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Thank you to the California Strawberry Commission for making this post possible. As always my comments, opinions and love for strawberries are my own.
I love strawberries, always have. I ate them nearly every day as a child, and likely every day they were available. I ate them whole, added them to my daily licuado in high school, and topped favorite desserts, like Mexican Cheesecake, Tres Leches Cake and Flan, with them. So I was thrilled to find myself standing in the middle of a strawberry farm for the very first time a couple of weeks ago.
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It was impressive seeing so many rows of green leaves and red fruit in sunny and clear Oxnard, California. I saw acres of strawberries peeking out from between the leaves and flowers, some small, some as big as a ping pong balls, some with short stems and some with long. They all looked appetizing! I simply wanted to walk the rows and devour as many as I could.
Juan Hernández, from Mandalay Berry Farms, welcomed us with a tour and shared interesting facts about the happy berries. (I call them that, because that’s how they make me feel!) At the end of the day, in fact, I liked strawberries even more than before, which I would have thought was impossible beforehand!
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Here are some facts I learned from the pros.
Why Strawberries are Good for You
- One serving of strawberries (8) has more vitamin C than an orange.
- Strawberries are naturally sweet but still low in sugar: only 7 grams.
- A cup of strawberries has just 45 calories and is packed with beneficial antioxidants and nutrients like potassium, folate and fiber. They are also low in sodium.
- The American Diabetes Association identifies berries, including strawberries, as one of the top ten superfoods for a diabetes meal plan.
I could go on and on. To see more facts and information about studies on the benefits of strawberries, be sure to check out CaliforniaStrawberries.com (Health and Nutrition) It’s really fascinating!
Interesting Facts about California Strawberries
- California strawberries are grown year-round!– I had no idea about this!
- They are grown by 400 diverse family farmers, many of them on multi-generation farms.
- 65% of all California Strawberry farmers are of Mexican descent, 20% are of Japanese or other Asian descent, and 15% are of European descent.
- Strawberry pickers are carefully trained in sanitation and safety before they start working.
- Once strawberries are picked, they are packed and shipped out immediately. Probably the last person to touch the strawberries in that container in your fridge was the picker. No middle person here.
One of my favorite moments of my field trip was eating a few berries from the field. They tasted heavenly! He also gave us a few professional tips:
- Always wash strawberries right before you eat them.
- Keep them in the fridge always until one hour before eating them.
- If you want to freeze them, wash them and cut the stems before you do.
At the end of our tour we had a satisfying lunch at Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars which included strawberries, of course! I tried a fantastic strawberry salsa with my steak. I liked it so much I made my own version. Check out my strawberry salsa recipe here.
If you want to learn more about strawberries visit California Strawberries here, follow them on Facebook, Instagram-CAstrawberries and Twitter @CAstrawberries. You can also find interesting information and recipes at Heart of Farmers here. And for more information about fruits and vegetables, please visit Safe Fruit and Veggies right here.
Thanks to Juan Hernandez!