Strawberries are May's Harvest of the Month 
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Strawberries are bright red berries in the Rose or "Rosaceae" family. Their seeds can be found on the outside of the berry. As they grow, strawberries develop "runners," which are simply run-away stems that have developed roots.

Strawberries are normally propagated, or bred, not by seed but by uprooting the "runners" and replanting them. As a strawberry grows, it slowly drops behind the leaves of the plant to act as protection for the fruit - from sunshine and hungry birds and bugs that might spot it from above.
Strawberries are ready to harvest when they easily pop off the stem. You probably know how sweet and juicy strawberries are. Did you know they are chock-full of:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E

• Manganese
• Potassium

One cup of strawberries contains over 100% of your recommended intake of vitamin C! Vitamin C helps your body fight off infections and can help increase the absorption of iron from foods. Strawberries also contain tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
Strawberries are delicious when eaten alone but can also be a wonderful addition to many recipes! They can be blended in smoothies, added to salads, or eaten with yogurt. Here's a recipe for a yummy salad:
Strawberry & Arugula Salad

• 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
• 1 cup arugula leaves
• 2 Tbs nuts, chopped
• 1 Tbs olive oil
• 1/2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
• 1 tsp mustard
On top of the arugula, add sliced strawberries and chopped nuts. In a separate dish, combine olive oil, mustard, and vinegar. Add to salad and enjoy!

In Central Virginia, strawberry season starts in May and ends in early June. Fields are planted in the fall with baby plants, which need to be "mulched" with a covering of hay in order to survive the cold Virginia winters. Once spring arrives and the weather warms, bees and other pollinators help get the strawberries ready for eating. Plants begin to flower, bees will pollinate, and then the center of each flower turns into a strawberry. There are many farms in our area where you can pick your own berries. Check out a list here: http://www.buylocalvirginia.org

From top left clockwise: Two groups of students from Ms. Savoy's 2nd Grade Class at Burnley-Moran enjoying strawberries.  Maurice, Kitchen Manager at Jackson-Via, preparing berries for students. Cate, CSG Board member, volunteering to help delivery berries!

Strawberries - Trivia and Facts


Burnley-Moran student with strawberry
 
TRIVIA OF THE MONTH: “This fruit is in the Rose Family and its white and yellow flower has five petals and many stamen. Its seeds are on the outside of the fruit and when you bite it in half, it is red all the way through."
  • Strawberries can be found growing in the wild, however they may be hard to spot because the wild version is much smaller than ones in the garden and on farms.
  • Strawberry plants spread via above-ground "runners," which are simply run-away stems that have developed roots. 
  • Strawberries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and carry many anti-inflammatory properties.
 

Fresh local strawberries sourced from the Local Food Hub! Delish!
Strawberries - Heritage Information
Abigail Sandberg
Strawberries are a unique and wonderful fruit with complex origins and history. But what kind of fruit is a strawberry? Instinct would tell us that a strawberry is a berry, however, this tasty fruit cannot be called a true berry, like blueberries or even grapes. 

Fun Fact #1: bananas  cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes, pumpkins, avocados and watermelons are also considered berries. The true definition of a berry is a simple fleshy fruit consisting of a single ovary with multiple seeds. True berries have the seeds on the inside. 

Strawberries have a long history dating back to 234 B.C. when they grew wild in Italy. In fact, the ancient Romans thought strawberries had medicinal powers and used them to treat everything from depression and fainting to fever, kidney stones, bad breath, and sore throats. Europeans discovered the Virginia wild strawberry in Virginia in 1588, however Native Americans had been eating them long before the settlers arrived.

To learn more 
about the heritage of strawberries, go to Abigail Sandberg's blog as part of the Virginia Food Heritage Project. There is so much to learn! 

 

 
Harvest of the Month is a program that highlights a locally available crop each month by providing a fresh, healthy snack in all six Charlottesville Elementary Schools. Students also learn about the crop in their schoolyard garden and classroom. Information on growing, nutrition, and preparation of the crop is shared with teachers and families. The goal of Harvest of the Month is to support healthy living skills that strengthen our youth and community. 

It takes a community to make Harvest of the Month happen! City Schoolyard Garden is grateful to work in collaboration with Charlottesville City SchoolsLocal Food Hub, and Charlottesville Move2Health. Supported with funds through the Thomas Jefferson Health District of the Virginia Department of Health and other generous donors.

                                 

    Donate to keep Harvest of the Month growing!

City Schoolyard Garden is an independent, non-profit organization and your tax deductible donation makes a difference. Join us investing in our children's future, and providing them with a foundation for learning about health, nutrition, sustainability, and community. Click on the apple to donate or send a donation to our address below. Thank you!
P.O. Box 5285, Charlottesville, VA 22905
 
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