In the "Gaiķi" farm strawberries are grown on a single hectare that yields a ton of sweet berries in one season. However, you'd be hard pressed to call this endeavor profitable.
The berries are harvested once every three years. On the first year, the fields are fertilized with manure and saplings are planted, on the second they're cultivated and weeded, and only on the third can they be harvested.
The strawberries are hidden in the grass, but that's intentional. That's how they're protected against the elements, and the birds don't eat them, although harvest does come later because of this.
Though growing biologically can have some unexpected advantages. "The first harvest is only today, and I'm glad for it. When the Polish and Lithuanian berries, as well as those [grown by] local growers who use film, will have gone, I'll be the last one with berries left in the market and will be able to earn something," ponders Helēna Kokorēviča from the "Gaiķi" farm.
There are few strawberries in the Tukums market after the long holidays, but that's no reason for the price to grow. You can buy strawberries there for two or three euros a kilogram.
Buyers said that they'd prefer biologically grown strawberries but first and foremost have to think about the price.
"The strawberries in Tukums are much more expensive, for example, when compared to those of Jelgava. My grandson lives in Jelgava and I go there. The imported Polish strawberries cost 1.20-1.50 euro there, and they're the most expensive," said Anna from Tukums.
Buyers also lamented that it's hard to distinguish a biologically grown berry from an ordinary one.
Strawberry season has started two weeks later than usual, and it'll continue for a month. Visitors to Latvia will be delighted by the kind old ladies selling tasty strawberries by the side of the road, and of course Riga's Central Market is of great interest to anyone who prefers to eat fresh.