Fraises Des Bois
July 3, 2016 12:12 AM   Subscribe

The Best Strawberry You've Never Had - "The strawberry is native throughout the northern hemispheres. It is, weirdly enough—along with the apple and stone fruits like the peach—a member of the rose family... It is an incredible-tasting fruit. A fraise de bois tastes like you've never really eaten a strawberry before. Everything is magnified: It's both much more acidic and much sweeter than any supermarket strawberry. It's rich and powerful, reminding you why the Greeks saw the strawberry as a symbol of Venus." (via)
posted by kliuless (71 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
::licks screen wistfully::
posted by oceanjesse at 12:15 AM on July 3, 2016 [12 favorites]

I grew those at our previous house. They really took off, needed no coddling, and fruited constantly all year round. Admittedly it only got a little below freezing there in winter. They tasted like artificial strawberry flavouring.
posted by lollusc at 12:19 AM on July 3, 2016 [11 favorites]

I guess Bill left the fraises out, which seems foolish at 7fr/k
posted by mwhybark at 12:44 AM on July 3, 2016

I use to find these around my neighborhood, growing up in the Santa Cruz mountains. I don't remember them being as amazing as the author describes. Like the thimbleberries, they were something you'd stumble across as an occasional treat, but never in enough numbers to do much beyond eating them then and there. The blackberries were better.
posted by ryanrs at 12:55 AM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

We had a ton of wild strawberries growing around our house when I was a kid -- even on our lawn until my father managed to eradicate them over the protest of the rest of us, so I assumed they were really common. But I haven't really encountered them often since.
posted by lastobelus at 12:57 AM on July 3, 2016

There used to be a few of these growing in my Gran's garden, next to the other strawberries.
posted by Braeburn at 1:07 AM on July 3, 2016

I've always called them alpine strawberries. They really are quite hardy, we have them planted in the gaps of the paving around the back of the house. They need little to no care, they get trodden on occasionally and we still get fruit every year. Never in quantity enough to do anything but graze on them in passing but then again we're really not trying; they were planted there then ignored.

The taste is fantastic, more rounded and to me natural than shop bought strawberries. More in line with the taste complexities of blackberries scavenged from hedgerows; thoroughly recommend growing them.
posted by diziet at 1:20 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

nthing growing them. They thrive in corners of our yard in which little else has done well, and, yeah, pretty fucking delicious.
posted by dersins at 2:03 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

For those who can't get the real thing, the Mara des bois is another modern variety that was developed specifically by Marionnet to taste like wild strawberries.
posted by elgilito at 2:05 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

You'll occasionally come across these along the side of the road in Norway. Pleasant surprise whenever it happens!
posted by flippant at 2:14 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I wonder if this is the kind of strawberry Bergman's Wild Strawberries is named after. The explanation in Wikipedia fits pretty well:
The original Swedish title is Smultronstället, which literally means "The wild strawberry patch" but idiomatically signifies an underrated gem of a place, often with personal or sentimental value.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:17 AM on July 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yes, smultron is the Swedish name for Fragaria vesca.
posted by bjrn at 2:32 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

In France they seem to have no trouble selling them in the supermarket. They're best when they're so ripe that they're on the verge of going rotten.

I planted some in the garden this year. They grew like crazy and put out a continuous load of little green strawberries. But somehow I never got to pick any ripe ones. I finally discovered that the wild turtles come around every morning and eat them just when they ripen. Next year I'll try planting them in a pot that I'll guard with barbed wire and machine guns.
posted by fuzz at 2:38 AM on July 3, 2016 [59 favorites]

I like their intensity of flavour a lot, but the variety we had growing in our rockery when I was a kid were too squashy to ever really present an alternative to domesticated strawberries.

I think the actual issues with strawberries in shops are mainly the varieties used and that they are almost never ripe. It is possible to hull a fully ripe strawberry simply by pulling, but the number of strawberry hulling gadgets and guides gives us an idea of how few strawberries are ever sold ripe enough for this.

The tendency to grow varieties for robustness in transport rather than flavour is a related problem. I'd definitely try a new strawberry variety with wild strawberry characteristics, but there are already plenty of existing varieties that taste amazing in the right condition. Overall this seems like like a supply chain issue than something that is likely to be solved by a new variety of strawberry.
posted by howfar at 2:51 AM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

Smithsonian Magazine 2006 — Berried Treasure: Why is horticulturalist Harry Jan Swartz so determined to grow an exotic strawberry beloved by Jane Austen?

About another cultivar, the musk strawberry or hautbois strawberry.
Its hallmark is its peculiar floral, spicy aroma, different from and far more complex than the modern strawberry's, with hints of honey, musk and wine; a recent analysis by German flavor chemists detected notes of melon, raspberry, animal and cheese. Adored by some people, detested by others, the aroma is so powerful that a few ripe berries can perfume a room.
posted by XMLicious at 2:51 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

The blackberries were better.

QFT - wild strawberries are nice, and fun to find, but that was some heirloom hyperbole, there.

(Also: if I'm not mistaken, the article's first picture isn't Fragaria vesca at all - it's Potentilla/Duchesnea indica, the tasteless mock strawberry.)

This side of the ocean, the town of Nemi has made cultivated fragoline its signature product, and SlowFood have given Tortona a denomination for its Fragaria moschata.

Want awesome commercial strawberry delights? See if anyone in your area is growing the cultivar "Favette".
posted by progosk at 3:07 AM on July 3, 2016 [6 favorites]

I finally discovered that the wild turtles come around every morning and eat them just when they ripen.

It must really sting when the turtles yell "too slow!" at you from the edge of the woods and laugh, in that nasty way they have. I hate that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:23 AM on July 3, 2016 [91 favorites]

Oh and: the history of the modern strawberry? It's just improbably delightful in terms of nomen being omen: the five species of Fragaria chiloensis that modern strawberry cultivation goes back to, were brought back from South America by one Lt. Amédée-François (wait for it) Frézier. Amazingly, his surname apparently derives from the honorific bestowed upon an ancestor of his, thanks to a timely gift of (presumably wild) strawberries to Charles the Simple - and to this day their Scottish descendants Frazier carry the strawberry flower in their coat of arms.

But get this: that ancestor's name? Julius de Berry!!
posted by progosk at 3:39 AM on July 3, 2016 [17 favorites]

This looks exactly like the common ground variety in the South, but it can't be. I ate one once, defying a lifetime's worth of my poor mother telling me don't eat berries from outside, and tasted nothing at all.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:06 AM on July 3, 2016

Oh, progosk explained why!
posted by Countess Elena at 4:07 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lil'est Peanut recently had an adverse reaction to strawberry yogurt and so we are currently a strawberry-less household, on her ped's order. So I just drooled all over my iPhone reading this.
posted by romakimmy at 4:12 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Good news for Remain as well as Leave strawberry lovers in Brexit-bound UK... Malling Centenary!
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:27 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have this funky raised bed area in a little nook outside my house. I took advantage of its isolation and started a little strawberry patch with 4 Alpine plants. 2 years later, the area is about half full of strawberries. The flavor though - it's like homegrown tomatoes vs supermarket tomatoes. So much more complex and intense.
posted by Fig at 4:28 AM on July 3, 2016

Strawberries briefly beat out wine grapes as the #1 (legal) cash crop in San Luis Obispo County a few years ago. Between Southern SLO County and Northern Santa Barbara County, we grow a LOT of stawbs, But they are pretty much all the less-flavorful easy-to-transport variety, because we are berry growers for a large part of the U.S. They're still rather yummy, so how did I end up living 1/4 mile from a massive field of broccoli (SLO County's #4 legal cash crop)?

Of course, if the initiative just placed on the November California ballot to fully legalize marijuana passes, these agricultural rankings are definitely going to get shaken up... I think the brand name SLOWeed is already registered...
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:28 AM on July 3, 2016

We have a big patch in our garden and everyday my two year old purposefully walks over and eats a handful. There are few things as beautiful as the face of a child discovering berries.
posted by lydhre at 4:39 AM on July 3, 2016 [7 favorites]

Strawberries are winter fruit where I live so this has been terrible to read now.
posted by lullaby at 4:53 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm currently in Quebec City and we're heading to Ile d'Orleans today and will definitely eat some of the island's strawberries, so this is well timed. Quebec strawberries generally taste soooooo much better than even the local farm strawberries I get in Boston - dripping with juice, red all the way through.
posted by peacheater at 5:41 AM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

It's both much more acidic and much sweeter than any supermarket strawberry. It's rich and powerful, reminding you why the Greeks saw the strawberry as a symbol of Venus.

Like licking a battery!
posted by srboisvert at 5:57 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

Fragaria vesca also come in white, and it's a total mindfuck to eat a white berry and have it taste so incredibly strongly of red.

The good thing about the white ones is the birds don't eat them. And you can still tell when they are ripe because they smell so strongly of strawberry.
posted by lollusc at 6:16 AM on July 3, 2016 [7 favorites]

Ah, finally some "I have this beautiful thing"-time for me! These little guys are growing all over my yard and seem to multiply with every season that I neglect to weed and prune. My whole garden is full of smultronställen, especially the banks and corners and between-these-or-those-flowers bits of dirt.
After reading this post I went out and got me a handful, for they're in season just now too! Gloat.
posted by Namlit at 6:43 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

My handle is taken after strawberries. Grew up with them in our Oregon garden; pretty sure they were the wild sort as they were always small and roundish (but not very small – the Willamette Valley gets plenty of rain), and I've never tasted any better until picking wild ones in France. We had u-pick strawberry fields in the Willamette Valley where we'd get buckets of the more commercial things and make strawberry-rhubarb crisp (rhubarb from the family garden), strawberry pies, strawberry sorbet...

Now I have some growing wild in my garden outside Paris. How's that eh, fraises des bois parisiens (sic for agreement with masculine bois, I'm joking that there aren't really forests here). Picked a few ripe ones yesterday, tiny but wonderful. Like fuzz I have some fellow garden inhabitants who get to most of the ripe ones before I do. Mine are snails. You can see some munched spots on the strawberries I picked. They're beautiful snails so I can't bring myself to hold it against them. They are also the type of snail you can eat, so it occasionally crosses my mind to use the parsley growing in my garden, however.
posted by fraula at 6:46 AM on July 3, 2016 [9 favorites]

We used to find these in our yard when we lived in Quebec. I've yet to across them here in Ontario, but most likely, I am looking in all the wrong places.
posted by Kitteh at 6:58 AM on July 3, 2016

Went to the woods today, it was damp and grey, just after a shower of rain and flashes of lightning. But the ground under the trees was red with ripe wild strawberries. It was good. Mmmm ...

(I've accidentally eaten a snail once; one that was cooked into a jar of strawberry jam. It did not taste like strawberries.)
posted by sapagan at 7:01 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

lollusc: They tasted like artificial strawberry flavouring.

A friend of mine keeps telling me that the weird artificial flavour that "banana-flavoured" candy has actually tastes just like the Gros Michel bananas we all used to eat before the banana catastrophe of the '20s.
posted by clawsoon at 7:11 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

It's so sad, though, that strawberries, like tomatoes, have been bred commercially into such flavorless lumps. It's pretty much a given in my neck of the woods that any store-bought (including farmer's market) strawberries will be red on the outside and, at best, barely pink inside. Usually, though, they are white inside.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:14 AM on July 3, 2016

So Modern Farmer has realized that commercial cultivars grown solely for color, size, and shippability don't taste like the wild versions? Wow, good catch there... What's next - an article that says apples don't have to taste like sawdust if only you look beyond Red Delicious? Doubly funny that the berries chosen for the photo are not actually strawberries.

I've always known that wild strawberries were the best. I used to hunt them on roadsides in northern Michigan, warm from the sun. They were tiny, but delicious. One summer as a camp counsellor I discovered a large patch of white berries growing wild. The campers picked over the blackberries pretty quickly once they found them, but they either didn't see the strawberries or didn't realize that they were a colorless variety. I picked and ate them pretty much daily. They were weird, visually - green until ripe, when they swelled and turned white, but they tasted spectacular. Always wanted to dig up a few plants and bring home, but never got around to it.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:15 AM on July 3, 2016

We talk about how modern farming practice's means we get large tasteless strawberries, but I remember getting great tasting and looking strawberries in Japan. At the supermarket they would have different priced strawberries with the cheapest being small and not too sweet and only good for putting in cereal. The 980 yen strawberries were great though, largr, perfectly shaped and very sweet, but due to the price only an occasional purchase. I saw a single strawberry for sale at a department store for something like 600 yen. I didn't buy it but I wonder how it would taste. The worry being you don't want to develop a taste for such expensive strawberries.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 7:49 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

So, over here in the tropics where strawberries cannot grow, there are only a few brands available in the supermarkets. All the strawberries from America (usually Driscolls) absolutely suck; they are huge, flavourless abominatios whose only purpose is to look pretty in a fruit tart. The ones from Australia are pretty bad too.

Korean strawberries, however, are pretty excellent. They are much smaller, but sweet, juicy, and they actually taste like something. I don't know why anybody would buy the American ones given that the Korean ones are easy to find. I believe Japanese strawberries are even better, but they cost crazy amounts of money.

The best strawberries I've ever had? From a pick your own farm in England. The ones which were so ripe they'd almost fall apart in your hands with the slightest squish of your fingers. I would fly back to the UK just for those.

So I'm really keen to try these fraises, but I doubt I'd get the chance without traveling somewhere far away.
posted by destrius at 7:55 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Once a year in June there's the magical two weeks on the left coast where Hood Strawberries are available. They're commercial cultivars, so not the crazy intense wild strawberries, but they are so, so much better than the giant flavorless water balls that come in the market.

It mystifies me how I can live in San Francisco, a city with enormous wealth right next to where many of America's strawberries are grown, and still not be able to buy decent ripe strawberries. And the best ones are coming from Mexico :-/

As for true frais de bois, you may not be able to get them in the states but you can sure get their eau de vie. So delicious.
posted by Nelson at 8:00 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

The location of my wild strawberry caches goes to the grave with me.
posted by furtive at 8:15 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

They're beautiful snails so I can't bring myself to hold it against them. They are also the type of snail you can eat, so it occasionally crosses my mind to use the parsley growing in my garden, however.

I'm now imagining a wee snail farm, with flocks of them being fattened up on strawberries. I wonder if they would taste berry-y.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:25 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I buy the strawberry starts at the nursery where I work, and we go through dozens of flats of alpine strawberries every season; there's a variety called "Pineapple Crush" which is popular (a white berry with a tropical flavor), as well as a lime green/gold leaf type (very striking with the little red berries).

Hoods are the best! I'm trying a few Mara des Bois plants this year, I've only had one ripe berry so far but it was oh so tasty.
posted by plasticpalacealice at 8:27 AM on July 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

Peacheater, I grew up in Qc city, the Ile d'Orleans strawberries are the real deal, so good, no comparison to the California ones we get in the stores year round (sorry Cali).

My mom used to buy big baskets of them, most strawberries didn't survive very long in the house me and my father would just sneak up to the basket and eat one, and repeat 30 second later, they're just that good. I also remember going to pick up some on the island, my I'm pretty sure I was eating half of what I was picking up :)

Damn it, I want some now, I hope jean talon market has some today.
posted by coust at 8:41 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

NHK World has a profile video of the guy who came up with those expensive Japanese department store strawberries (and strawberry wine) as a way to revitalize a strawberry growing region that was devastated in 2011. Inspiring story. Video only available until July 13th. You can also watch it in the on demand section of the NHK World App.
posted by sciatica at 8:43 AM on July 3, 2016

It is possible to hull a fully ripe strawberry simply by pulling, but the number of strawberry hulling gadgets and guides gives us an idea of how few strawberries are ever sold ripe enough for this.

Have I been eating strawberries wrong my whole life? What is hulling, and why would I do it?
posted by stopgap at 9:30 AM on July 3, 2016

Hulling = cutting away the stems and leaves.

Why do it: stems and leaves are not edible.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:37 AM on July 3, 2016

Nelson, when I was visiting SF a few years ago I got some great strawberries at a farmers market (near city hall, if I remember correctly). I was sad when I forgot them in my hotel room fridge when I checked out.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 9:51 AM on July 3, 2016

Taste tends to be my strongest memory when I travel. There are many things I love to eat in Paris, but when I'm longing for the city, it's always the Berthillion Frases des Bois ice cream my memory conjures most vividly. Regular strawberry ice cream forever pales in comparison. And now I'm sitting in dreary, cool Seattle aching for sunshine and French ice cream.
posted by weeyin at 9:51 AM on July 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

One summer when I was living in Minneapolis, the co-op near me sold these tiny little strawberries grown on a convent on a city lot somehwere in Wisconsin. They were so amazing - tiny, so sweet, with that same sense of being the platonic ideal of strawberry. I have tried to find strawberries as good at farmstands and farmer's markets in several cities but have not even come close.
posted by lunasol at 10:19 AM on July 3, 2016

A thousand times yes. Sitting on the sandy bluff next to a high mountain trail, to pick four or five small strawberries--no way you can be prepared for that first time. After that, keen anticipation.
posted by mule98J at 10:26 AM on July 3, 2016

Nelson, Bay Area strawberries are incredibly tasty, but you have to buy them at the Farmers Market- albions and other varieties don't travel well. Also, they are mostly an April crop, so if you are waiting for June to look for good strawberries, you are far too late.
posted by rockindata at 10:27 AM on July 3, 2016

They're beautiful snails so I can't bring myself to hold it against them. They are also the type of snail you can eat, so it occasionally crosses my mind to use the parsley growing in my garden, however.

And if you can get them to nosh on some garlic, you're all set!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:56 AM on July 3, 2016

Hulling = cutting away the stems and leaves.

Oh. I use the stems and leaves as a handle and eat everything else. Or I use a paring knife if I'm being fancy before macerating cut strawberries. I wouldn't have thought there could be a more specialized tool than a paring knife.
posted by stopgap at 10:57 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

(Just in case anyone else has paused to wonder: no, the etymology of this instance of "straw-" is not a settled issue.)
posted by progosk at 11:06 AM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

coust, we just picked up a 3 litre basket and have already made significant inroads. Amazing! Jean talon was where I first tasted Quebec strawberries, around the same time last year and they had a strawberry festival going on.
posted by peacheater at 11:36 AM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

We flew into this remote spot once where there'd been a huge fire a year or two before. The ground was just carpeted with these, as far as the eye could see in every direction. We ate ourselves into a stupor, dogs and humans alike. Which is probably where my dog learned to eat the strawberries in the yard, meaning I get effectively none anymore.
posted by fshgrl at 11:58 AM on July 3, 2016 [11 favorites]

I use a paring knife if I'm being fancy before macerating cut strawberries. I wouldn't have thought there could be a more specialized tool than a paring knife.

There is no more effective tool, but we all know that has no bearing at all on whether there is a more specialised tool.

I usually end up with fruit cutting tools in my Christmas stocking, on account of their being cheap and colourful. I suspect that the "last minute gift" niche is a major part of the market for them.
posted by howfar at 12:06 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

For some reason, our family and our home is great at growing herbs but horrible at growing fruits. We've tried and tried and something about it never quite works out. The plants get sick, overwatered, underwatered, etc. Always something. But, when we plant herbs and spices. They just seem to grow like wild-fire. Cilantro, parsley, basil, peppermint, etc. The weird thing is that we largely ignore the herbs and spices and just let nature do their thing and they grow just perfectly.
posted by Fizz at 1:16 PM on July 3, 2016

Our yellow lab loves to sniff these out in the yard. Then she delicately eats them one-by-one, pulling her lips back and gently bringing just her front teeth together to pick them. It is such a contrast from her usual food gobbling, I can only imagine it's the one thing she has learned to savor the taste of.....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 1:36 PM on July 3, 2016 [5 favorites]

Radio Sweden from a couple of days ago: Are Swedish strawberries better than others?

No discussion of specific cultivars but basically, all the consumers in Northern Europe are convinced that the strawberries from their own country are the best.
posted by XMLicious at 3:36 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

So, I just bought a house and moved in (in January), and there are patches of... I think they are these... around my yard. And I've never dared to try eating them because... I don't know? So they're not poisonous, and there's no chance they can be a poisonous plant that I can be confusing them with?

(All the photos I've seen show the fruits hanging down, while the fruits I saw all seem to be sitting on their little patch of leaves looking up, so I'm not certain...)

Probably obvious confession: Never had a house before; never had a yard before; never did anything related to plants before. I've been playing around in the soil and really enjoying it so far, but I'm also working everything out as I go.
posted by seyirci at 3:57 PM on July 3, 2016

These grew in our yard in Virginia, but they were quite flavorless. Guess we had a lesser subspecies.
posted by tavella at 3:58 PM on July 3, 2016

(Also: if I'm not mistaken, the article's first picture isn't Fragaria vesca at all - it's Potentilla/Duchesnea indica, the tasteless mock strawberry.)

Aha, that would explain it.
posted by tavella at 4:04 PM on July 3, 2016

I've yet to across them here in Ontario
I'm here is Southern Ontario, Kitteh and I can attest to having them in my backyard. The ones we have are very tiny and I regularly miss them when I'm mowing so I usually only discover them after I squashed them underfoot.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:24 PM on July 3, 2016

I have some growing outside of my back door. I haven't seen any fruit this year. I couldn't figure out why until I caught one of my dogs eating the blossoms!
posted by fgdmorr at 6:28 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

As a kid, hiking the Greenstone Ridge trail of Isle Royale, we'd ride at first light each day and hike the trail till noon, setting up camp before the adults. Till one day, maybe 30 feet from the trail, we came upon an enormous patch of wild strawberries, and spent the entire morning gorging on them, marveling in how the flavor of a dozen normal strawberries could be compressed down to the size of a little fingernail. No early camp that day; we lazed in about 3.

To this day, I'm loath to reveal the location, but 30 feet from a 40 mile trail on a 45 mile island in Lake Superior is a pretty big search area, so you're welcome to them.
posted by Stig at 7:49 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have woodland strawberries growing like weeds in my backyard. This bunch came from my previous garden in which they had planted themselves in a pot of bulbs. The ones in the previous garden came from a client's garden, where a volunteer Fragaria vesca was probably planted by a bird. They are native to this part of the world (coastal California) so I suspect that's why they're so easy.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:25 PM on July 3, 2016

Anyone who is wondering if they actually have Duchesnea instead of real strawberries: Duchesnea has yellow petals; Fragaria has white to pink.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:34 PM on July 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

In Italy you can buy them at the market, and they are really often served at restaurants

Now I want to plant some
posted by mumimor at 11:41 PM on July 3, 2016

Wow, what utterly coincidental timing on this post. Just a few days ago, my wife and I were hanging out on the roof with our 17-month-old (we live in a Baltimore row house, in a neighborhood where every other house has a rooftop deck), and our neighbors were out on their roof, too. Said neighbors grow a bunch of stuff on the roof, run a small local/organic grocery a few blocks away, and operate a small CSA as well. They handed us a few of these strawberries to try.

Pretty good, but I pretty much thought it tasted like a strawberry, just smaller. Like you'd have to eat more of them to get the same effect.

Maybe I should try some more; I only had one. I suppose I could run up to the roof now and look for the plant, but it's almost 2:00 AM and that'd be kind of weird.
posted by CommonSense at 10:58 PM on July 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

also btw! :P
The Delicious Origins of the Domesticated Blueberry - "Frederick Coville and Elizabeth White worked with nature, not against it." (via)
Soon after its publication, Elizabeth White read Coville’s Experiments in Blueberry Culture. She wrote to him and invited him to her family’s farm in New Jersey. White and her father operated one of the largest cranberry farms in the country. They often noticed wild blueberries near their bogs and commented on the need for a domesticated variety, believing that adding blueberries to their crops would extend the growing season, giving extra employment to their pickers.

With her father’s financial backing, White offered Coville both ideal land to cultivate and a plethora of wild plants to develop. She also provided a link to the local people. To her neighbors, she offered money and the potential for immortality: Any worthy bush would be named after the finder. Her neighbors, residents of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, knew where the best wild plants lived. For years, local newspapers had denigrated the locals as a backward, ignorant people, but White knew better. In 1916, she paid tribute to her neighbors and friends, writing, “When we get in the woods and swamps, I am the one who reads haltingly and with imperfect understanding and must rely implicitly on my piney guide.” This from a woman featured in a 1942 Saturday Evening Post as the “Blueberry Queen.”


Eventually, Coville’s curiosity and leadership took him down other paths, including the creation and direction of the National Arboretum, which he advocated for in a December 25, 1925, Science article and in a February 14, 1930, address to the American Society of Landscape Architects. In many ways, this speech illustrates his tremendous intellect and passion. For example, he tells about a colleague’s experiments with making archery bows out of a particularly remarkable Osage orange tree. But Coville continued his research interests in blueberries: A pair of “Special Articles” pieces in Science (titled “Buttermilk as a Fertilizer for Blueberries” and “Blueberry Chromosomes”) outlined new (at the time) research on the chromosomal makeup of various blueberry varieties.

White also continued to pursue her scientific study of blueberries—and advocacy for them. In 1938, she co-authored a paper titled “Some Results of Self-Pollination of the Highbush Blueberry at Whitesbog.” New Jersey eventually adopted the blueberry as the state’s fruit and began to plant it along highways. Like Coville, though, White’s passions went beyond blueberries. She was particularly interested in plants native to the Pine Barrens, like the American holly and Pine Barrens gentian, plants she propogated in her own nursery. Through her writing, speaking, and hosting of visitors, she advocated for native landscaping before this idea was popular. For example, in 1931, she hosted 88 members of the American Fern Society, who remarked on her beautiful gardens.
posted by kliuless at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

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