Strawberries

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Our Farm Market opens each year when fresh strawberries are ready, generally around the middle of June.

Look on our News page to find our anticipated opening date each season, for our Farm Market and Pick Your Own Strawberry Fieds, as well as information on our Hours, the Picking Conditions, and the projected length of the season. The News page is updated regularly.

On our farm we grow 10 acres of strawberries and approximately 6 different varieties. We begin our harvest with Vee Star and Annapolis. Next follow the mid season varieties of Cavendish, and Jewel. The last varieties to ripen are Governor Simcoe and Mira. Usually our strawberry season lasts three or four weeks.

Selecting Strawberries

Berries are best picked in early morning or evening when the temperature is cooler. Choose plump, firm, deep red berries with bright green caps and no signs of mold. Strawberries without caps should be avoided as they may be overripe and not good quality.

Storing and Preserving Strawberries

Fresh strawberries are highly perishable and delicate. If not using mmediately, remove the berries from their containers, arrange in a single layer in a shallow pan, loosely cover, and refrigerate. Use fresh berries within one to two days for best quality. Wash strawberries gently in cold water just before you are ready to use them as the washing action removes their natural protective outer layer.

Leave caps on during washing to prevent water from soaking into the strawberry, diluting the flavour and changing the texture. Let the sand and soil sink to the bottom and then lift the strawberries out with your fingers. Let the berries air dry, or gently pat with a towel.

To freeze berries, simply lay them in a single layer on a tray and place in the freezer. Once frozen, quickly transfer them to freezer bags and place back into the freezer. It is not necessary to add any sugar!

Did You Know?

The average strawberry has 200 “seeds” and that one serving of strawberries has more vitamin C than an orange!

Strawberries are Heart Smart too! Not only are strawberries the world’s most popular berry, they are also nutritional jewels.

Studies presented at the 2003 American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Exhibition revealed that in addition to being low in fat and calories, strawberries are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. They not only resemble the shape of a heart, strawberries are packed with nutrients that promote a healthy heart!

Horticultural Facts

The strawberry is a small plant of the Rosaceae (Rose) family and all varieties belong to the Fragaria genus. Despite its name, it is not a real berry or fruit in the botanical sense, but instead the enlarged end of the plant’s stamen. The strawberry is actually an aggregate fruit – the real fruit are the tiny yellow “seeds” clinging to the outer skin. The plants do not tend to reproduce through their seeds, but rather through long runners that root themselves into the soil and produce new plants, which grow and bear fruit.

History

As June arrives in our seasonal calendar, Canadians from east to west wait in eager anticipation for word that strawberries are ready to be picked. The unique taste of this berry is only a memory for 11 months of the year, but with the advent of summer, you can practically hear the stampede of eager feet to the pick-your-own strawberry fields or to the market where a “locally grown” sign proclaims this year’s harvest. The perennial favourite has returned!

The delicate heart-shaped berry has connoted purity, passion, and healing for hundreds of years. Indeed, medieval stonemasons carved strawberry designs on altars and pillars in churches to symbolize perfection. Strawberries have grown wild for thousands of years in temperate regions of the Earth – they are indigenous to every major continent except Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Although small, wild berries were cultivated in ancient Rome, it wasn’t until the 18th Century that strawberries developed into the luscious fruits we know today. In 1714, a French engineer sent to Chile and Peru to monitor Spanish activities in these countries was introduced to a native strawberry much larger than those found in Europe. He brought samples back to France. These plants did not flourish well until a natural crossbreeding occurred between this species and a neighbouring North American variety. The result was a large, sweet, juicy fruit that won over the hearts and taste buds of Europeans. Like other perishable foods of the time, strawberries remained a luxury item until the mid-19th Century when railways were able to transport them more quickly to markets.

Because the berries seem to be strewn among the leaves of the plant, the original name of this fruit was strewberry. Later, the name may have changed to strawberry since farmers would keep the berries fresh by transporting them to market on beds of straw.