One of the best things about summer aside from longer daylight hours and lots of sunshine is the arrival of fresh local fruits and vegetables. Soon we can start picking our own produce such as strawberries at local farms.
Barrie Hill Farms has been growing strawberries for over 40 years, and they’re getting ready for another juicy year of strawberry picking.
“The normal everyday strawberry everyone is used to is a long-day strawberry. So, the plants I planted through winter will flower because of daylight hours. After June 21st they stop flowering. They’ll be ready for harvest by the end of June early July,” informs Morris Gervais, Owner of Barrie Hill Farms in Barrie.
This season might get a late start considering spring is just sauntering in at a snail’s pace. “It’s going to be late for sure. Near the end of June. It’s still to be determined by the weather,” explains Wendell McArthur, father of Glen McArthur who runs the McArthur’s Berry Farm in Oro-Medonte. The McArthur farm has been in the strawberry business for 43 years.
Thanks to the arrival of the day-neutral strawberry to Ontario in the last 10-12 years, we’ll be able to pick strawberries right through until fall, says Gervais. “We have a continuous supply of fruit right until hard frost comes. Once we open for strawberries at the end of June, we can have strawberries right through until the end of October.”
The day-neutral strawberries are cousin to the long-day strawberries and are often grown in California and Florida. They flower whenever it’s warm, so it doesn’t matter about the daylight.
“As long as it’s warm, it flowers. After it flowers, it has strawberries. They’ll flower in July, and by early August, they’ll bloom. It’ll push out a flower by September and produce fruit by the end of September,” describes Gervais.
Strawberries are packed full of nutrients including fibre, vitamin C, potassium, and folic acid. There’s definitely no shortage of delicious and fast recipes for strawberries. You can eat them on their own, dipped in chocolate, in a smoothie, as a filling in donuts or pies, or as a garnish on cakes, or in salads.
“At Ripe Juicery, we focus on fresh, local and organic ingredients. Strawberries are a favourite on our menu due to their sweet taste and many health benefits. You can find strawberries in our most popular summer juice called QUENCH. This cold pressed juice contains strawberry, watermelon, coconut water, lime, and mint and is the perfect summer refresher. You can also find strawberries in our smoothies, açai bowls, breakfast parfaits and waffles,” says Meghan Muise and Lindsay Haley, Founders of Ripe Juicery in Barrie.
You can fancy up strawberries by also pairing them with cheeses like brie, ricotta, aged cheddar, or smoked gouda. Add a glass of wine to the presentation, and you’ve got an elegant arrangement for a predinner appetizer.
Take it up a notch further, and make strawberry daiquiris, mojitos, sangrias, and a multitude of other cocktails.
McArthur’s Berry Farm, Oro-Medonte
Barrie Hill Farms, Springwater