Posts Tagged ‘Ontario strawberry’

The Story of Strawberry

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star yesterday about the journey of California strawberry - from the genetics lab in California to the local grocery stores all over North America.  It’s incredible/scary all the processes involved from seeds to fruit.  

Some interesting facts from the article:

  • there are over 200 genetically unique seeds on each strawberry
  • the growing season for Ontario strawberries is 5 weeks; in California, 9 months
  • each strawberry plant is engineered from a seed, put through heat treatment, humidity chamber, and travelled to mountains in Northern California for cooling
  • California strawberry fields are first fumigated with methyl bromide to kill all weeds, bugs and fungus to a depth of 2.4 metres (is this practice common in all commercial farming, or unique to strawberries?)
  • once picked, strawberries are cooled to 2 degree Celcius to prolong the shelf life to 10 days
  • the farthest city the California strawberries travel to is Toronto
The story of the strawberry is a lot more complicated than I thought. I don’t think it’s the way nature intended.   Having read the article,  I now appreciate the Ontario strawberries even more.

Ontario Strawberries are Here!

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I just bought my first pint Ontario strawberries from a local grocery store on Friday.  They are so juicy and red!  Josh’s mom has already made 15 jars of strawberry jam.  We’ll be making our first trip of the season to our favourite strawberry farm - Organics Family Farm for more strawberries tomorrow.

Here’s a list of strawberry farms on our site:

Toronto area:

London area:

Hamilton area:

Niagara area:

 Barrie area:

Kingston area:


More Strawberries!

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Having tasted the local strawberries from my CSA share, I was eager to get more.  Lots more.  I searched the web for a local organic farm and found a small family organic farm not too far away.  So on Sunday, Josh, Ella and I went for a drive and went to Organics Family Farm, a small local organic farm for some fresh strawberries. 

Organics Family Farm

At the farm, there was a small farm stand with some ready-picked strawberries and organic strawberry and strawberry-rhubarb pies, freshly baked in the outdoor wood-fired oven.  We promptly picked up a strawberry-rhubarb pie (there were only a few left and we were NOT leaving without a pie!) and a basket for some strawberry picking fun.  They grow two varieties of strawberries: Veestar (a small and ugly but very sweet variety) and Honeoye (perfectly shaped but not as sweet).  We filled our basket with strawberries (mostly the veestar) while we sampled the berries.  They were so sweet and juicy, even better than the ones we got from our CSA share. 

Strawberry picking

Afterwards, we had a chance to talk to the owner/farmer.  We learned that you can only grow strawberries on a piece of  land for a maximum of two years before you have to rotate crops, and that the veestar variety of strawberry is losing its vigor and showing signs of being genetically drained.  The plants are not as strong as they used to be and this is probably the last year they’ll grow them.  That’s really too bad because they are the sweetest berries I’ve ever tasted. 

Our strawberries

We ended up with 6(!) quarts of strawberries - way more berries that we know what to do with.  Perhaps we (I) were a bit overzealous in our berry-picking.  We made strawberry loaf and muffins, strawberry smoothies and I think I’ll make some strawberry jam for the very first time.  I’ve never made jam before - we’ll see how that goes.

Strawberry Bread Recipe

My kitchen smelled heavenly while this was baking.  This bread tastes a lot better once it’s cooled.  The recipe originally called for 1 1/2 cups of sugar, I thought that was a bit much and since the berries were so sweet, I reduced it to 1 cup and it was just sweet enough for us.

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup salad oil
1 tbsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups crushed strawberries

Beat eggs and sugar; add oil and vanilla. 

Mix in flour, oats, cinnamon, soda, salt and baking powder. Add strawberries and mix well.

Pour into two greased and floured 4 x 8 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  For muffins, bake for 15 minutes.


Strawberry!

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Today, Ella and I, with special guest star Josh, had our weekly stroll to pick up our CSA share.  In that green box, amongst all the green vegetables, sat our first (of many) pint of organic Ontario strawberries! Naturally we had to try them right away.  mmmm…they were so fresh, sweet and juicy. Ella had the most, she kept asking for more.  More than half the pint was gone by the time we got home. That prompted me to search for organic strawberry farms to visit  this weekend.  

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

The Pick Your Own website has a huge list of strawberry farms.  I’ll be adding them to our website, so that they’ll be included in our searchable database.  In the meantime, click here for more berry farms.