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La Trinidad, Benguet, approximately 210 km away from Manila, is known as the "Strawberry Capital" or the "Strawberry Fields in the Philippines. Strawberries are harvested from the Strawberry Farm where they are readied and freshly picked.This province was once recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records for baking the largest strawberry cake.
Strawberries are priced at about Php80-Php150 when they are already picked and higher when visitors personally pick them because they can select the best ones and tour the farm.Strawberries cultured in the province are of different varieties. The "Sweet Charlie" from Argentina is the current market bestseller, and the "Festival" and "Camarosa" from California.The picking season starts November until May and are sold at the Baguio City Market or just in the pasalubong stalls at bus terminals nearby. In the market, prices range from Php50-Php60 while Php150-Php200 during peak seasons in the months of September until December.
Planting materials that had been used for five to ten years were disease-infested which translated to low production.The process of tissue culture in cooperation with the Benguet State University (BSU) has made possible the cultivation and production of the best and disease-free strawberries. It has started in 2006 and BSU has provided clean planting materials (strawberry runners) to help improve production.The mother plants are tested in laboratories then transferred into small pots.Farmers can buy the tissue-cultured strawberries at Php2.50-Php3 each and cultivate them in their rented lots. The process from tissue culture to planting takes two years.
Strawberries are easily perishable.Choose the under-riped (less red, more green and white) strawberries if there is a long trip ahead.After the trip, the strawberries will be ripe enough to eat. Choose strawberries that are shiny, deep red in color, and are medium-sized because they are more delicious.
Strawberries are rich in the following nutrients (arranged from highest to lowest content):
- vitamin C
- dietary fiber
- vitamin B12 (riboflavin)
- vitamin B5 (pantothenic)
- omega 3 fatty acids
- vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
- vitamin K
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