Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Strawberries 2011

It's time to rehash a post from January 2010. Here's what I wrote then:
True winter strawberries (rather than those imported from a warmer clime) are a rare and precious commodity. They look pretty ordinary, but they are the most amazingly sweet strawberries we have ever tasted.

When we took the Tanaka Farms CSA family day tour, Glenn Tanaka told us that the first crop of strawberries in the season are his favorite. They plant strawberries in October/November. By the end of December, the first strawberries ripen. Winter berries are the smallest and sweetest strawberries the plant will ever produce.

They mature more slowly due to the cold weather and shorter days. There are only a few, not enough for commercial harvest. Glenn says he and the rest of the TF family love to walk the fields then, searching for strawberries under the leaves and eating them right away.

By January, there are a bit more--enough to share with the CSA families. Last week, we received two pints of these ambrosial berries in our CSA box. In February-March, when the days get warmer and longer, the plants go into full-scale production. They can pick the plants every few days because the berries grow and ripen so quickly. They will also be bigger, but they will never be as sweet and precious as those early season jewels.
Last Fall, Glenn Tanaka had difficulty finding strawberry starts. I would link to his blog posts from that time period about that, but his blog appears to keep only recent entries. The delay in finding strawberry starts and the October rains meant that he planted a month late this year. Shift the time scale from the 2010 story back a month.

That means the strawberry plants has started to bear fruit, but not in CSA quantities, in January. CSA subscribers will start getting strawberries in their boxes in February.

In reviewing his expenses last year, Farmer Tanaka realized that CSA delivery costs were putting him in the red. In 2011, he needs to strictly enforce his 10 box minimum in order to maintain delivery to a group.

Adams and Lincoln will both offer biweekly deliveries, on the same Thursdays of each month. That will help keep the farm expenses to a sustainable level and reduce the carbon input of your food.

Due to problems with the Farm2TableConnect system, both Lincoln and Adams are moving back to the old paper ordering system. If we don't make the 10 box minimum, then we all don't get our strawberries. :-(

Don't delay, download the February order form now.

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