Strawberries from where nature reigns supreme
Nestled within the Huelva province of southern Spain in the Almonte region – a place known for its delicious and fragrant berries – is a family-run farm where we source some of the very best strawberries from.
This quiet and sleepy area of Spain lets nature reign supreme and is home to the World Heritage listed Doñana National Park – a safe haven and wetland paradise for migratory birds, deer, wild horses and everything in between.
This region has long been synonymous with strawberries and for very good reason; the warm days, sandy soils, cool Atlantic breeze and perfect amount of daylight means the strawberries here can thrive, slowly ripening to become naturally sweet and rich in flavour.
But, while the climate is ideal for strawberry growing, it takes a lot more than that to produce the very best of these organic red gems.
Strawberries are a sensitive bunch; they need to be treated with the utmost care to avoid bruising, can easily succumb to mould if not cared for correctly and tend to attract pest insects who (understandably) want a taste of their delectable fruit. This means only the most experienced of farmers are able to grow strawberries organically because, without the use of herbicides, these problems can be hard to combat and require some out-of-the-box thinking, such as using predator insects to eat pests.
As you approach the vast fields of strawberries on our farm, the first signs of expert love and care become apparent – white polytunnels cover the delicate strawberry plants to protect them from the harsh sun and summer showers.
The air in the fields is filled with the scent of fragrant, rich and sweet strawberries with subtle undertones of lavender, wheat and rosemary which are planted throughout the farm to help keep the predator insects happy and thriving.
Once you delve underneath the large polytunnels, another world appears filled with smiling workers picking each and every strawberry by hand and bright, shallow crates neatly stacked with only the tastiest berries that are ripe and ready.
Many strawberry farmers pick their fruit every seven days as a way to keep costs down but seven days is a long time if you’re a strawberry, which is why we only use berries that are picked every four days. This ensures they are plucked at their prime and have a more consistent taste and colour.
Our in-house Procurement Manager, Tristan Punnett, (and yes, that’s his real surname!) was one of the team responsible for choosing our strawberries after blind tasting multiple different varieties from all over the world.
“You may think a strawberry is a strawberry, but when you start trying them side-by-side the smaller nuances and subtle undertones of flavour really start to stand out,” he said. “We found the strawberries from this region tasted the truest to what a strawberry should be – juicy, pleasantly sweet and fragrant with an unbeatable vibrant red colour.”
Taste the difference for yourself in our juicy Strawberries, Blueberries & Oats pouch.