Wednesday, 16 July 2008

STRAWBERRIES are in season

Today is Mum’s birthday – she would have been 99. One of the things I associate with her birthdays in years gone by is strawberries. ‘Uncle’ Phil had a fruit market wholesalers and he would always turn up on the Thursday nearest to her birthday with tons of Strawberries which were just coming into season.
When I was up on Lewis we were talking about how things no longer have a “Season” in this country. Foreign imports mean that we can find most things in the greengrocers at all times of the year. By contrast, in New Zealand, things are still seasonal as they were here at one time.

(We also had a debate about which strawberries were the best – my vote goes for Cambridge Favourites. Fiona’s vote was for Fife strawberries. But there is no conflict there – Cambridge Favourites are a variety and Fife simply the location in which strawberries are grown – so you can have Cambridge Favourites from Fife. Cambridge Favourites are a favourite with many growers but are now superseded by newer strawberry varieties. They have good disease resistance, an attractive colour with a traditional strawberry flavour. They are reasonably sized berries that hold well in the field lending themselves well to the Pick Your Own market.).

In the space of a generation, we've become accustomed to eating food that's never grown roots in local soil. Fruit and vegetables that have been grown and harvested in their natural season and environment will have a depth of flavour and texture that can't compare to something that has travelled far (and for a long time) or been grown outside its traditional season. Cost is another factor. A couple of weeks into a product's season, prices fall.

Less obvious are hidden costs such as food miles (the measure of the distance a food travels from field to plate). This travel adds substantially to the carbon dioxide emissions that are contributing to climate change by the fuel used in flight and transportation - which is why food miles matter. (Most produce grown in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before it gets sold. Every year, nearly 270 million pounds of grapes arrive in California, most of them shipped from Chile to the Port of Los Angeles. Their 5,900 mile journey in cargo ships and trucks releases 7,000 tons of global warming pollution each year. ) Purchasing locally grown, in-season vegetables can greatly reduce the impact on the environment, and helps support local producers and rural communities. Even more importantly, by knowing where our food comes from, we gain a sense of control over what we choose to eat.

For more information about food miles read the BBC article. Try to buy fresh, native produce that’s in season. Serving strawberries all year round will mean that they’ve been imported from other corners of the globe, and buying any fruit you can’t pronounce, although exotic, is not a good way to earn extra greenie points.

A brilliant painting entitled Strawberries and Cream by Donna Surprenant

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello - thanks for dropping by to leave a comment. Your comments are much appreciated even if I don't always reply. They will appear as soon as they have been moderated.

Blog Archive