Farmers Market Fresh Item
Week 8: Strawberries
All About It:
Sweet. Juicy. Perfect for desserts. Or just to eat on their own. There’s no better sign that summer has arrived in Minnesota than when strawberries are ready to pick.
Due to our northern climate and short growing season, not much fruit is grown in Minnesota. But strawberries are a welcome exception. Just remember, if you do grow your own strawberries, your plants will need full sun in order to produce fruit. One rule of thumb is that strawberries will be ready to pick about four weeks after the plants flower.
But if you’re not careful, your strawberry plants can take over your yard. One plant can produce 120 daughter plants in one season. Runners are new growths that branch out from the original plant. Cutting the runners or pressing them into the ground can keep them from growing where you don’t want them. If you’re worried about the amount of work this will involve, you could just grow them exclusively in containers too. But because they grow so thick, they can effectively be used as a ground cover plant.
If you love the idea of having fresh strawberries to eat next year too, you can also try to help your plants survive the winter. Just cover them in 4 to 6 inches of mulch or straw in the fall once the temperatures are regularly below 40 degrees. Then come springtime, just delicately rake the straw away from your plants.
Chicken and Strawberry Salad
Strawberries and Cream Mini Muffins
Fresh Food Links:
MFMA: Find a Farmers' Market Near You
University of Minnesota Extension: Growing strawberries in Minnesota gardens