MINOH, Japan — Strawberry shortcake. Strawberry mochi. Strawberries à la mode.
These may sound like summertime delights. But in Japan, the strawberry crop peaks in wintertime — a chilly season of picture-perfect berries, the most immaculate ones selling for hundreds of dollars apiece to be given as special gifts.
Japan’s strawberries come with an environmental toll. To recreate an artificial spring in the winter months, farmers grow their out-of-season delicacies in huge greenhouses heated with giant, gas-guzzling heaters.
“We’ve come to a point where many people think it’s natural to have strawberries in winter,” said Satoko Yoshimura, a strawberry farmer in Minoh, Japan, just outside Osaka, who until last season burned kerosene to heat her greenhouse all winter long, when temperatures can dip well bellow freezing.
But as she kept filling up her heater’s tank with fuel, she said, she started to think: “What are we doing?”
Fruits and veggies are grown in greenhouses all
Keep reading this article on The New York Times Energy & Environment.