Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Fascination with Strawberries

Strawberries are unlike other fruits and are the “jewel” crop at Marini Farm.  Learn some interesting facts about the popular fruit that is the highlight of many festivals across the country in early summer, and is a household favorite due to its luscious sweetness and health benefits.

• California supplies 80% of America’s strawberries and has over 25,000 acres of strawberry fields

• There are over 600 varieties of strawberries grown in the U.S.

• The garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, in the 1750s

• The world grows more than 2.5 million metric tons of supermarket strawberries every year

• Strawberries are known as the “inside-out” fruit because the seeds are on the outside

• Strawberries have up to 200 seeds

• Strawberries are a member of the rose family

• Once the strawberries are picked, they do not continue to ripen

• Eight strawberries will provide 140% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids

• Strawberries have the highest antioxidant values, which can help prevent cataracts and eye degeneration

• Ninety-four percent of United States households consume strawberries

• It is a widely held view that the name “strawberry” was derived from 'the berries that are "strewn" about on the plants', and the name "strewn berry" eventually morphed into "Strawberry".

• Strawberries are hand-picked as they are fragile and bruise easily

• Strawberry shortcake is one of the most common strawberry desserts in America and dates back to the American Indians

• Chocolate covered strawberries have become one of the nation’s most popular desserts

• Strawberries are full of a special substance called ellagic acid, which can help fight cancer

• Nutritional experts refer to strawberries as a nutritional “superfood,” as a result of them being excellent sources of antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber

• The ellagic acid and flavonoids in strawberries distribute an antioxidant effect that benefits heart health

• Strawberries come in at number 27 among the top 50 general foods containing antioxidants, and they rank fourth among fruits containing antioxidants

Marini's plants seven varieties of strawberries in an area of 10 acres, with Jewel as the favorite variety. Known for having their first native berries on the North Shore, they make sure they start planting early and cover part of the fields with a double row cover known as white clothers. The early harvest starts early June and ends around July 4th, but can vary depending on the weather. Marini's has had a robust harvest from their strawberry fields for about three years, so they've added new fields each year to keep their supply plentiful. There are also day-neutral strawberries, which are planted in the spring and harvested in late August until frost. The day-neutral berries are a great summer berry, but tend to be tougher and less sweet than the early season berries. Weather has a dramatic impact on the flavor of strawberries as the sun is vital in bringing out the full sugars, and on sunny days they can be “as sweet as candy”, explains Mike Marini. They remove the flowers on the day-neutral berries which brings the energy back into the plant, creating bigger and better strawberries later. The berries are very perishable, so they are picked by hand seven days a week. They can be refrigerated to help them last longer, but that will have an effect on their flavor and on their “native berry shine”.

Get ready to start picking! Marini celebrates the strawberry season with their annual Strawberry Festival, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, that takes place on June 21, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Enjoy a full day of family fun and memories! There are activities all day long; hayrides, bounce houses, jumping pillow, duck races, farm animals, corn cannons, face painting, antique tractors, play area with tractor, spider, castle, picnic area, food and refreshments. The star of the springtime will soon be ready for your picking pleasure, so plan for making your special seasonal desserts, and stop by and pick-your-own berries. These sweet shiny jewels will make your day complete.

Written by Lightning Consulting