Strawberry fields forever in Thailand

Most important news of the week is that 28,000kg of strawberries and gallons of thick cream have been consumed during the Wimbledon tennis fortnight. It is an annual reminder of how much the strawberry is embedded in English culture. But the appreciation of the fruit is spreading.

It was intriguing to see a Bangkok Post report that the growing of strawberries as a potted plant is increasingly popular in Thailand. Back in the early 1970s the only strawberries available were of the imported variety in expensive hotels because it was regarded as too hot to grow the fruit in Thailand. But these days, during the cool season, strawberries grown in the northern hills are a regular sight in supermarkets at reasonable prices, although may lack a fruity taste.

When I was a kid my dad used to grow strawberries, or at least try to, in our Berkshire back garden. He would look after the strawberries with loving care for weeks on end as the fruit transformed from a green-white colour to the tasty red berry. Unfortunately, slugs and other pests are also partial to strawberries and always seemed to devour the fruit just before we got round to "harvesting". The defenceless strawberry is apparently the favourite food of 200 varieties of pests. So the best of luck to the new Thai strawberry growers and watch out for those greedy fat slugs.

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