Strawberries are a small, bright red fruit that are widely loved for their impressive aroma (smell), sweet taste and juicy texture. Strawberries are commonly eaten raw, but may also be used in a variety of culinary preparations such as jams and jellies, pies, ice cream, milkshakes, juice and many more. The strawberry fruit is grown on plants that share the same name. In commercial cultivation most strawberries are grown via a method called plasticulture, in which the plants are grown in raised beds covered in plastic, or in mounded rows. A small proportion of commercial strawberries are grown hydroponically. There are hundreds of varieties of strawberries, but it all started with the first garden strawberry. Let’s find out where this came from.
Where do strawberries originate from?
The strawberry we know today is actually a hybrid of two different species. It was first bred in France and is a cross between a North American species, Fragaria virginiana (commonly called the Virginia strawberry), and Fragaria chiloensis, a species from Chile (common called the beach/coastal strawberry or Chilean strawberry). Before this time many other species were bred and hybridized to form different varieties of strawberries (strawberry cultivation was ongoing in both Europe and Chile from the 1400′s). However, it was the French hybrid that became the strawberry we know and love today.
Where are strawberries grown today?
The largest producer of strawberries is the United States at approximately 1.3 million metric tons. Other large producers are Spain, Turkey, Egypt, South Korea and Mexico (all of which produce more than 200,000 metric tons). The total world production of strawberries is approximately 4.6 million metric tons!
Did you know?
The Chilean strawberry was brought from Chile to France by the French spy Amédée-François Frézier. He posed as a trader and was able to bring back a number of items (along with important information) to France.