The heat has brought out the sweets. It’s that time of the year for fresh-from-the-field, locally grown strawberries from Ontario’s passionate and “berry” special group of farmers. Even though this fruit is available year-round, summertime is the peak harvesting season for the most flavourful strawberries you can get. It’s the best time to enjoy the weather and seek out your own little adventures in the sun. Consider picking your own strawberries at a local farm or pick up a basket of fresh berries from one of the many local farmers we source from. Either way, we have some awesome tips and methods for you to use strawberries in all kinds of fun ways.
The Klyn-Hesselink family are first generation farmers who have been growing delicious, high-quality produce since 1999! Fenwick Berry Farm is located within the heart of the Niagara Peninsula where their wonderful fruits and vegetables are grown in rich, sandy soil. This family farm is run with the utmost integrity and a heavy focus sustainable practices and environmental care. Their strawberries are consistently sweet and feature a delectable aroma than will induce memories of strawberry ice cream and those iconic hard candies with the metallic coloured wrappers.
Dave & Christine, along with their daughters are a shining example of the dedication that exists within the “Canadian spirit”. They provide us with the sweet fruits of their labour and are constantly looking for ways to bring their customers even better produce each year. We are so happy to have them as members of our food family and wish them continued abundance on the farm and in happiness!
Fun Facts About Fenwick Berry Farm:
- You can pick your own strawberries on their farm!
- They use Alyssum Banker plants to reduce pesticide use!
- These plants attract beneficial native insects.
- They keep harmful bugs and pests from hurting their plants.
- They grow other things like raspberries, sweet corn, nectarines, and more!
- Most of their berry plants are planted on raised beds with mulch and straw to reduce the use of herbicides and keep the weeds away.
- Their fruit are watered using a trickle-down drip system that not only conserves, but also efficiently waters at the roots!
Learn more about the farm here: Fenwick Berry Farm – Home of Fenwick Berry Farm
What to do with them.
If you are looking for a farm-to-table experience, consider adding a trip to a local farm onto the weekend’s itinerary. There are so many options in our province that allow you to pick, pay, and bring home fresh produce for a more holistic experience! Between the months of May and October, strawberries are grown and can be harvested from the field at peak sweetness. After frolicking in the fields of strawberries, maybe head to a nice park for a relaxing picnic full of good conversation and tasty eats.
Check out this link for some helpful tips on where to start: Where to Pick Strawberries in Ontario | Ontario Culinary
- Make sure the strawberries are firm and not bruised.
- They should have a pure color and be free of spots.
- The tops should be green and the leaves healthy.
- Be gentle when selecting from the store or picking fresh.
- They should have a sweet smell.
- Pick from the stem without squeezing the berry.
- Avoid wet containers when selecting from your local store or market.
Strawberries can be quite delicate in the sense that they can absorb moisture and soften quite quicky. When storing, take them out of their container and lay them out on a flat surface like a plate or small platter, cover, and refrigerate. If you’re ready to eat them, gently wash, take off the tops, and pat dry with a towel.
Recipes and some ideas!
This versatile fruit can be used in savoury or sweet dishes due to their natural tartness, aroma, and sugar content. Below are some unique ideas to get the most out of the fresh berry season with innovative recipes and some tips to get you started. Don’t be afraid to take a chance with these delicious bundles of joy and incorporate them into your next meal.
Recipe: Very Berry Fruit Salsa
This sweet and tangy salsa can be given a kick of spice with added jalapeno pepper. Have it with our Sea Salt Fattoush Chips or with juicy pork tenderloin medallions hot off the grill! Strawberries will add a nice zing and floral quality to your bite while the sweet fruits create a depth of flavour.
A summer night just isn’t the same without an ooey gooey smore! Take this decadent treat to another level with Chocolate Chip Cookies and fresh bursts of strawberry flavour. Whether cooking in an oven or roasting the marshmallows by the fire, this will surely satisfy your sweet tooth.
A crisp, refreshing drink is the perfect accompaniment to the strong summer heat. This play on a mojito offers the same vibrant flavours of mint and lime, with the addition of fresh aromatic strawberries. Feel free to add sweeteners or other seasonal ingredients to craft your own special sipper!
Strawberries can be stored in the freezer whole or sliced in a freezer bag for easy storage and access. Pre-wash them, dry, and store in your freezer for up to a year. Another way to keep strawberries for a longer period is to turn them into preserves, jam, or jelly. Strawberry preserves are great on toast and are awesome for making quick and tasty desserts. In any way we can, stretching out fresh seasonal strawberries for as long as possible helps us savour the summer for multiple seasons!
Here’s an easy strawberry preserve recipe to get you started: Strawberry Preserve | Growing Chefs! Ontario
- Use them in smoothies or sauces.
- Blend strawberries with a little sugar or honey, juice or water, and freeze in ice-cube trays. Add to sparkling water or cocktails for a nice burst of flavour!
- Thawed strawberries can be used in baked pastries like cakes, muffins, and cupcakes.
- Use strawberry jam, jellies, and preserves to make thumbprint cookies!
- Make flavoured cream cheese with your preserves.
- Pre-made angel food cake shells, whipped cream, and strawberry preserves is an easy way to make individual strawberry shortcakes!
Did you know?
- Strawberries aren’t actually fruit or berries! They are the end of the plants stamen that has begun to flower.
- The leaves of strawberries were used in tea to treat fever by Native Americans.
- Jacques Cartier who is credited with accidentally giving Canada its name, reported siting’s of wild strawberries during a trip along the St. Lawrence River in 1534!
- The black seeds on the strawberries surface are the actual fruit.
- Ancient Romans used them to treat ailments from depression to sore throat.
- Strawberries are grown in every province!