The likes of Rio-bound athletes Dina Asher-Smith, Liam Phillips, Chris Adcock and Kate Richardson-Walsh all include it as one of their top six preferred fruit and vegetables.
A quick history:
It’s the only fruit which wears its seeds on the outside – around 200 of them.
And around 28,000kg of it is eaten along with 7000 litres of fresh cream each year at Wimbledon.
Not guessed the fruit yet? It’s the old summer favourite, the strawberry – and the importance of it to athletes and the public alike cannot be underestimated.
Strawberries are actually a member of the rose family and were cultivated by the Romans as early as 200 BC.
The cultivated large-fruited strawberry originated in Europe in the 18th century and most centuries developed their own varieties during the 19th century.
These were often specially suitable for the climate, day length, altitude, or type of production required in a particular region.
Nowadays, strawberries are produced commercially both for immediate consumption and for processing as frozen, canned, or preserved berries or as juice.
They contain nearly five times as much vitamin C as blackberries while 150g of strawberries contain only 45 calories – no wonder they’re a firm favourite with elite athletes!
Seeping into sport:
It’s not often that a fruit can be so synonymously entwined with a sport but the humble strawberry can lay claim to just that with its links to Wimbledon.
There is no definitive answer for why but the most likely explanation appears to be a combination of circumstances – strawberries were in season at the time the tournament was played and in Victorian England they have become a fashionable thing to eat.
This year alone, it was calculated that 139,435 portions of strawberries were consumed at Wimbledon – no doubt a lovely snack while watching Andy Murray clinch a historic second Wimbledon title earlier this month and Heather Watson win the mixed doubles competition!
Click here to find out more about Andy and Heather’s homegrown heroes profiles
Proud to be British
The British season can begin anywhere from the end of April to mid-May, and usually continues until the weather cools in October.
One such supplier of British strawberries is Scottish-based supplies Angus Soft Fruits who provide Aldi with approximately 250 tonnes of strawberries a year – or over half a million punnets – and 20-30 tonnes of strawberries during Wimbledon alone!
Once bought, those little strawberries can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days, any longer and they’re best to be frozen. But we all know they’re best eaten fresh!