The strawberry... yum!!! Most everyone's favorite part of this time of year. The sweetest of berries are easy to get a hold of, and satisfy the sweet tooth for many. They are consumed fresh, frozen and offered as toppings on a favorite dish or blended to sweeten those protein and veggie smoothies. They are a sign of summer...of easier days ahead of us when we relax and vacation. They are a staple for every occasion from late spring through summer.
Everyone knows that oganic fruits and vegetables are supposed to be better for you. But not everyone is convinced of such, rather still suspicious of the ploy to demand higher prices instead. Sadly, there is/was some validity to that - hence the crackdown on obtaining the organic certifications in farming today. But what is even more sad is that we are starting to see our organic farms being tainted by airborne chemicals from neighboring fields. Organic foods may not always be totally free and clear of harmful chemicals, so proper cleaning is still recommended if you purchase your organic products from a market. Strawberries are especially at risk to ingest airborne pollutants as they are the most poreous of fruits, making them more vulnerable to their environment. Additionally, even organic berries are picked while still green, and are flooded with ethylene gas during transportation so that they are red upon delivery to the markets.
How to avoid all this? Grow your own. If you can't, get LOCAL fresh berries along with your other produce. Farmers markets are a great start, or simply go online to see if you have any organic berry farms in your region. Ask the farmers if they are near a conventional crop and if so, what are they doing to protect their organic crops.
Once you locate a source, stock up!!! You can literally get gallons of fresh, ready to eat strawberries and freeze them for use later. This can help to reduce your purchase of berries in the market, where there is still uncertainty of the fruit's cleanliness.
Learn more about strawberries and the risky tales involved.
For Mother's Day this past weekend, we ventured out to pick strawberries from a local farm here in the Nashville area. We picked about 10 gallons, enjoyed some and froze the rest. Reminiscing on the days when my mom would take us berry picking in the summer, and educating my son on farming and foods more, it was a great day doing both something we all love, but promoting healthy habits.
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