Where did strawberries come from?

Tangent: The amazing strawberry – love them fresh from the garden, but they’re only around from June through late July, typically (in Western MA).  So where did strawberries come from? California strawberries, sometimes the size of small apples, are available year-round.  Here’s some tid-bits from a very thorough article:

“… Humans have two sets of each chromosome. Strawberries have eight. …”

“… “This year we’ve got 300 million [Albion plants] in California,” Shaw says. “Every one traces back to one seed on one berry in history that could have gotten stuck in your teeth.” …”

“… The way strawberry plants produce clones is both their commercial strength and weakness. It means once you have a great product, you can mass produce it. But if one plant succumbs to disease, they all fall. …”

Here’s where it gets ugly:

“… Strawberry farming in California is highly mechanized. Before planting, every field is fumigated, often with methyl bromide. It’s a toxic, ozone-depleting gas that kills everything down to 2.4 metres – weeds, fungi, bugs …” NOTE: Methyl Bromide is an internationally banned chemical see http://www.epa.gov/Ozone/mbr/ – the loophole is “the Critical Use Exemption (CUE), designed for agricultural users with no technically or economically feasible alternatives.”

Regarding the cooling of the strawberries to preserve them
“… He yanks open a door to the plant’s thousand-horsepower back-up generator. Running full-tilt, it can produce 700,000 watts – enough to power three neighbourhood blocks in Toronto.

That box of California strawberries requires a lot of energy. …”

“… After cooling, the next step is Techtral treatment. That’s strawberry talk for carbon dioxide. The pallet including Qundeel’s berries is wrapped in plastic and sealed. Then, the oxygen is sucked out and replaced with 15 per cent carbon dioxide. …”

I recently got 75 plants some seasonal, mostly everbearing.  Not planning to use methyl bromide or install a generator, but I’m wondering what it would take to grow them over the winter, and if my cool (60-65 degree) indoor growing area will be enough to have them flower and grow.  Probably not enough to keep off the “store boughts’ initially – but if I can stem the flow, I’m sure my kids’ ‘d be more healthy because of my efforts.

TheStar.com | Insight | A strawberry’s journey: From West to feast .

See the responses to this article, too at thestar.com

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