Maui’s Kula Sweet Strawberries – image courtesy of Tasting Hawaii with Moloka’i Chef James Temple
According to NationalDayCalendar.com, today, May 20th is National Pick Strawberries Day:
“May 20th annually celebrates a sweet and tasty holiday, as National Pick Strawberries Day. There is something special about the taste of a strawberry picked straight off of the vine.
Strawberry picking time is normally between late April and through out the summer, depending on what part of the United States you live in. When harvesting strawberries, you want to look for the bright-red, firm and plump ones.
- Strawberries are members of the rose family
- Strawberries are the only fruit with their seeds on the outside
- Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C
- Strawberries are low-fat, low in calories and a good source of fiber, folic acid and potassium
- Strawberries can help fight bad cholesterol and may reduce inflammation
- The first strawberries were grown in France in the late 18th century. Prior to the 18th century, wild strawberries were collected and commonly used as a fruit source.
Enjoy some freshly picked strawberries!”
Which had me wondering whether Hawaii has the proper climate to grow strawberries, as personally, I’ve never known nor seen anyone here growing them. As it turns out, in Hawaii, you can indeed grow (and in turn pick) strawberries!
Check this out, according to Moloka’i Chef James Temple:
“California is the leading producer of strawberries in the nation, and most of these berries come from the Salinas and Watsonville area. Having lived near Salinas, I am very familiar with these large red strawberries. They were dirt cheap and delicious because they were locally grown and picked ripe. Fortunately Hawaii produces its own strawberries. These strawberries are not picked until all of the sugar has developed into the fruit when they are ripe and sweet. It wasn’t until I moved to Hawaii that I realized I had never really tasted great strawberries. It must be the clean air, temperature, aloha, something. Hawaii grown strawberries are packed with intense strawberry flavor. Here on Moloka’i and everywhere else in Hawaii, strawberries can be found in grocery stores and open markets. Unfortunately Moloka’i’s two main grocery stores both carry California strawberries, which by the time they reach our store shelves are already starting to rot. Lately I have been buying my strawberries from Gene Ferguson, a local pilot who runs Kukui Air here on Moloka’i. He has flights to Maui every week and picks up strawberries to sell at our farmers’ market on Saturday morning. His prices are about the same as what our grocery stores are charging, but the quality is much better.
Waimea, on the island of Hawaii, is the main producer of strawberries in the State, and is known for having large and especially sweet strawberries. One food blogger put it this way “If you haven’t eaten Waimea strawberries, you haven’t quite lived yet. They are so sweet, they taste like perfume!” One of my favorite local strawberry farms is on the island of Maui, Kula Country Farms. They produce a year-round crop of these delicious berries on their 55 acre farm, and sell about a thousand cases a week. You can find their Kula Strawberries at their farm stand located past mile marker 13 on Kula Highway across from Rice Park. Call them at (808) 878-8381 or visit http://www.kulacountryfarmsmaui.com/. Tip: bring cash, they don’t take credit cards. Another strawberry farm in Kula, on Maui, is Coca Farms. They grow a variety of strawberry called “camarosa”. The fruit from this variety is very large and firm and holds up well in rainy weather. Also the Noel Escobedo Farm, shown in the photo above. Many of Hawaii’s top chefs are serving strawberries from these farms. More people are demanding locally made, locally grown foods, and the farmers and the markets are responding. I am also a big advocate of eating fresh food that comes from where we live, and eating locally grown fresh strawberries is the way to go.”
Other than real strawberries. the OTHER “strawberry” I’m most familiar with that actually grows TOO rampantly here in Hawaii and considered an invasive species are “Strawberry Guavas”, a.k.a. “Waiwi”, a.k.a. “Guaivee”…
With that, there’s a company in Honolulu named Guava Smoked, who harvests the branches of “Strawberry Guava” and uses it as smoking wood for making smoked meat!…
Guava Smoked’ Uhu Tails and Marlin, smoke with “Waiawi”, a.k.a. Strawberry Guava branches
Finally, here’s archives of all things Strawberry, as archived on The Tasty Island. Enjoy. ;-)
Your Kitchen’s all-natural Strawberry & Haupia (Coconut) Special Shave Ice, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom and drizzle of condensed milk.
Diner A’s homemade Strawberry “Guri Guri” (Maui style Japanese Sherbert), made with strawberry soda, 7-UP and condensed milk
Kamehameha Bakery’s famous Haupia Doughnut with a token strawberry
Today, May 20th is also:
- National Be a Millionaire Day
- National Quiche Lorraine Day
- Emergency Medical Services for Children Day
Tomorrow, May 21st will be:
- National American Red Cross Founder’s Day
- National Waitstaff Day
- National Strawberries and Cream Day
- National Memo Day
- World Meterology Day
Must have been a slow food day on the 21st, so whoever it was, thought, “Ahhhh, eff it. Let’s just add cream to strawberries, and name it another holiday.” LOL!!!