The biggest Ontario strawberry crop in recent history will be peaking just in time for July 1. The innovative practice of using raised troughs allows for strawberries to be grown under protected cover and at waist level for better quality and easier harvesting.
"Not only do we have new growing techniques, but we have 200 growers who can bring local berries to market for an extended season," says Tom Heeman, chair, Berry Growers of Ontario (BGO) in a press release. "That's good news for consumers who may be used to a short season. Ontario-grown field strawberries can be found May through October. And greenhouse-grown strawberries are now available year-round."
New production techniques using covered, raised troughs allow for strawberries to be grown at waist height for easier harvesting and under protective tunnels for better quality. The result is a sweet, high-quality berry that's sheltered from the ravages of rain and wind. Ever-bearing berries pay no heed to day-length and bloom continuously, producing berries from spring to fall. High tunnel protection is also being used to improve the quantity and quality of Ontario raspberries, expected to reach local grocery shelves by mid-July.
Local berries are the right choice for several reasons:
- Environmental benefits from reduced carbon footprint versus imports
- Nutrition benefits beyond antioxidants to improved brain and gut health
- Economic benefits go to local farmers instead of foreign markets.