Monday, May 11, 2009

Fresh Strawberries

For many it just wouldn’t be springtime without fresh strawberries. Most producers at farmers markets sell out quickly, as folks arrive early when strawberries come in. Every family has a favorite recipe for strawberry short cake. There are so many ways to easily prepare and enjoy strawberries. Maybe the best way is to just eat fresh strawberries all by themselves. Paul Williams of Jones Orchard of Millington, Tennessee had fresh strawberries Saturday at Memphis Farmers Market. I saw him again today at their Pick Your Own strawberry field at Agricenter International. This field of strawberries is located close the Memphis Area Beekeepers Association’s apiary. You can’t have strawberries without bees for pollination.

Produce growers and beekeepers are keenly aware of the need for effective pollination of many crops. We regularly hear of difficulties experienced by growers who don’t have enough bees to pollinate their crops: beans that didn’t set fruit, misshapen cucumbers, watermelons, or strawberries, the complete failure of a pumpkin crop. For many there is now a greater awareness of the role of bees, especially honey bees, in the production of our food. To protect the environment and the bees we need to increase habitat available for insect pollinators, increase plant diversity, and avoid the overuse chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. We don’t want a spring without fresh strawberries. Be sure to visit Jones Orchard’s web site, Honey bees help them produce some mighty fine fruit. They make some great jams, jellies, relishes, and cakes as well.

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