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Meet the Strawberry: Keeping it Fresh for Berry Many Years

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… strawberry season! The months of June and July gift Ontario with fields full of fresh, sweet, mouth-watering strawberries- perfect for making jam, baking pies, topping cereal or just eating by the hand. It is safe to say that strawberries are loved among many, but there is more to know about these succulent berries than meets the taste buds.

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History

 It is clear that us humans love to eat strawberries; however, it appears that Dinosaurs might have enjoyed them too because seeds found in Europe show that strawberries may have existed in prehistoric times! (Foodland, 2016). Although it may seem (and taste) like Ontario grows the best strawberries on Earth, the first field strawberries (known to man) were cultivated in France in the 1300’s to be used as a medicinal herb. The berry’s leaves were used to both to aid digestion and to externally treat skin blemishes and sunburns, while the fruit was used to treat discoloured teeth. (Ontario Berries, 2016) So I guess trips to the dentist weren’t always so bad, huh?

It wasn’t until the mid-1800’s that the first American species, a strand called Hoveg, was introduced and cultivated in Massachusetts. By the early 1900’s, cultivated strawberries became widely popular amongst North America- and lucky for us, made their way to Ontario. Today, strawberries are both cultivated and grown in the wild in every Canadian province! (Ontario Berries, 2016)

 Nutrition

 Consisting primarily of water, the strawberry is a healthy treat which contains only 50 calories per cup. Eating strawberries is a great way to reach your daily serving of fruits and vegetables as they are filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only that, but a single cup of this amazing fruit can provide you with over 100% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C! Strawberry? More like Superberry! (WH Foods, 2016)

 Fun Facts

 Strawberries aren’t just fun to eat- they’re interesting too! What we call a berry is not truly a berry at all, but a member of the rose family. Originally named a “strewberry,” because it is strewn amongst the leaves, this fruit is the only kind to have its seeds grow on the outside. The redder the berry, the riper it is- however they taste just as sweet whether large or small! (PickYourOwn, 2016)

U-Pick Strawberries @ Willowtree Farm- NOW OPEN!

Now that you are well informed on the goodness of strawberries, it is time to get eating- or better yet- picking! Willowtree Farm’s U-Pick Strawberry Patch is now open for business! Come stop by with your family and friends and fill a basket with your favourite, fresh and local Willowtree strawberries!

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 Sources

www.pickyourown.org

www.ontarioberries.com

www.foodlandontario.ca

www.whfoods.com