When in season, strawberries are so versatile and just so damn tasty!
What’s even better, according to research from the Salk Institute of Biological Studies in the US, a chemical found in strawberries has been famed for boosting memory in healthy animal subjects (mice). Strawberries may also help in the fight against diabetes.
However, while we are beating the drum for this sweet little berry fruit, have you thought about where strawberries come from when they are out of Aussie-growing season? These strawberries have a budding ability to be a little on the nasty side if we are completely honest.
Let’s take strawberries from the US for example.
More than 80 per cent of strawberries in the United States are grown in California. It is apparent that a majority of their strawberry farms will soon start to incorporate a pesticide inserted as a gas to sterilise their soil and make it great for growing. This is known as methyl iodide.
The science uncovered on methyl iodide has indicated an overwhelmingly alarming fact about public and environmental health risks connected with the chemical. Pesticides of this sort are amid the most toxic and hardest to control. Methyl iodide is identified as carcinogenic, neurotoxin, and mutagen, and according to the chair of the Scientific Review Committee, Dr John Froines, “there is no safe level of use for methyl iodide.”
The chemical is used by scientists in labs to induce cancer in cells and calls for serious precautions while being managed. It is a necessity to wear a ventilation hood and protective gear when handling even small amounts of the chemical. Meanwhile back in California, methyl iodide is injected into the soil as a gas at rates of up to 100 lbs per acre.
Aside from the threat thrust upon farmworkers and communities surrounding, and nearby to the strawberry growing fields, it is plausible to surmise that methyl iodide will likely contaminate the groundwater.
The strawberries that are grown with the use of methyl iodide will still be nutritional, however when the strawberry leaves a wave of workers with more cancer, contaminated groundwater and severe risk of neurodevelopmental harm for children that could be exposed in the womb, can you still classify a strawberry of this demeanor as a “healthy" option?
So how can we help to ensure strawberries remain sustainable and healthy?
Purchase organic strawberries from local markets, or why not try growing your own. Strawberries are fairly easy to master with a bit of love and TLC. Check out this quick guide, from Gardening Australia, on how to grow your own strawberries. Guilt-free and convenient, right from your own backyard or windowsill!
Lucky Bondi Beach Tea Co. herbal ingredients are pesticide-free and offer some great nutritional properties too. Check out or tasty tea blends online.