I am the original u-pick strawberry fanatic since I am unable to grow them in my garden. We used to have a big plot when I lived in Nebraska, but it is much harder to grow strawberries in Florida. So, I enjoy going to u-pick farms and have tried the strawberries at several of them.
Picking at a hydroponic farm is quite a different experience. The first thing to strike me was that there was no dirt. The ground was covered and there was a fiberglass type product in the pots. We had to disinfect our hands before picking and use sanitized scissors provided by the farm. And you don't really pick the strawberries, you snip them. The nice thing was no leaning down, but I missed the whole being on the farm experience.
The hydroponic strawberries took much less cleaning when we got them home, but when we went to eat them, what a disappointment. They only had a mild flavor and seemed watery. I was so unimpressed I never went back to the hydroponic farm. I honestly don't know if this is a common occurrence or if it was just a problem with this farm.
Our visits to a traditional u-pick farm were much different. While the strawberries were grown under plastic mulch, the areas surrounding them were very organic. Dirt, weeds, grass and critters grazing in the nearby field. We grabbed our boxes and went out to get dirty and pick strawberries; no cleaning up beforehand. Fingers were used to pinch off the strawberries and our boxes were filled in no time. Our backs were a bit sore, but it was nice to be getting some exercise outdoors.
|Traditional Strawberry Field|
Cleaning the dirt farmed strawberries took some effort. I usually just agitate them gently in several sink fulls of clean water. The dirt falls to the bottom and I just scoop them out. And the taste; they were amazing. Very flavorful, juicy and meaty. I much prefer the traditionally grown strawberries to the hydroponic ones.
Once again, this is just my experience. If you have had experiences with hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables please comment below.