I hope I am one of many that braved the rain during yesterday’s market to grab some strawberries from the Blueberry Patch!
Strawberries have been available from the Blueberry Patch for a few weeks now, as unique growing conditions allow these beauties to get a jump on the typical Strawberry Growing Season. At their Lister farm, the Blueberry Patch grows strawberries hydroponically. As someone who gets pretty excited about advances in agriculture, I love knowing hydroponic technology is being used locally! Produce grown hydroponically does not rely on soil to nourish the plant, allowing farmers to alter the growing environment of the plant in a way that might make the fruit easier to access. Omitting soil in the growing process also allows for the omission of pesticides, which is a huge benefit to the environment. The Blueberry Patch has a beautiful system in place, where their strawberries grow in tiered vertical layers in a greenhouse free of chemical sprays! This means the fruit is easy to get to, and available a few weeks earlier than field strawberries. A win-win I’d say.
People often have the misconception that hydroponic strawberries are lacking in flavour or sweetness compared to strawberries grown outdoors. This is certainly not the case with the Blueberry Patch. The aroma and taste of these berries is like actual candy, and it is pretty tough to resist eating an entire pint in one sitting.
While I’m at it, I will address another berry related misconception (who even knew there was multiple berry misconceptions?!) about the sugar content of strawberries. There are a few extreme diets that will advise against eating fruit, especially berries, because they have a high fructose content. Those diets are silly. Although strawberries do contain fructose, they are also loaded with water and micronutrients. Most notably, strawberries (especially their skin) contain fibre, which actually slows carbohydrate absorption. This means the sugars in those berries is totally glued to this fibre which counteracts the negative effects fructose could potentially have once absorbed into the body. So unless you are a total weirdo who peels their strawberries, eat them by the handful and be grateful berry season is upon us!
In Good Food,
Reede Hawton – Nutrition Rep