Food for Thought

Picking Some Strawberry (Facts)

Strawberries are among the most popular wild fruits enjoyed worldwide. While its name may have “berries,” it is not really a berry per se, but an aggregate accessory fruit in a botanical point of view. The strawberry —like blackberry and raspberry— is a complex fruit, meaning it comes from a plant with many ovaries. On the other hand, regular berries are known as simple fruits formed from flowers with only one ovary, such as grapes.


There’s no shame in being oblivious to this, however, you have to admit that it’s pretty cool. Since it’s International Strawberry Day, we’re about to get to all the sweet and juicy facts of the fruit.

Where it began

It was in 1840 when the garden strawberry was first bred in Brittany, France, by crossing a Gragaria virginiana from North America, with a Gradaria chiloensis from Chile. The former was noted for great flavor and the latter known for its large size. According to recent records, last 2016, the world production of strawberries was 9.2 million tonnes, led by China with 41% of the total.

Illustration of King Charles V, courtesy of royalcentral.co.uk.

Even before that, in the 14th century, the French started taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest. From 1364 to 1380, the late king of France, Charles V, owned 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 15th century, western European monks were using wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts.

Sweet scent, sweeter health benefits

Stop and smell the strawberries! This wonder fruit is considered a member of the rose family. No wonder they give off a sweet fragrance as they grow on bushes. And the medicinal uses aren’t too shabby either. Did you know that an entire strawberry plant was used to treat depressive illnesses? Sort of like a happy pill.

Ancient Romans believed strawberries have medicinal powers, and modern science has proven so. While the strawberry looks an awful lot like the heart, research on its antioxidant content provides strong evidence on its ability to lower risk of cardiovascular disease. It is also perfect for diabetics since strawberries improve regulation of blood sugar based on the findings from recent consumption studies. Especially following consumption of a meal, scientists have found better regulation of insulin and blood sugar levels in connection with strawberry intake.

When and where to get them locally

La Trinidad Strawberry Farm in Baguio, photo courtesy of Joey Razon for the Philippine News Agency.

Picking fresh strawberries is one of the most awesome experiences on the outskirts of Baguio. There are strawberry farms located in the nearby town of La Trinidad, Benguet, about less than 10 km. away or 30 minutes of travel time from the center of the summer capital. The strawberry picking season is from November to May.

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