Small strawberries, big taste(Read article summary)
Alpine strawberries are simple to grow and taste oh-so-sweet.
I harvested my first alpine strawberries of the season this weekend – and what a sweet milestone it was.
I love all berries – blueberries and raspberries especially – and I don’t disdain those big red strawberries in the grocery store (or even better, from the local farmers’ market). But there’s something special about the little alpines.
The taste is delightful – a mouthful of flavor concentrated in a tiny package. And, unlike regular strawberries, they don’t produce runners, so they don’t require much space, special methods of planting, or any ongoing care year after year.
I first discovered them years ago in a White Flower Farm catalog, where they were referred to as fraises des bois, which sounds much better than plain old strawberries any day.
For some reason, I had bought a strawberry pot that spring and had this idea I’d grow strawberries in it. So I ordered a packet of seeds, planted them in a flat, and they germinated and grew.
I was able to harvest berries that same year – all through the summer and into fall, which is one of their nicest characteristics, I think.
I’m pretty sure my little plants never made it into the strawberry pot – I admire how the pots look in magazine photographs, but they always seem to take more effort than I want to devote to them.
Instead, I planted the alpine strawberries in hanging baskets and in a flower bed among some new perennials. They were nice mounded plants – great for edging – that looked attractive and produced fruit about the size of wild berries and oh-so-sweet.