While I was picking up some fall fruit and vegetables at the final North York Centre's farmers market of the season last week, I noticed boxes of fresh local Ontario strawberries being sold among the pumpkins and apples. Local strawberries are typically only available for a few scant weeks in June, but these day-neutral strawberries produce fruit right up until the first heavy frosts, usually about the middle of October in Ontario.
I first discovered these marvels in July and they became my defense against the year-round, taste-challenged, imported California berries. There are not too many growers yet since their cultivation requires different methods and techniques from the standard June berries. Farmers must deal with increased weed control, the tarnished plant bug, and also increased nutrient demand by plants that grow and produce fruit all season. There is only one variety at the moment that is recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, the Seascape berry. Developed by breeders from the University of California at Davis and released in 1992, 'Seascape' is one of the most productive everbearing varieties.