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Red power fruits: Strawberries from South Tyrol

Who doesn't love them, the bright red fruits that immediately make you think of summer. Strawberry cultivation has also reached cult status in the Martello Valley.

Strawberries in Martello in South Tyrol
Strawberries in Martello in South Tyrol

The popular strawberry originated about 250 years ago and is botanically a aggregate fruit. Strawberries contain a lot of vitamin C, trace elements and minerals, but are low in calories and therefore very popular, especially in the warm season. In addition, strawberries are rich in phenolic acid, which inhibits tumor cells. Due to certain tannins, toxic heavy metals are bound in the intestine, and the contained manganese also stimulates the formation of thyroid hormones. Furthermore, strawberries also contain folic acid, which is extremely important for blood formation.

About 50 years ago, strawberry cultivation began in the Martello Valley at altitudes of up to 1700 meters. This makes the valley the highest European berry cultivation area, where strawberries of above-average quality are harvested due to the mild climate. The winter here is very mild, the days are warm and the nights are cool, so the fruits can ripen very slowly. This gives them a very special flavor and they are only picked when the harvest is already over in many other cultivation areas. In the Martello Valley, the harvest begins at the beginning of June, and in the highest areas, the fruits are even picked at the end of August or beginning of September. The strawberries are harvested by hand and reach the table very fresh due to the short transport. Due to cultivation at higher altitudes, the plants are also less susceptible to disease, as many pests are already missing at these altitudes. This also means that fewer pesticides are used, thus protecting the environment.

On the way on the Strawberry Trail

If you want to get an insight into strawberry cultivation, you should take a hike on the South Tyrolean Strawberry Trail. This trail runs for about eight kilometers from Trattla through the diverse landscape of the Martello Valley. During the hike, you will learn a lot of interesting facts about strawberries, their history, cultivation, and their importance for the valley from various information panels. A life-sized cookbook will make you crave various culinary delights around the red fruit, and visitors can also enjoy fantastic views of the berry plantations and the Martello Valley. The farms along the way are also presented. Here you can stop by and try delicious berry, milk, or herb products. The offer is also varied for the little guests, who will surely have a lot of fun with the strawberry memory game or the walk-in strawberry basket. It's also worth marking your calendar for June 27th and 28th, 2015, when the popular South Tyrolean Strawberry Festival is celebrated in the Martello Valley.

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