Bashaw Valley Strawberries are certified organic and are pre-picked only. There is no U-pick on the Strawberries. Call 715-468-2591 to order. Place your order early to make sure you get the berries you need.
Fruits have been added to the list of crops grown at Bashaw Valley Farm based on customer requests. The message was delivered and in 2009 a quarter acre of organically grown strawberries was added to our repertoire. 2010 the second planting, one third acre, of strawberries was added and another in 2011.
Growing strawberries organically add many challenges that need addressing and dictates how we grow these nutrient packed red morsels. Strawberries are a perennial crop which means they will survive our winters and return the next growing season. Diseases, weeds and insects are stacked against them and without the use of herbicides and pesticides it can be tricky. The first year the plants are planted in early spring, end of April beginning of May, and watered, weeded (three times), and fertilized during the growing season. In the late fall those plants are put to bed under a layer of rye straw so that in the spring the crowns of the strawberry plants are not forced out of the soil due to the freezing and thawing of the ground. The first year no berries will be harvested. Year 2 those plants are uncovered when we feel the chance of frost has subsided enough to take the risk. If we uncover too early we risk freezing flower buds and uncover too late we risk damage to the plant crown and lower yields. At this time a new patch of strawberries are being planted in another area. Fruit production begins the summer of the second year along with continued weeding (two times). Because of their spreading growth habit, after the picking season has ended the entire patch is renovated, meaning the plants are mowed off with a lawn mower. Once mowed off a rototiller is used between the rows to narrow and reduce plant size to maintain our production system. A top dressing of fertilizer is added at this time. Another layer of straw is added the second fall as the first application has now been worked into the soil to add valuable organic matter. The newly planted patch of strawberries is covered with straw too. The third year is the same as year two except once production is finished these plants that are three years old now are plowed down and that soil will remain absent of strawberries for five years. During this time a cover crop of rye is grown to enrich the soil and maintain weed control along with a healthy dose of manure compost is added. To keep the diseases, insects and weeds at bay rotation is critical when you grow strawberries organically. Each year we add a new planting and each year a planting is being taken out of production.
According to Andrea Gabrich of WebMD Magizine the shape of the strawberry, heart shaped, should be your first clue as to the nutritional value these little gems carry. Packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants known as polyphenols, strawberries are a sodium free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, low calorie food. Manganese and potassium they provide in abundance and a one cup serving of strawberries provide more vitamin C than a cup of orange juice. Fiber is so important in today’s diet as we consume more and more processed foods. One cup of strawberries provide 13% of the RDA of fiber and only 43 calories.
Interesting fact about strawberries is that it is not a berry or fruit at all but an enlarged receptacle. The fruit is actually the seeds that you find on the outside of the receptacle or what we call the “berry."