Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

THING 80: Harry's Seascape Strawberries


Strawberry farmers are always on a quest to build a bigger and better strawberry. In strawberry terms, what that means is they want the perfect everbearing strawberry - one that produces a large amount of fruit for a long amount of time.

Seascape berries were birthed at the University of Davis and they are an extremely productive variety of strawberry, and even better than that, have a very good flavor. Seascape berries are particularly suited to California, but will grow especially well in any cool region with a warm micro-climate.

Not only is the berry one of the better berries for commercial growing and selling, but this year, researchers at Purdue have discovered that it may be able to go into space with astronauts. In attempting to discover which produce might be cultivated on a space shuttle, it was determined that Seascape berries require little maintenance or energy, are not sensitive to the amount of daylight available. In fact, what they found with the Seascape was that with half the light, the plant yielded lesser amounts of berries, but each berry was bigger, such that no volume was lost overall. The plants are small, and the berries are easy to grow and consume with little waste. Total space berries.

At the Farmer's Market in Los Angeles, the place to get these berries (and others) is Harry's Berries. Harry's Berries is a family farm in Oxnard that has been growing strawberries since 1967. Harry Iwamoto was from a farming family that went back generations in Japan. He moved to the U.S. in the late 1950s and worked as a gardener until he was able to move to Oxnard and begin the farm, which grew strawberries from the start. They started with a roadside stand and a wholesale business, but various circumstances caused them to scale down their operation and now they focus on specialty varieties of both strawberries and other fruits and vegetables, which they sell at farmer's markets. Harry unfortunately passed away while they were moving to the smaller field, but his daughter and her husband still run the farm today.

Harry's sells berries at Farmer's Markets from Montecito to Torrance, and they are in at least one market and usually more every day of the week.

They sell two varieties of strawberry: Gaviotas and Seascapes from February through August, with maybe a small amount other times of the year, with spring being the peak. Gaviotas are sweeter strawberries, perfect for buying and eating straight away. Seascapes are more acidic but sturdier and are perfect for baking as well as eating.

Harry's also sells beans and tomatoes when they have them and processed foods made with their products: preserves, juice, and salsa.

Be warned that at peak season these specialty berries are much more expensive than what you would find in the store. But for a special treat they are worth it. Juicy and delicious, but not too sweet they are great for eating alone and even better for baking in a tart.

To find out when Harry's Berries will be at a market near you, visit their website at: http://www.harrysberries.com.

1 comments:

i love it

said by tom at 11:00 AM Delete

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