Thursday, March 22, 2012

(Methyl iodide-free) Strawberry Fields (forever?)

Photo: net_efkt

My love affair with strawberries started late; I didn't like them as a kid and only discovered what I'd been missing when I spent a summer in Denmark as a foreign exchange student in the summer after my junior year of high school.

We ate strawberries every day that summer, either for afternoon tea (in the English tradition) or for dessert after dinner. My host family used to gauge my progress in learning Danish by my ability to say (or totally mangle) "strawberries with cream" in Danish. Here's what it looks like in writing: røde grøde med fløde. It sounds like a lot of throat clearing when you say it (Danish is a notoriously difficult language to speak, very different from the singsong style of Swedish or Norwegian).

Anyway, I bring you with me on this trip down memory lane because of news I got today from Earthjustice about the use of methlyl iodide, a carcinogenic toxic herbicide used in growing commerical strawberries, especially in California:

"On Tuesday, the world’s largest private agro-chemical corporation—Arysta LifeScience—announced that it would immediately pull methyl iodide off the shelves in California and across America.

As you may recall, methyl iodide is so carcinogenic that it is actually used in labs to create cancer cells. It’s also a known cause of fetal deformity and a neurotoxin, thyroid function disruptor, and groundwater polluter.

Unfortunately, the toxic chemical was approved for use in California late last year. But because of your support, Earthjustice went to court immediately on behalf of a coalition of groups and farm workers to challenge this approval. When it became evident that there were glaring legal holes in Arysta’s defense of methyl iodide, the pesticide-maker decided instead to suspend sales of methyl iodide effective immediately across the United States."

I stopped eating California strawberries years ago, once I discovered how much better Oregon strawberries are. This year the Hoods and Seascapes  I planted in our garden have finally spread over the rocks and dirt at the edge of our property and I look forward to a delicious crop, once spring finally arrives. But whether you grow your own, buy them in the farmer's market, go out to the farm and pick your own, or get them at the grocery stores, here's to a time when all strawberries are forever free of methyl iodide.

No comments: