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The Theoretical Cook


Monday, March 27, 2006

Strawberry Fields Forever

These are the flower plots next to the strawberry plots in the 'strawberry farm'. Could not resist not posting since they were such pretty orange flowers!

The strawberry plots have a protective black plastic casing. This is to avoid direct contact of the berries with the soil.

If you have never seen a strawberry field, how would you imagine it?
Last Sunday, I found myself on my first trip to the La Trinidad strawberry fields. La Trinidad is the provincial capital of Benguet. In the 1960s, the province became one of the leading vegetable producers in the entire country. By the 1980s, there was an agriculture shift to the cultivation of strawberries and cutflowers. As far as I know, the only other area in the Philippines where strawberries have been successfully cultivated is in the Bukidnon province, and this was through some EU-funded efforts to promote the crop.
I was brimming with excitement. This was how I imagined the strawberry fields: the strawberry plants would be growing by a hillside. Then there would be an entire hillside covered with the crawling strawberries, as far as your eyes can see. Since its still the season of strawberries, there would be specks of red, where the strawberries would be peeking out of the leaves. I have heard of the La Trinidad fields long long ago but my idea of how it would look like comes from the following: 1) That Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever" - whenever I hear this song, I imagine hills or some mountainous area. Somewhere windy. Somewhere where youre out of breath. ; 2) The film Wild Strawberries - let me explain the content of the film then.
A few months ago, I watched a film be Fellini entitled "Wild Strawberries." Its about this old professor who is about to be conferred with some honorary doctorate/academic award. Its this really prestigious award and his daughter-in-law is taking him to the place where the ceremony for the conferment is to be held. The daughter-in-law is the one driving the car, and throughout the long drive, a lot of things happen: the old professor sneaks some catnaps, some hitchhikers hitch with them, they stop for a visit to the matriarch of the family. Now the important thing here concerning the strawberries is this: during the old professor's catnaps, his mind goes back to a period in his youth, a period covering his 'young love'. The venue of this young love is in the rolling meadows surrounding their family estate, a place where the wild strawberries grow. Nothing really came out of this youthful lost love but it seems to have determined all subsequent relationships of the old professor: his torturous relationship with his wife; and his equally problematic relationship with his son. So the memory of the wild strawberries is pre-Angst; it represents the idyll before the Fall, the happiest he ever was.
So the strawberry fields in my imagination was a place of wild abandon. A place where you would be happy picking the strawberries and putting them in the baskets.
Anyway, enough about my imagination. This is how the strawberry fields look like.
They may be in neat plots but I immediately realized why they had to be in neat plots. Nevertheless, if I get to own a plot of land in a colder region in the country, I will endeavour to plant strawberries to suit the fields of my imagination.


Blogger relly said...

I like this post as well.. very much .. and to find the brocolli grown in the Philippines? Mr.MM was talking about not getting it in the Philippines. I love brocolli, we just had it for lunch side dish for meat or chicken.. just bold in salted water till just soft and still crunchy.. we just melt butter over it and yummm..
The Philippines specially mountain provinces have a wide potentials of producing wide varieties of veges... when we went to Baguio we are feasting to buy those fresh and cheap vegetable.
And to tell you that the best fresh strawberyy i've tasted is in Baguio!

6:08 AM  
Blogger Theoretical Cook said...

Hi Relly!
I think they started growing broccoli in La Trinidad in the 1970s.... They also grow asparagus there (like in Mindanao).
I feel like eating strawberries now. Hmn.

9:28 PM  
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