American Strawberry Consumption Doubles in Two Decades

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May is National Strawberry Month, a time when farmers and consumers alike celebrate the peak abundance of America's favorite fruit. Strawberries are a fond and familiar fare at any time of day. According to the US Department of Food and Agriculture, Americans now consume twice as many strawberries than two decades ago.

The versatile strawberry stretches beyond shortcake, inspiring unexpected savory and sweet dishes. A key ingredient in endlessly creative recipes, strawberries can be blended with garbanzo beans and lemon juice to make a tart hummus, or strung on rosemary-stem skewers, grilled and served with black pepper ice cream and ruby port syrup. The strawberry's photogenic color and shape, easy preparation and adaptability make strawberries among one of the most talked about fruits on culinary websites, blogs and social media.  They are featured on hundreds of creative Pinterest boards, while conversations on Twitter mention strawberries with its most popular companions, chocolate (1.5 million+ mentions) and cream (585,000+ mentions).

Just a generation ago, fresh strawberries were a fleeting reward of spring. Thanks to the decades-long effort of California strawberry farmers, however, the once-precious crop is now one of the country's most popular fruits, available year round. California strawberry farmers have done their job so well that in just 20 years, Americans have doubled their consumption of fresh strawberries, with per capita consumption rising to almost eight pounds in 2012. At the same time, refined growing methods on more than 40,000 acres have improved yields by 44 percent since 1990. Today, nearly 90 percent of US-grown fresh strawberries come from California.

Universally loved, locally grown, California strawberries are picked, shipped and delivered to stores within 24 hours. These fresh strawberries inspire out-of-the-ordinary recipes, including strawberry goat cheese pizza and strawberry tostadas that brighten up daily meals. These and other delicious recipes can be found at CaliforniaStrawberries.com.