WHAT ARE STRAWBERRIES?
are red cone-shaped fruit with a seed-studded surface. Each berry is
an aggregate fruit comprised of approximately 100 single seeded
fruit. Each seed on the outside of a strawberry is technically a
fruit and must be pollinated separately. The red fleshy part we eat
is the swollen central part of the flower or the peduncle to which
the seeds are attached.
WHERE ARE STRAWBERRIES PRODUCED IN BC?
Strawberries can be grown almost anywhere in the province, from
the Peace River area to southern BC. Most commercial growers are in
the Fraser Valley where the weather is moderated by the Pacific
Ocean. There are also centres of commercial production in Salmon
Arm/North Okanagan and on Vancouver Island.
HOW MANY STRAWBERRIES DO WE PRODUCE?
BC accounts for about one-quarter of the Canadian production of
strawberries. This is over 3 million kg of strawberries worth $6
million. However, Canada consumes far more strawberries than it
produces. The bulk of fresh imports come from California and Florida
with processed imports originating from California, Poland and
HOW ARE STRAWBERRIES PRODUCED?
There are two main types of strawberries grown in BC: June
bearing or short-day and everbearing or day-neutral varieties. The
June bearing varieties initiate their flower buds in the autumn when
the days become shorter. These buds remain dormant until the
following spring when they produce flowers in May and June. The
fruit ripens 4 to 6 weeks after flowering and the harvest season
lasts for most varieties only about 3 to 4 weeks.
Day-neutral varieties will initiate flower buds at any time
during the growing season, regardless of the day length. Thus they
will produce flowers and fruit throughout the growing season.
The most common growing method is the matted row. The plants that
are transplanted out into a field are allowed to produce runners and
daughter plants thereby increasing the plant density and yields.
Matted row plantings are generally planted one year and harvested
for the following 2 or 3 years.
There is an increasing use of the hill row system for growing day
neutral strawberries for the fresh market. In this system, the
transplants are set out at much higher densities and the runners are
kept removed. Generally a black plastic mulch is used to control
weeds and keep the fruit clean by keeping it from contacting the
Strawberries are harvested by hand.
WHAT DOES A STRAWBERRY LOOK LIKE WHEN I USE IT?
Fresh frozen strawberries are popular for short cake and other
deserts. Jam and yogurt are also very popular uses with minor uses
being sauces, toppings and ice cream flavouring. About 75% of the
crop is processed; the rest is sold fresh.
Traditionally, strawberries were mainly eaten fresh during a
relatively short growing season or preserved by freezing or jamming.
More recently, fresh strawberries have been available in BC any
month of the year due to new varieties and advances made in the
growing and shipping of berries both locally and in other areas.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE STRAWBERRY LEAVES THE FARM?
Strawberries destined for the fresh market are picked with the
cap for flower calyx (the small green leaves and stem) attached. On
the larger farms, the fruit is rushed to on-farm coolers to remove
the field heat. Every hour's delay in removing the field heat
results in about a one day loss of shelf life. The fruit is kept
cool until picked up or delivered to the customers. On smaller farms
the fruit is usually not cooled and sold directly to the consumer
for immediate use.
Strawberries destined for processing are picked with the caps
removed and put in re-usable plastic picking trays or flats. Truck
load lots are delivered to the processors for grading, washing,
inspecting and processing by freezing. Strawberries are usually
frozen whole, sliced or as puree. Some berries are packed whole,
individually quick frozen for retail uses.
Some fruit is packaged in retail sized containers of up to one
kilogram. Berries for the food service industry (bakers,
restaurants, caterers, etc.) are packed in up to 13kg sized
containers. Most berries slated for jam, yogurt flavourings and
other products are generally preserved in larger containers (up to
180kg) for manufacturing at a later date.
WHAT CHALLENGES DOES THE STRAWBERRY PRODUCER FACE?
BC growers face stiff competition from berries that are imported.
In order for BC growers to retain their existing and/or expand their
markets, new higher yielding, hardier varieties for the fresh and
processing markets are being developed. New production techniques
are also being developed to extend the fresh market season and to
reduce the per unit cost of production. In order to lead the way in
the reduction of the use of pesticides, considerable research and
development has gone into developing an integrated pest management (IPM)
program which maximizes the use of naturally occurring biological
WHO'S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING STRAWBERRIES?
Field workers and pickers
Processing plant workers
Fertilizer and pesticide company representatives
8 medium strawberries (147g)
||Calories from Fat 0
||% Daily Value*
|Total Fat 0g
|Saturated Fat 0g
|Total Carbohydrate 12g
|Dietary Fibre 4g
|Vitamin A 0%
||Vitamin C 160%
|*Percent Daily Values are based
on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Interesting Fact About Strawberries:
Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits in the world
and per capita consumption is increasing annually. Strawberry is
the most popular yogurt flavour in North America.
- Contacts and other resources:
- BCMAL -
- Fraser Valley Strawberry Growers' Association
- North American Strawberry Growers Association
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