Ed. — Archived in June 2019.
BY J.D. WILSON
VIRGINIA BEACH — Oh, the glorious strawberry.
I suspect it will be a question on the test for gaining citizenship in the future.
Do you like strawberries? Only a yes will get you in the country.
The health benefits of eating strawberries are quite remarkable. I know you don’t need the details because – just give us some strawberries, already.
A little whipped cream or ice cream is good, but neither is necessary. A perfectly ripe strawberry is enough all by itself.
The first and foremost health benefit is joy, pure unadulterated joy.
It is well known, scientifically researched, most certainly somehow documented somewhere that joy, happiness and pleasure impart many, many health benefits.
Pardon me while I wipe the saliva from my keypad.
So. A few specifics are in order.
Strawberries are one of the top fruits for containing antioxidants. Dietary research suggests eating food rich in antioxidants may help protect against some diseases, according to the National Institutes of Health.
They do all that work behind the scenes to keep me healthy. When we consume more fruits and veggies, risks of various diseases may go down.
Eating more strawberries also gives me glorious hair, glowing skin and better looking toenails. I might have made that last part up, but its possible. You look better and you are more healthy.
What does this tell you? Eat more strawberries.
Some aspects of the strawberry have long scientific names – like quercetin, which has antioxidant properties and may help fight some diseases.
Knowing these names doesn’t do anything for me. Especially when I am engaged in eating a ripe strawberry. Do you want to experience being completely in the moment? Like the sages of old say, be here now and all that.
Eat strawberries. You won’t care if there is quercetin in them or what is happening tomorrow. You will be biting down on the juicy, red, ripe, sweet love of a strawberry, and nothing else matters.
They are an excellent source of vitamin C, and the potassium content in strawberries is also high. One cup of berries has about 230 milligrams of potassium. That is enough K to help keep your heart healthy.
Does it surprise you that a strawberry looks a little like a heart? It is no coincidence. Eat more strawberries and have a healthier heart.
Sorry, but there is a little bad news. The Environmental Working Group publishes a list of the most heavily sprayed fruits and veggies each year called “The Dirty Dozen.” Strawberries always make the list.
The group suggests you buy organic strawberries, and they are hard to come by. However, the benefits of eating conventionally grown berries – using chemicals – outweigh the risks. And when you buy from local family farmers, you can always ask questions.
Strawberries have been bred and selected over time for bigger, sweeter and redder berries. There is always a tradeoff. They are more finicky to grow now relying on more interventions to keep them alive.
I grow my own using organic methods. You have to know what you are doing, but it’s not too hard.
It’s also important to note that I eat my neighbors’ berries, too. Quite happily.
I will do anything necessary to have the season of the strawberry each spring. And I always freeze some for later.
I guess you have figured out that I love those strawberries. And celebrating them is easy to justify, like we do here in Pungo at the annual Pungo Strawberry Festival.
Pardon me, but I have some ripe berries outside calling my name. See you later, and I won’t apologize for the red streak down my chin and into my beard.
Wilson, a farmer and consultant who lives in Sigma, writes about sustainable agriculture for The Independent News. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2019 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC