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Swedish strawberry bliss to sweeten Midsummer

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Swedish strawberry bliss to sweeten Midsummer
09:44 CEST+02:00
Despite the long, cold winter, strawberry growers in Sweden have announced that this year's harvest has survived and will be ready to be gobbled down in line with Swede's dessert-table traditions at Midsummer.

"We're going to have the strawberries ready for midsummer!" Calle Ericsson, chairman of the nation's berry growers, announced in a statement.

"The growers' efforts to cover the plants with double weaving together with last week's warmth have done wonders for strawberry conditions."

Strawberries are grown in Sweden on roughly 2,500 hectares of land, an area corresponding with about 3,500 football fields. An annual haul yields around 30 million litres of the berry, and Swedes welcome the summer treat with open arms.

In fact, 73 percent of Swedish people prefer the taste of strawberries grown in Sweden to those imported from abroad, according to a May survey by pollsters YouGov. Despite this, imported strawberry numbers continue to bloom, with a record 7,587 tonnes imported last year - around half from Belgium.

But the delicious treat is mostly grown outside rather than in controlled conditions, meaning the fruit is extremely susceptible to bad weather.

"Clear, cold June nights with strong frosts can ruin entire crops. We can manage a few degrees below zero with fibre cloths and irrigation, but if the temperatures are below -5C then the berries and flowers are destroyed," Ericsson explained.

Swedish strawberries are usually available from May and up until October.

TT/The Local/og

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