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Luscious strawberries now produced in Siberia during winter

By 0 and 0 and 0
27 February 2015


Farmers have been selling their fresh strawberries at the Central Market in Irkutsk for 200 roubles (£2/$3) for a 150g punnet. Picture: Maria Olennikova/ IrkutskMedia

Farmers in Siberia have found a way to beat western sanctions on food by producing their own home-grown strawberries in the middle of winter.

Planting them in a greenhouse in August, they bear sumptuous fruit all winter and give a plentiful supply at a time when foreign imports are normally relied upon.

Growers in the Irkutsk region have even brought in bees from Israel to pollenate their plants, with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, radishes and other vegetables also produced.

It is an impressive feat, given that temperatures in the region in winter tend to drop to -20C between December and February.

Tatiana Skakovskaya, the chief agronomist of the Angara agricultural company, said: 'We plant the strawberries in a greenhouse in August, and they bear fruit all winter, until June. 

Strawberry in Irkutsk region

Strawberry in Irkutsk region

Planting strawberries in a greenhouse in August, they bear sumptuous fruit all winter. Pictures: Angara, Maria Olennikova/ IrkutskMedia

'We buy the strawberry seeds abroad, as well as the fertilizer and mineral wool on which the strawberries grow. We bought the seeds last year, before the crisis. Now all the prices have risen due to the currency rates.

'In our greenhouses almost the entire process is automated. The greenhouse covers an area of 1.5 hectares.'

Supermarkets normally stock only strawberries from Turkey or Israel, with imports from Holland stopped following the EU sanctions last year.

Angara vegetables

The secret behind the success has been the import of Israeli bees to pollinate the plants in the greenhouses. Picture: Maria Olennikova/ IrkutskMedia

Angara is one of the largest agricultural enterprises of the Irkutsk region, located in Ust-Ilimsk, about 890 km to the north from the capital Irkutsk. Despite the distance, the company manages to bring fresh vegetables and dairy products to the city. 

Farmers have been selling their fresh strawberries at the Central Market in Irkutsk for 200 roubles (£2/$3) for a 150g punnet.

The secret behind the success has been the import of Israeli bees to pollinate the plants in the greenhouses, with an increase of 15 per cent in productivity as a result of their introduction.

Siberian strawberry

Siberian strawberry

In many regions of Siberia strawberries are quite common in summer, as many gardeners and farmers sell the berries on the local markets. In winter supermarkets normally stock only strawberries from Turkey or Israel. Picture: The Siberian Times

The sale of local produce has been welcomed within the community, with one forum for mothers and pregnant women highlighting their concerns about imported food. The women were worried about chemicals sprayed on fruit and vegetables being brought in from China and are now recommending everyone buys local produce from Angara.

Comments (6)

“But,” says the skeptic, “you can’t grow fruit where the thermometer dips to thirty and forty and sometimes fifty degrees below zero.” The convincing reply is that apples, crab apples, plums, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes and melons are already being grown on the prairies. In some cases the quality is not of the highest, but the improvement both in quality and quantity is very marked. Science is doing for horticulture what it has already done in such a remarkable degree for agriculture. Hardy and tally maturing fruits have been and are being developed to suit short seasons and low temperatures. THE fruit growing industry on the prairies really originated in the Morden district of Southern Manitoba. Fresh from Scotland, the late A. P. Stevenson homesteaded in 1874 within seven miles of what is now Morden. There he did a splendid work and became the father of fruit-growing on the prairies. Having a well sheltered location, he determined, if possible, to grow fruit, and imported apple and plum and cherry trees from Eastern nurseries. For several years nearly everything succumbed to the winter temperatures. With true Scottish persistence, though smiled at by the few neighbors of those days, he continued to experiment.
Josefine Petersen, Torino
30/07/2020 15:35
Strawberry plants that yeald more than 1,5kg/plant
Strawberry succes in Est Europe, Romania
10/05/2015 19:57
First things first... people must earn incomes and live... Very enterprising and as production continues, sure the farmers will explore better energy supply options or ways to add soil to the planting process to enhance flavour of their magnificent fruit and veg. Main thing right now is that productivity is up and this is wonderful.
Marlene, South Africa
04/03/2015 03:38
The law of unintended consequences is in full display. The food sanctions against Russia are backfiring on the West. People will ALWAYS find a way around restrictions, whether that is for information or food. Good for the Russian farmers.
Michael, USA
03/03/2015 22:34
Good project. It can be more suksesful if you use the best varities with better taste. See for the best varities.
Jos goossens, holland
03/03/2015 02:28
It is a good research and succcess . The problem is the tasteless for these fruits and vegetables. They grown without organoleptic component because their roots are in water and not in the soil. It is important to be in a good spirit with a meal with organoleptic quality and good aromat.The other problem is the green house effect because it is difficult to heat the greenhouses. Research are necessery in all country to improve the taste (genetic or process)and to have good breed of apples or other fruit/vegetable which keep for a winter.Thank for this article
Jocelyne, FRANCE
01/03/2015 15:45

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