Today, Hillary of Mass Audubon welcomes strawberry picking season with some fun trivia:
It's something I look forward to every year. Come mid-June, Massachusetts is bursting with fresh strawberries. Drive along any country road and you will come across stand after stand touting their fresh, juicy, red berries. Sure, you can get strawberries year-round, carted in from halfway around the world, yet nothing compares to one picked fresh from the farm.
Ready to dig in? Before you do, here are some fun strawberry facts from Tia Pinney, teacher naturalist at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln.
1. What's In a name? There are several stories about how the strawberry got its name. One points to the fact that the fruit was picked and strung on straw to sell. More likely, it comes from the Anglo-Saxon name streabergen. Strea (strew) and Bergen (fruit), because they appear to be strewn about on the ground.
2. The berry that wasn't. Regardless of where the name came from, botanically speaking, a strawberry isn't a berry at all. In order to be classified as a berry, the fruit has to have seeds inside like a blueberry or a cranberry. Instead, strawberries have seeds on the outside, and each one of those seeds is technically its own fruit.
3. Start counting. Speaking of seeds, there are approximately 200 seeds on the average strawberry.
4. Back in the day. In the old world, women refused to eat strawberries while pregnant because they believed their children would be born with strawberry birthmarks. At the same time, people once believed that strawberries could cure just about anything from sunburns to loose or discolored teeth.
5. All in the family. Strawberries belong to the Rosacea family, along with apples, almonds, raspberries, and roses.
6. Boston roots. The quest for the perfect strawberry dates back centuries with fruit lovers cross breeding different varieties all across the world. The first commercial American hybrid strawberry, known as the "Hovey," was developed in Boston in 1834.
7. Sweet treats. Think strawberry shortcake is a modern treat? Think again. This delectable summer dessert has evolved from Native American strawberry bread made of mashed strawberries and cornmeal that impressed the colonists so much that it got them dabbling with their own variations.
Learn more about strawberries and pick-your-own during Strawberry Day at Drumlin Farm on Saturday June 22, from 10 am to 4 pm. Come early, picking will take place until 2 pm while supplies last!