Fresh Ontario Strawberries
Come visit us at Reesor’s Farm Market – 10825 Ninth Line, Markham, Ontario (at Elgin Mills Road). Strawberries are one of our feature crops here at the farm, along with sweet corn.
From mid June to early July, you can enjoy the unparalleled taste of juicy, ripe Ontario strawberries, fresh from the field. We offer them ready picked at our Farm Market or you can Pick Your Own.
How to Select and Store Your Strawberries
- Berries spoil quite quickly after they are picked. Our berries are picked fresh each day, but day old berries are sometimes available at a reduced price, perfect for immediate consumption or for making jams and jellies.
- Choose deep red berries. It is the colour, not the size that determines how sweet the berries will be. Green berries will not ripen after they are picked.
- Store your strawberries with their stems on in a shallow, covered container in your fridge. Wash the berries and remove their stems just before eating.
(Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: When do you plant strawberries?
A: Strawberries are planted in the spring when the soil is warm and the land can be worked without it being too muddy. In our part of Ontario this usually occurs in early May. Strawberry plants are dug from existing plantations and are planted in the new field.
Q: When do strawberry plants begin to produce berries?
A: The newly planted plants will produce fruit the same year that they are planted. It is common practice, however, to remove the flowers from the plants the first year that they are planted. This encourages the plant to put its energy into producing more runners and other plants. These then will produce fruit in June of the following year.
Q: Why do you put straw around the plants?
A: The straw is placed over the plants in late fall. It has many uses for the strawberry crop.
- It helps to protect the plants from the cold temperatures during the winter.
- It helps to maintain the soil moisture essential for optimal production during the growing season.
- It provides a soft mat for pickers to kneel on during harvest.
- It helps to smother out weeds.
- It keeps the fruit from coming in direct contact with the soil, therefore keeping it cleaner.
Q: Are these strawberries sprayed?
A: This is often asked by pickers in our fields during harvest. We do not spray the strawberries or the plants during harvest with chemical pesticides. In the spring we usually apply an insecticide for an insect called tarnish plant bug. If uncontrolled this insect can ruin a crop of berries. It leaves them seedy and misshapen.
Q: What happens to the plants after the strawberries have been picked for the season?
A: The berry plants are mowed off just above ground level immediately after harvest. Weed killers may be applied. Fertilizer is often applied at this time which encourages healthy plants. At this time of year the plants are sending out new runners and therefore making new plants too. In order to keep the plants in rows, a roto-tiller is used to narrow up the rows and work up the soil in the row middles.
Q: For how long will a planting of strawberries produce fruit?
A: It is not uncommon to maintain a planting of strawberries for four or five years. As the planting ages, however, the berries get smaller and weeds become harder to contend with. On our farm we plan to keep a planting for two or three years.
Our Pick Your Own strawberry fields are now closed for 2016.
In Season June 2016
10825 Ninth Line, Markham, ON L6B 1A8
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