Close your eyes and imagine the smell of the world’s best strawberry. It’s light, fresh and…what else?
If you’re having a hard time conjuring the deeply floral, jammy, caramel-tinged aroma of fresh strawberries, it’s probably because you, like most consumers, rarely get to experience the wonder of a field-fresh strawberry.
Harry’s Berries is a family farm established in 1966 by Harry Iwamoto, a Japanese immigrant who moved to the United States in the late 1950s. Iwamoto initially was as a landscape gardener, but after he was told he could make more money as a farmer, he leased 11 acres of farmland in Oxnard and taught himself how to grow strawberries. Shortly after he started growing strawberries, Iwamoto found his way to the Santa Monica Farmers market, where he was one of the first vendors.
Harry’s Berries is best known for its two heirloom varieties of strawberries, the Gaviota which has a strong berry perfume with a softer, juicer texture and Seascape, which has a lower acidity level, a firmer texture and a wildberry-like flavor. These berries are also much more expensive than others at the market.*
Sadly, Harry passed away suddenly while we were moving to our new 30 acre farm across the road from his old field. His son, Kaz Iwamoto and his daughter, Molly Gean and their respective spouses operated the farm together for the next 15 years. In 2008 Kaz and his wife Yoshiko retired due to health issues. Molly and her husband, Rick, continue farming on 40 acres with their children and grandchildren.*
Here is a look at the farm where, possibly, the World’s Best Strawberry variety is grown!
Tell us about your favorite Strawberry memory, recipe, or fact in the comments below
Pro Tip: How to Buy Strawberries – Fresh Strawberries
When purchasing strawberries, look at the color and condition of the skin, but also make sure to smell them. For the best strawberries, you want to smell a fragrant, sweet which shows that the berries have become ripe enough.
Look for a bright to deep red color, and try avoiding any berries that appear very dark and mushy, indicating they are going to soil pretty quickly. A strawberry picked under-ripe will have a white or even slightly green color at the top, so try avoiding these which will lack as much flavor or else wait several days for them to ripen more before eating them.
Strawberries come in different sizes depending on the type and how they are grown; some are much smaller than others, but all types have similar health benefits. They are perishable and tend to go bad rather quickly, so try using them within a few days of purchasing them. Keep strawberries in the refrigerator unwashed to pro-long their freshness; washing them ahead of time can lead to mold growth.