Celebrating 365 Days of California Strawberries

Did you know that  nearly 90 percent of U.S.-grown fresh strawberries come from California, with more than 1.7 BILLION pounds being harvested annually – basically, if California were a country, it would be the world’s largest producer of strawberries!

I recently attended the 365 Days of California Strawberries Farm & Culinary Event and learned about the process of growing, cooking and  celebrating life with strawberries.    We enjoyed over 30 different appetizers and entrees made with fresh California Strawberries and toured a California Strawberries farm.  All our strawberry inspired recipes can be easily made at home.

California Strawberries Beach Side

We started off the festivities with a beachside gathering with strawberry appetizers and main dishes.  We had grilled salmon with fresh strawberry mango salsa , strawberry salad with berry dressing, chocolate dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake.  Two of my favorites dishes were the strawberry gazpacho and strawberry mango salsa.  The gazpacho was light and delightfully sweet.  I also couldn’t resist getting second and third servings of the Mango Salsa with tortilla chips.

 

 

California Strawberries Farm Tour

The following day we headed out to a California Strawberries Farm for a hands on tour of a family owned and operated Strawberry Farm.   We walked through the strawberry fields, learned how to properly pick strawberries, touched and smelled the soil with our bare hands and ate fresh strawberries. We also learned about the hard work, discipline and dedication involved in farming Strawberries.

There are more than 400 strawberry farmers in California, many from multi-generational farming families who grow both conventional and organic strawberries. California grows more organic strawberries than any other place in the world.

Terry & Will Terry (L-R) – Father & Son – Terry Berries Strawberry Farmers

Our favorite multi-generational strawberry farm is Terry Berries Farm, the farm we toured.   Edgar Terry an Oxnard native and farmer was raised by a family that has farmed in Ventura, California since 1890. A fourth generation Californian, Edgar wanted to be a farmer since he was a child.   Edgar runs his family owned business, Terry Farms, Inc., alongside his wife of 29 years, Martha, who handles HR for the company. His son, William, handles the day-to-day farming activities, while his daughter manages employee compliance, hiring and food safety. Edgar’s brother runs the machine shop.  In addition to growing strawberries on 200 acres since 2002, Edgar grows a variety of crops, including celery, peppers, cilantro and spinach on about 2,000 acres of land.

 

California Strawberries Culinary Event

After our California Strawberries Farm tour we celebrated with more Strawberry inspired recipes.  Our specially prepared menu highlights the nutritional benefits and creatively prepared recipe ideas for  cooking with strawberries:

We enjoyed fresh herbs in farms cheese with stuffed strawberries rolled in pecan bacon.  Yes! Bacon.  These yummy appetizers were very savory.  The lacinto kale salad with strawberries, red grapes, spicy candied pecan & blue cheese was my favorite entree.

After enjoying the mountain views  for a couple minutes we enjoyed our next course, grilled chicken tacos with savory strawberry serrano, fire roasted corn, red onions, avocado salsa with ancho cheese.   We also savored a peanut butter, strawberry jam and bacon Kobe slider with waffle fries and strawberry ketchup.  The strawberry ketchup was delicious!

We ended our culinary experience with a strawberry shortcake popsicle and strawberries and ice cream.   It was truly one of the most amazing culinary experiences I have ever attended.  My palette is still dancing!

California Strawberries Nutritional FUN facts

  • Superfruit: 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Low in sugar, with only about 50 calories, strawberries are a great source of fiber, folate and potassium.
  • Stay smart with strawberries: According to a recent study, eating strawberries more than twice a week appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years!
  • Good for your heart: Potassium found in strawberries can help control blood pressure and fight strokes. Plus, antioxidants, fiber and phytochemicals in strawberries have been shown to reduce total cholesterol levels.

 

The next time you buy and eat strawberries, I hope you remember my California Strawberries tour and consider creating nutritional strawberry inspired recipes to celebrate life. Make sure to visit California Strawberries for strawberry recipe ideas & additional tips.

I’m very thankful to California Strawberries for the opportunity to tour a California Strawberries farm and the Terry Family for sharing their love and passion for farming strawberries.

 

 

Disclosure:  I was invited by California Strawberries to tour a California Strawberries Farm.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Question:  What is your favorite strawberry inspired recipe?

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