The “Celebrate Strawberry Season” campaign organized by Bord Bia in partnership with the Irish Soft Fruit Growers Association and the Irish Farmers Association, which is in full swing, celebrates the country’s most popular fresh fruit.
He also encourages people to incorporate Bord Bia guaranteed quality strawberries into their daily diet as a naturally sweet and healthy fruit option.
The legacy of streets and parishes across Ireland is often reflected in the place names they have acquired over the centuries.
Strawberries, which continue to tickle the taste buds of Irish consumers, are no exception and many places are named after the juicy fruit mentioned in ancient Roman literature for its medicinal benefits.
Strawberry Hill in Cork owes its name to the time, over 200 years ago, when its rolling slopes connecting Blarney Road to Sunday’s Well Road were abundantly planted with strawberries which were considered to be the best in the city.
And in Dublin, the Strawberry Beds, on the northern banks of the Liffey between the villages of Chapelizod and Lucan, are so called because of the fruits once grown and sold along the route.
This tradition of roadside strawberry sales, as well as sales in stores and farmers’ markets, continues across the country each summer.
A study by Kantar Worldpanel for Bord Bia shows that Irish households spend 120 million euros per year on fresh strawberries.
The volume and value of sales have increased by 50% in recent years.
Over 1,000 people are normally employed in industry and the total retail market was valued at 91 million euros in 2920.
This exceeds 100 million euros if we take into account road sales.
Minister of State for Planning and Biodiversity Pippa Hackett recently visited Green’s Berry Farm in Wexford to welcome the start of the season.
“By seeking out quality guaranteed Irish seasonal produce, we are supporting Irish producers, Irish jobs and making a big contribution to the Irish economy,” she said.
“We also get quality food that has been produced and delivered to the highest standards with minimal impact on the environment. ”
Strawberries are beloved nationwide for their distinctive sweet taste, but they also have many nutritional benefits.
Bord Bia says enjoying locally grown strawberries at any mealtime occasion is a great way to get people to reach the recommended intake of five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day as part of a healthy diet. .
Incorporating a single serving (approx. 80 g) of strawberries in meals or as a snack provides almost 100% of the daily requirement for vitamin C, which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and reduces fatigue and fatigue.
Bord Bia says eating strawberries is a fantastic way to hydrate naturally. They also contain fiber, contributing to the overall functioning of the digestive system.
“Strawberries are also a versatile and tasty ingredient to include in many sweet or savory meals and can be simply washed and chopped for a treat,” he says.
“These are delicious fruits to enjoy as a snack or as a central ingredient in many dishes – strawberries are the breakfast hero; add punch and sweetness to a fresh salad recipe; and enhance summer desserts with an explosion of flavor.
Traditionally, Irish strawberry production has been based on the fields, with the harvest concentrated in the June-July period.
Most of the harvest was destined for low value processing.
While production still peaks in the summer, producers have made significant investments in their farms to extend the season.
They produce high-quality fruit from early April to mid-November, largely using protective polyethylene-based growing structures.
Teagasc says most strawberries are now grown under cover, using tunnels or greenhouses.
This made it possible to extend the season with high quality strawberries available from March to November.
It also allows strawberries to be grown in almost any part of the country, providing a great opportunity for growers to supply their local market.
Most of the work is seasonal. It provides local jobs and scores high on sustainability.
At least 8,000 tonnes of fresh strawberries are produced by some 57 producers each year and are mainly sold and consumed in Ireland, where they have always been considered healthy and nutritious.
The ancient Romans also used strawberries as remedies for fever, bad breath, intestines, sore throats, depression, fainting and blood diseases and as toothpaste substitutes because the juice helped clean discolored teeth. .
Cultivation methods in Ireland have become very advanced in terms of sustainable agriculture. The number of greenhouses used is increasing every year.
For early crops, a modern greenhouse is considered essential, where the environment is controlled by sophisticated computer technology.
A large area of strawberries is also cultivated under tunnels, which can be designed for areas more exposed to the wind.
The largest proportion of fresh Irish strawberries is supplied to several Irish retailers and wholesalers.
Local in-store sales, farmers’ markets and roadside sales are also important outlets.