize the ideal strawberry. Through visits to local farms and guest lectures by local experts, students will gain a hands-on introduction to the science of food production, as well as agricultural research, outreach and sustainability in action. Allison’s team has already begun work on a series of recipes that will be showcased in competitions and shared with the media. Next month they will attend a strawberry conference in Virginia, to be followed by on-site lab work at NC State’s research campus in Kannapolis, NC. They will be working primarily with Dr. Jeremy Pattison, NC State's lead researcher, and his team. “Ultimately, we want to increase the economic value and impact of NC strawberries while enhancing the eating experience,” concludes Dr. Pattison.Pictured, l-r: Pattison and Allison.