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Strawberry Facts and Production Costs

Facts

Strawberry History

Strawberries, which are thought to have been cultivated in ancient Rome, were originally grown in Europe. Today, however, varieties also can be grown throughout Chile, Russia, and the United States.

The first known American species of strawberries was cultivated about 1835. The berries seem to be strewn among the leaves of the plant, and they were first called strewberries in the late 18th century.

Later, the name was changed to strawberry—possibly from the practice of English children threading the berries on pieces of straw for sale or from the 19th century practice of laying straw around the strawberry plants to protect them from bad weather. Other stories noted that farmers would bring the strawberries to market on beds of straw to protect them during traveling.

Alpine strawberries are believed to have medicinal uses. While the leaves, roots, and fruits were used as a skin tonic, the berries were eaten to relieve diarrhea and an upset stomach. Leaves and roots were also eaten for gout. In addition, a paste made from the strawberries was used to treat sunburn and skin blemishes, and the fruit's juices would be used to whiten teeth.

Horticultural Facts

The strawberry is a small plant of the Rosaceae (Rose) family. All varieties of strawberry plant belong to the Fragariagenus.

Strawberries are not really berries or fruit, but they are the enlarged ends of the plants stamen. The small black spots are actually the fruit.

Strawberries can be grown wild or as a cultivated plant. Strawberry plants have an average of 200 seeds on the outside skin of each berry—unlike most fruit in which the seeds are enclosed within the fruit.

Interestingly, strawberries do not normally reproduce by seeds. Strawberry plants send out what are called runners, which growson the ground and sends roots into the soil. The roots then produce new plants that are often used to start new strawberry plots.

Strawberries are hand-picked, sorted, and packed in the field. The flats or trays of strawberries are rushed to shipping houses where they are kept at a temperature of 34 F. Each flat or tray contains 12 one-pint baskets.

Within 24 hours of being picked, strawberries are loaded on refrigerated trucks for delivery to local markets across the country.

Did you know more than 94% of all households consume strawberries? According to the USDA, each person consumes about 4.85 pounds of fresh and frozen strawberries yearly. 

Measurement Equivalents

*Adapted from North American Strawberry Growers Assoc. Booklet, Fresh Strawberries

  • 1 quart (1 L) weighs about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds (675 to 750 g) and will yield 4-5 servings
  • 8 quarts (8 L) weighs about 12 pounds (approx. 5 kg) and equals 13 pints frozen
  • 1 ½ quarts (6 cups, 1.5 L) is needed for a 9" (22.5 cm) pie
  • 1 cup (250 mL) sliced fresh berries is equivalent to one 10 oz. (284 g) package of frozen, sweetened berries

Nutritional Information  

Strawberries are low in calories and have great nutritional value making them a perfectly healthy snack—just eight strawberries provide as much vitamin C as a glass of orange juice.

Calories

Protein (gms)

Fat (gms)

Saturated Fat (gms)

% Calories from Fat

Sodium (mg)

50

1.0

0.0

0.0

10%

0.0

Carbohydrates (gms)

Fiber (gms)

Vitamin A %RDA

Vitamin C %RDA

Calcium %RDA

Iron %RDA

13.0

3.0

0%

140%

2%

2%

Strawberry Folklore  

  • In provincial France, strawberries were regarded as the highest-quality aphrodisiac. Traditionally, newlyweds were served a soup of thinned sour cream, strawberries, borage (a European herb whose flavor is reminiscent of cucumber), and powdered sugar.
  • The second wife of Henry the VIII, Queen Anne Boelyn (1507-36), had a strawberry-shaped birthmark on her neck. Unfortunately, some claimed this fact proved she was a witch.
  • The strawberry is recognized as representing absolute perfection in the Victorian language of flowers.
  • Medieval stonemasons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals, symbolizing perfection and righteousness. During the same time period, strawberries were served at important state occasions and festivals to ensure peace and prosperity.
  • Sacred to the both Goddess of Love and the Virgin Mary, strawberries boast a long, dramatic history.
  • Have you ever eaten a double strawberry? Legend holds that if you break it in half and share it with a member of the opposite sex, then you will soon fall in love with each other.

Strawberry Production Costs

Data provided from Agricultural Fast Facts Directory, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Acreage, production and value for 1991-92 through 2005-06
Crop YearAcreageYield per acreProductionValue per flatTotal value
Planted Harvested
2005-06 7400 7300 2333 17,033 14.04 239,148
2004-05 7300 7300 2042 14,908 13.20 196,790
2003-04 7100 7100 1917 13,606 13.08 177,997
2002/03 7100 7100 1833 13,017 9.92 129,177
2001-02 6900 6900 2126 14,667 10.46 153,472
2000-01 6500 6500 2167 14,083 11.88 167,310
1999-00 6300 6300 2917 18,375  9.12 167,580
1998-99 6200 6200 2500 15,500  9.72 150,660
1997-98 6200 6200 2167 13,433 12.00 161,200
1996-97 6100 6100 2417 14,742  9.91 146,119
1995-96 6000 6000 2167 13,000  8.66 112,632
1994-95 6000 6000 2333 14,000  8.47 118,608
1993-94 5800 5800 2417 14,017  7.24 101,425
1992-93 5800 5800 2333 13,533  8.96 121,313
1991-92 5400 5400 2500 13,500  8.06 108,810

*Production sold, monthly, crop years 1991-92 through 2005-06

Crop yearDec 1/JanFebMarAprTotal

1,000 12-lb flats

2005-06 1400 4614 4733 5811 475 17033
2004-05 1645 3434 4617 4914 298 14908
2003-04 1105 3131 3401 5971 2/ 13608
2002-03 1614 3194 4095 4114 2/ 13017
2001-02 2925 2807 3694 5241 2/ 14667
2000-01 1689 2249 3665 6480 2/ 14,083
1999-00 2021 3859 5513 6982 2/ 18,375
1998-99 2325 3255 2480 6200 1240 15,500
1997-98 1324 2418 3761 4587 1343 13,433
1996-97 1327 2359 6486 4570 2/ 14,742
1995-96 1170 1950 3120 5460 1300 13,000
1994-95 1120 1540 1680 5880 3780 14,000
1993-94 981 1682 3084 7569 701 14,017
1992-93 1083 2707 2165 5413 2165 13,533
1991-92 1350 1755 3240 5400 1755 13,500

1/ November Included
2/ Combined with March

Average Value per flat for fresh market sales, monthly, crop years 1991-92 through 2005-06
Crop YearDecJanFebMarApr 1/Average

Dollars

2005-06 29.40 15.48 13.68 9.68 11.71 14.04
2004-05 20.88 17.65 12.72 8.39 6.29 13.20
2003-04 20.40 18.12 14.28 8.40 2/ 13.08
2002-03 19.44 13.56 9.72 5.28 2/ 9.92
2001-02 13.56 11.04 9.48 9.12 2/ 10.46
2000-01 15.84 22.92 10.92 7.56 2/ 11.88
1999-00 15.36 10.56 9.72 6.12 2/ 9.12
1998-99 12.96 12.12 12.00 7.20 5.88 9.72
1997-98 22.08 12.36 12.96 8.64 10.2 12.00
1996-97 19.20 1.64 8.52 8.28 2/ 9.91
1995-96 17.28 11.16 9.36 6.12 6.12 8.66
1994-95 15.48 15.72 11.04 6.72 5.04 8.47
1993-94 16.92 9.71 7.08 5.69 4.84 7.24
1992-93 15.96 10.56 10.92 7.08 6.24 8.96
1991-92 11.40 11.88 8.76 6.60 4.92 8.06

1/  May Included
2/ Combined with March

Strawberries: Estimated Production Costs in the Plant City area

Source:  University of Florida, Agriculture Business Center.