Friday, April 13, 2012

Strawberries: Hydroponic vs. Conventional

First of all, this is strictly my opinion based on my experiences.

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.

Hydroponic Strawberries

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.

God bless,

1 comment:

  1. I grow them both ways and it is strictly mental as to the flavor and texture. It all depends on the weather and they taste varies from day to day. I have customers who make faces over hydroponic strawberries and lettuce and they have absolutely no idea what they are missing. If people only knew what was actually done to their food to keep them insect and disease free they would cringe. The picture of a traditional field there is probably air sprayed and it kills everything.. birds, rabbits, bees, everything.. even if it is 'organic'. Just fyi