Beyond Chicago: Let me take you down where I’m going to…Strawberry Fields!


I actually already went last month, but the pictures below can hopefully help take you there. The location was in the beautiful Monterey of California blessed with good soil, ever-present sun and cool ocean air. I flew in as one of the 5 chosen bloggers in the country to learn about everything strawberry and I came home wanting to take my family with me to experience the same glorious trip I had. One day!

We started our strawberry trip by visiting 3rd generation strawberry grower Rod Koda of Shinta Kawahara Farm. The farm has 27 acres that is considered small according to Koda. From there I learned that the most common variety of strawberry are Albions (more conical ) and although there are a lot of different kinds, they are never sorted out by varieties like most fruits such as apples.

Rod Koda, Shinta Kawahara Farm
Albion strawberries
bug vac

 

After the farm we headed to Berry Chill where newly harvested strawberries are taken. The big chiller is set at 33F degrees and prepped and packaged to grocery stores. It takes about 5-6 hours from the strawberries to travel from the field to the chiller then to the grocery stores.

at the chiller

Registered Dietitian also an Illinoisan Dave Grotto was also there to talk about nutrition. He mentioned that there is a “call to action to ramp up produce” and we also learned that 8 strawberries is equal to 50 calories. Did you know that frozen strawberries are as nutritious as the fresh ones? Yes, that’s what he also said.

Dave Grotto of Nutritional Housecall (Photo from Ca Strawberries FB)

With more than 500 growers in Monterey region, it is a good thing that the Strawberry Commission is there to provide communication in Food Safety such as Best Practices in handling strawberries and even important issues like how an outbreak can affect the industry. And although it is only voluntary for growers to join the commission’s programs, California Strawberries said that about 85% of growers participate.

Andy Kramer, California Strawberry Commission (Photo from Ca Strawberries FB)

I have to mention that there were also many cooked strawberry infused meals and desserts that were had in this tour. And although it didn’t make it on this article, each of the bloggers coming from 5 different regions will be hosting our own Strawberry Events with Dave Grotto to share lots of strawberry stories, food, and cocktails with friends. Thank you to the California Strawberry Commission for flying me out all the way in California to see the many wonders of strawberries. Airfare and accommodations were all provided by the California Strawberries.

Bloggers: L-R Sugar Jones, Niri, Me, Carol, and Holly - Each at the top of their field 🙂 HAH! (Photo from Ca Strawberries FB)

Make sure to check out the other bloggers who were part of this tour:

San Diego – Sugar Jones

Boston – Nirasha Jaganath

New York – Carol Cain

Texas – Texas Holly

And of course, Dave Grotto of Nutritional Housecall.

MJ Tam

Head Chicagonista, Co-host of the Chicagonista LIVE! show, Founder of Women Driving Excellence. MJ is also the annual host of SocialRevUp - Brands & Bloggers Summit (#bbsummit) attended by about 200 professional high-profile bloggers nationwide. Follow MJ on Twitter: @mjtam

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