Have you noticed how many strawberries are available this year? It has been a good year for growing strawberries.
When I was young. my sister had strawberries on her birthday cake but sadly I never did. Favouritism? No – just seasonal availability. My birthday is in July and strawberries don’t grow in winter. These days, of course, we can buy strawberries at the supermarket just about all year round due extended growing periods in green houses and wider use of fruit freighted in from other areas. Somehow this means that strawberries aren’t as special as they once were and sadly, often they are not as tasty either.
For the past three years I have been buying strawberries from farmers just outside Forest Hill. They are grown in green houses which protects them from frost and early summer storms. It also makes picking them less backbreaking for the workers. They are tasty and juicy. I often drop in to pick up the over/under& funny fruits to make jam. The farmers like to get contracts to supply wholesalers and supermarkets. The buyers only take a certain size and level of ripeness. The market price depends on supply and demand and sometimes the cost of getting the fruit to the amreky is more than the buying price. However this means they throw out a lot of fruit.
Some years my local strawberry farmers sell extra fruit at markets and do a roaring trade. Not this year. This year has been a good year for strawberry growing but not necessarily for strawberry selling. This year they tell me that they cannot compete with supermarket prices. The time spent at markets trying to sell fruit is better spent back on the farm where there is always something to do. Mrs Farmer says “Next year – no strawberries. Strawberries give me a head ache.”
At Gecko Grove we try to only use local produce. This means we buy fresh and keep down the food miles. So unless the eternal optimism of the farmer kicks on maybe next year – no Gecko Grove Strawberry Jam?