My favorite daily email is The Skimm. It gives me a quick overview on global headlines, links for more in-depth explanation and then a few pop culture happenings. I was sorting through a slew of emails today when I opened The Skimm email. I scrolled through to the bottom when I read about GMO’s. What was stated about GMO’s was false. Usually The Skimm gets things correct. But today, The Skimm is wrong. Strawberries are not a “Genetically Modified Organism.” Most of your produce aisle at your grocery store isn’t. The only GMO crops grown by some farmers in the United States include eight crops: corn (field and sweet), soybeans, cotton, canola, alfalfa, sugar beets, papaya and squash. Want to learn more? I gather information at GMO Answers.
It’s also important to keep in mind farmers have choices on what they raise. There are seed choices just like we have food choices for GMO, non-GMO and organic crop production.But there are not GMO strawberries. Anywhere.
I visited a strawberry farm in California a few years ago. I learned from the farmer about the differences in his berry production and that he grew both conventional and organic berries for Naturipe. Farmers, in both the United States and further south into Mexico and South America can grow berries for companies like Naturipe that can supply all of us with fresh, bright berries year-round.
Until today I hadn’t thought about the breeding of strawberries. I dug into it here. Researchers and breeders have developed hundreds of varieties of strawberries through the years, for different climates, pests, sizes, color, specifics for food products and more. Breeding one strawberry variety can take 10-15 years. I’m not a scientist or a breeder. But I am thankful for research and progress in our food system that allows me the choice to purchase fresh strawberries throughout the year in my small-town North Dakota grocery store, regardless of the weather outside.
Every day I celebrate food choices and shared before about being a Food Choice Mom. It’s also important to me to learn about where food comes from and not just believe headlines. Unfortunately headlines, like The Skimm’s email, creates more confusion than clarity. I am sure it was an oversight but one that hopefully The Skimm’s editors can learn from and connect their readers to what GMO’s are and are not.