I don’t know a lot about how ordinary strawberries are harvested, but I can tell you a great deal about how ours are done. This will be a soap-box post, so if you’re resolutely not going to ever buy anything organic, don’t feel like you have to keep reading; these are just my reasons.
I will never again buy ordinary strawberries, and yes, I do know how completely ridiculous that sounds. But once you see the amount of love that goes into every single one of the Strawberries on an organic farm, you cant go back. So I’ll tell you a bit about them.
First, the field-making process of Strawberries is incredibly labor-intensive. It all must be done by hand, and it is extremely difficult and precise work. Once the plants grow and begin to produce berries, the really time-consuming part begins. Each plant is cared for individually, and each berry is picked by hand. The best berries are the ones that are not quite at peak ripeness, meaning that they still have some orangy color, but no white on them at all.
You must remove the stems, but be careful not to remove the green leaves which make the Strawberries pretty (Its ok if you accidentally pick the green part off, you can eat that one… and that one over there because its staring at you). The Nyorsk word for Strawberry is Jorbær.
Then, because it always rains in Norway, you have to take the berries (which are never ever stacked in boxes) inside to dry. To do this, we line little crates with toilet paper, and pour no more than 400 grams (thats right, I know metric now) of Strawberries into the crate and roll them around to dry them off, Then they are poured into bigger crates lined in toilet paper and dried again.
Next, each berry must be sorted. Some are too ripe, those come into the farmhouse where we live and they live by the window until they are ready. Some are too ripe or have their green bits removed and they either become our dessert or they are made into jam. Some are absolutely perfect, and those little individually selected beauties get weighed and boxed and sold to several stores and restaurants in Tromsø, where people will never know or appreciate how much love that little Jorbær received.
And I have the amazing pleasure of getting to do all of this. And that, friends, is why I will never again buy anything but organic Strawberries ever again.