Sorghum bicolor subsp. bicolor
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~50
Germination tested 01/2023: 98%
Life cycle: Annual
'Della' is a mid-season sweet sorghum variety with good disease resistance. Developed by Bob Harrison of Virginia Polytechnic Institute, it was released in December 1991. 'Della' matures about one week earlier than 'Dale' and about 6 days later than 'Sugar Drip'. Della is a backcross of 'Dale' — one of the modern sorghum-syrup-makers gold-standard varieties for excellent syrup quality — to an earlier maturing line. It is resistant to anthracnose and maize dwarf mosaic and is moderately susceptible to bacterial stripe. 'Della' is more prone to lodging (dipping over) compared to 'Dale' and is more variable in plant height. It is similar to 'Dale' in syrup quality. The biggest advantage of 'Della' is that it matures one week earlier than 'Dale' and thus would let you start cooking a little earlier in the fall.
This crop of 'Della' is the first seed crop produced by the new Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance (UCFA), a Black and Indigenous-led growers' cooperative and seed company based in southern Maryland. UCFA exists to support farmers from historically oppressed communities, in particular by helping them get into seed farming as an additional source of revenue. The seed industry in the United States is largely run by white people (including us), who almost exclusively contract other white people as growers — though the majority of the seeds we sell trace their roots to non-European cultures. Black farmers, Indigenous farmers, Asian-American farmers, Latin American farmers, Arab American farmers, and other farmers of color have long been and continue to be routinely discriminated against in the course of doing business, including by banks, government agencies, middlemen or other buyers, and even neighbors. UCFA is working to bring some measure of justice to the seed industry.
These seeds were grown and harvested by members of UCFA at Serenity Farm in Benedict, Maryland. We're proud to be working closely in support of their important mission and excited to be offering these seeds. 50% of their proceeds will go to the cooperative.