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Day-Neutral Berries Extending Chatham-Kent’s Season

on July 4 | in Kim Cooper | by | with No Comments

I have not met anyone who does not enjoy a fresh, locally grown strawberry. Those red delicious berries bring back memories of going to the fields with my mother so she could make strawberry jam.

Local foods such as asparagus and rhubarb have hit our markets, and now’s the time for the famous strawberry to hit the market stands. There is nothing like eating a fresh Chatham-Kent grown strawberry.

Did you know there are over 600 varieties of strawberries in the world? Their history dates back over 2,000 years, with records showing a number of native varieties in many parts of the world.

The Ontario Berry Growers Association (www.ontarioberries.com) is a provincial organization which represents strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, cranberry and other berry growers by funding industry promotion and research activities. All facets of the berry industry (wholesale, retail, pick-your-own, and roadside market) are represented by the Ontario Berry Growers Association (OBGA).

Their voluntary membership is approximately 200 growers who produce 80 per cent of the berry crops grown in Ontario. The current estimated farm gate value for fresh berries is in excess of $30 million.

The purpose of the OBGA is to foster, encourage, and promote all activities for the advancement of the berry industry in Ontario; and to foster, encourage, and promote better cultural/harvesting and marketing practices through research and extension, and through variety rights and patents. Strawberries contain a large amount of antioxidant, anticancer, anti-neurodegenerative, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Strawberries are an excellent source of dietary fiber and Vitamins C and K. They are a very good source of manganese, pantothenic acid, vitamin B1, and iodine. They are a good source of folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B6.

One of the previous drawbacks of the strawberry season was that it was too short. But now we have day-neutral strawberries. These types of strawberries will blossom and set fruit no matter how long or how short the days. This means we can now enjoy Chatham-Kent strawberries from May to October. This also means our growers are able to compete for a longer period of time with imported strawberries.

So now is the time to go out and pick your own or buy some delicious and nutritious Chatham-Kent grown strawberries at many of our local produce stands, markets, and stores. Thank you for continuing to support our local producers. It’s good for you, knowing you are eating fresh and nutritious foods, and is great for our local economy.

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Think about this – Man’s way leads to a hopeless end, but God’s way leads to an endless hope.

Just some food for thought

Here in Chatham-Kent ‘WE GROW FOR THE WORLD’. Check out our community’s agricultural website at: www.wegrowfortheworld.com

Kim Cooper has been involved in the agribusiness sector for over 40 years. He can be reached at: kim.e.cooper@gmail.com

You can also follow him on Twitter at ‘theAGguy

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