“Stuff your face” (Stuff your strawberry) or even “Fill your face”.
These are two colorful Quebec expressions underlining that strawberries are very firmly anchored in our consumer habits. This causes neither more nor less the intoxication that abundance sometimes represents. Originally taken from the wild and then cultivated in our fields, strawberries have occupied an important place in our diet. Although the wild strawberry (woodland strawberry) is indigenous to our territory, we wanted to learn more about the origins of its domestic counterpart: the garden strawberry. Because although it grows in our gardens since the second half of the 19th century, what do we really know about their journey until now?
We should already mention the first garden strawberry seeds (Fragaria var. anassa) were imported from American seed producers by Quebec City merchants in the early 1860s. It should be noted it was probably on Île d’Orléans that the first Garden strawberries were sown in Quebec.
It is important to note that the mother hybrid of these was rather from Europe. It would probably have been born in the Plougastel garden in Brittany, before being improved by a certain Thomas Knight in England. All this, before landing again in America … We say landing again, because the plants that were used for its hybridization came from America!
By digging a little into history, we actually dig up that the 2 plants that gave birth to the garden strawberry actually came from America. The first was a Chilean strawberry plant (fragaria chiloensis) taken along the South American coast by, brace yourself, a spy in good standing with King Louis XIV who bore the name of Amédée François Frézier. The second plant, an American strawberry plant (fragaria virginiana), which was closer to us, had been brought back to France a few years earlier by Breton fishermen.
Nothing is lost, nothing is created, but everything is transformed.