[Market-farming] strawberry flavor

road's end farm organic101 at linkny.com
Sun Feb 13 23:10:43 EST 2005

On Feb 13, 2005, at 10:10 AM, Tradingpost wrote:

> I don't know strawberriy growing, and I'm wondering what they've done 
> to
> make supermarket strawberries so tasteless. Is it the bred varieties 
> or the
> harvesting, fertilizer, or what?

I think it's mostly the varieties. There are some varieties bred for 
large size and very firm berries to stand up to shipping; they're not 
bred for flavor. They've often been picked unripe, too.

Once when I was handing out taste samples at market I had a woman get 
upset. She got strawberry juice on her shirt when she bit into the 
berry and said to me, in a tone of great indignation, "These 
strawberries are *juicy*!" I was baffled and said something like, "well 
yes they're juicy, they're strawberries." (Not great marketing 
technique, I know.) Some time later I bought a pint at the supermarket 
out of sheer curiosity and then I understood. Not only were they 
tasteless, they weren't juicy at all; they were crisp and hard, like an 
unripe apple. She must have been eating those, and thought that they 
were normal.

I did once trial a variety, a year or two after that, that had a 
similar texture and (lack of) flavor, though not quite as bad. I tilled 
them back in; I wouldn't take them to market. Since then I approach 
with great caution any strawberry variety described as "extra firm" or 
"good shipper".

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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