Strawberry season has begun for the farms who grow and sell soft fruit at our farmers markets in London and for you who love to eat them.
Some farm conventionally, some are organic, a couple are biodynamic. And look out for our giant strawberries handing out samples at different locations around London.
If you’ve always taken your strawberries for granted, spare a thought for the growers. It’s not as easy to produce a crop of luscious berries as you may think. Some of our growers waited a long time for enough good weather so that they have a large enough crop to bring to London. Watch Julian Mead talking about his strawberries here
There are amazing varieties of strawberries at all of our markets. Julian Mead from Fiveways Fruit Farm agrees that there is a difference between the fruit sold at farmers markets, and those at supermarkets.
‘With supermarkets there is a certain amount of delay between the time fruit is picked and the time it’s on display. Some stock in the system will be in store, some on lorries, in depots etc. If I was buying blind I’d recognise the product at farmers markets because it’s fresher.'
Growing strawberries isn’t easy. Julian knows that horticulture is a people based industry,
‘We’re only as good as the people we work with, from pickers to planters. With strawberries you’re picking it, packing it, looking after it at market, a set of stages, looking after the fruit. ‘
We used to dislike Elsanta too, until we discovered that the Elsanta grown and sold for supermarkets is a very different beast to the Elsanta at our farmers markets; straight to market really does make a difference. We have many growers and many varieties; do ask what’s on sale and compare for yourselves.
From farm to market, Five Ways fruit is picked the day before; into pack house, it’s weighed, quality checked, and left in their cold store after being allocated to markets. The next day they start at 5.30am to drive to market.
Varieties to look out for this year include;
From Chegworth ValleyMariguetteBuddyRed gloryMalgaFinnessSnow white
FiveWays are growingFlair (early)Centenary ArabellaPrizeSonata and Elsanta
Millets Fruit Farm say;'From the traditional varieties Elsanta , Sonata , Malling Centenury we have 2 new varieties to offer to customers this year. Ever bearers Murano and Price. We always trying to offer something new and different . The reason for choosing these two is - continuously fruiting between June and as far as end November. Lovely fruit , very tasty.'Perry Court Farm are growing;Early Vibrant, Malling Centenary, Christine, Mid season Sweetheart, Alice, Elegance, Symphony, FlorenceEver bearers Finesse, Flamenco and Malling Opal
You'll also see strawberries on other farm stalls including Wild Country Organics, and Berry Hill Farm.
Easter treasure hunts this April at Ealing, Balham, Ladbroke Grove, Swiss Cottage and Wimbledon.
Find out what's at your local market in spring...
Blackheath Farmers Market features in todays story on The Farmers Country Showdown.
We love our winter vegetables. Steamed, buttered sprout tops, braised red cabbage, celeriac mash, roast Jerusalem Artichokes, you're only limited by your imagination!
All of our farmers markets start back this weekend. Some farmers and producers are still away; your market may be a little smaller than usual.