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Minister Doyle launches start to official strawberry season

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Andrew Doyle TD visited Pat Clarke’s strawberry farm, in Co. Meath this week to launch National Strawberry week, which in its 7th year, runs from the 5th to 12th June.

This year, more than 7,700 tonnes of top quality strawberries will be picked by Irish strawberry growers, with the vast majoirty of these being picked between now and the end of August, supporting over 1000 jobs.

The Minister said “strawberry production is one of the real success stories in Irish horticulture with a very strong market for the high quality fruit produced by Irish growers.  Irish growers have reacted positively to this demand and have expanded production and improved technical efficiency delivering a top quality product.” 

The Minister also took the opportunity to urge the public to check Country of Origin and look for the Bord Bia Quality Assurance logo each time they purchase strawberries, or any other fresh fruit and vegetables. “By seeking Irish quality assured produce we are supporting Irish producers, Irish jobs and making the strongest contribution to the Irish economy while also getting excellent value for money through purchase of high quality food that has been produced and delivered to the highest standards with minimal impact on the environment” he said.

The strawberry is the most popular soft fruit eaten in Ireland. They have good health benefits with 8-10 strawberries having the same Vitamin C content as an orange. Bord Bia actively promotes the consumption of at least 5 or more fruit and vegetable portions per day. 

Note for Editors

In 2016 output at farm gate level for the Irish soft fruit sector was valued at an estimated €38m with strawberries accounting for over 90% of this.

Ireland’s strawberry industry has developed significantly in recent years from a situation where largely field based production meant harvesting was very much concentrated in the traditional June-July period and much of the crop was destined for low value processing.  While production still peaks in summer, Irish strawberry growers have made significant investments on their farms to extend the season significantly and now produce top quality fruit from early April right through to mid-November largely using polythene based protective cropping structures, in an industry that accounts for 1,000 rural jobs.

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 97/2017 (pdf 421Kb) 

Date Released: 01 June 2017