Well, it’s that time again when we start planting seeds and seedling starts into the moist, warming-up spring soil. Here on Bowen at Grafton Agricultural Commons (The Commons) members of Bowen Island Food Resilience Society (BIFS) and garden volunteers are witnessing an abundance of hardy and healthy strawberry plants.
As Jennifer Cole in edible magazine (No. 83, May/June 2022) writes, “Part of the rose family, strawberries grow wild in the temperate coastal and woodland areas of North and South America. Indigenous populations have traditionally harvested the berry as a fresh food source or used it as a part of a medicinal tea to soothe sore throats.”
Wild strawberries have been enjoyed as part of diets at least as far back as the Neolithic Age, and their popularity has continued around the world. Legend has it that they were first paired with cream in 1509 in a dish prepared for King Henry VIII, and in the 19th century, cultivated strawberries with cream were considered a luxurious dessert in Europe.
Local strawberry-growing season is typically short. The cultivated plants we ‘inherited’ at The Commons produce big, bright red, and oh-so juicy strawberries -- delicious picked fresh and eaten right out of your hand. They can also be easily frozen and eaten year-round.
Aww yes, the power of strawberries… known as heart berries because of their shape, and representing peace and forgiveness. We can all use a little bit more of that.
We invite you to come by the Farmers Market at BICS on Saturday, May 21 between 10 am and Noon to enjoy producers offering locally grown, made and baked foods, and purchase some of these beautiful strawberry plants to place in your own garden.
Check out our community garden and other BIFS initiatives at: www.bowenfoodresilience.ca
Volunteers are welcome, and you can always just drop by the garden to have a tour.