Why are organic strawberries better?

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Why are organic strawberries better

You start to see more and more strawberries in supermarkets, however you have to stop to think what is behind those fruits that are often more attractive than sustainable and healthy.

Why are organic strawberries better

The first strawberries of the year in supermarkets look seductively red. They appear earlier than sunny days because they have been grown in greenhouses with the help of pesticides, fertilizers, and often water drawn from wells. In this way, Spain manages to export no less than 100,000 tons of sparkling strawberries to Germany. Most are produced in Huelva, where strawberries gain ground in the pine forests. There are currently about 5,300 hectares dedicated to strawberries in one of the driest areas of the peninsula.

CONVENTIONAL STRAWBERRY PLANTATIONS ARE DESTROYING ECOSYSTEMS

Strawberries are very thirsty fruits, on average, a kilo of strawberries needs about 280 liters of water for its cultivation. In southern Spain, however, water is quite scarce. The water requirement for the irrigation of strawberry and strawberry plantations is so incredibly high that it is necessary to dig more and deeper wells, many of them illegal.

According to WWF estimates, the fields are irrigated by 1,000 illegal wells. The Spanish Ministry of the Environment assumes that there are around 500,000 wells of this type throughout Spain.

The strategy to combat them is to enable farmers to have access to river water. Thus, for example, last January 170 illegal wells were closed in the area of ​​Doñana after irrigation concessions with water from the Guadalquivir were approved. But this measure does not succeed in ending the looting of the underground waters that feed the streams and that the land of Huelva is drying up at a forced pace.

The Coto de Doñana National Park, in particular, now suffers from water scarcity. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most important wetland in Spain, receiving millions of migratory birds during winter and offering the endangered Iberian lynx a habitat.

The problems of conventional strawberries

Scientists from the University of Bonn have examined the carbon footprint of conventional Spanish early strawberries. According to them, a 500 g bowl produces almost 400 g of carbon dioxide from cultivation to consumption, 140 grams are caused only by transport to Germany. Organic strawberries performed better.

Greenhouse strawberries involve too many CO2 emissions, even if the facilities are in the country itself, since a lot of energy is required for the irrigation systems to work.

Because strawberries are such extremely sensitive fruits, many chemicals are used in conventional growing to protect the fruit from fungal diseases and rot. This is how a healthy fruit like strawberry can become a health risk.

In tests carried out in Germany with Spanish strawberries in 2019, it was observed that nine out of ten samples received bad environmental ratings, due both to the excessive load of pesticides and the origin of an eminently dry growing region. Some of the fruits tested contained particularly questionable pesticides, some of which are considered carcinogens.

THE ADVANTAGES OF ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES

Farmers who produce organic strawberries do not use pesticides, which is a clear advantage over conventional products.

However, organic strawberries can be grown in a greenhouse, which increases their carbon footprint compared to those grown outdoors.

THEY HAVE MORE NUTRIENTS

According to María Dolores Raigón, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, organic strawberries that are grown without pesticides or chemicals contain 29% more antioxidant polyphenols than conventional strawberries. They also provide more vitamin C.

YOU CAN GROW THEM ON YOUR BALCONY OR TERRACE

The most sustainable and healthy strawberry is the one that is produced outdoors in your locality, with ecological methods. And it is even more so the strawberries in your garden, terrace or balcony.

If you plant strawberries in March you will be able to pick the fruits in May. You do not need more than a pot or a planter, a good substrate and the strawberry plants that you can now get at any garden center.

Keep in mind that they need a lot of water (it is best to water them every day at dusk) and that they want a lot of sun. As a gift you can use the water from the first minutes of the shower or the one that is left over from draining the pasta or potatoes (after it has cooled down).

When you taste the strawberries of your own harvest, you may discover for the first time the authentic flavor of this precious fruit.

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