The two major types of strawberries are winter/spring strawberries, harvested from November to May, and summer/autumn strawberries, harvested from June to November.
Strawberries grown in Aomori are generally winter/spring strawberries. The major producing areas in the prefecture
are in Hachinohe, Oirase, and Inakadate.
Featured in this article are the strawberries from Hachinohe, the largest strawberry production area in the
prefecture, and from Inakadate, where efforts are underway to establish the name of “Inakadate Strawberries.”
The Ichikawa district of Hachinohe is a major producer of strawberries. Because this area is exposed to the cold
northeasterly Yamase wind and frequently experience cold damage, farmers were forced to look for jobs in other areas such as Hokkaido to work as herring fishermen during certain seasons. Strawberry production took hold in full-scale to ensure farmers would not need to migrate for work.
In the beginning, strawberries were grown exclusively in the open field. Gradually, farms were upgraded and
facilities built to extend the production season. With improved cultivation techniques and new varieties introduced, this region is now able to produce strawberries all year round as one of the major production areas in the prefecture.
Inakadate is known as one of the best rice-growing areas in the prefecture. Since many of the rice growers produce strawberries after the rice season, winter-spring strawberries make up most of the production.
The Inakadate Strawberry Research Association, organized by the growers, have worked to establish the name of
Inakadate Strawberry. They conduct regular checks to ensure high-quality shipping standards as well as quality
improvements and maintenance of taste, shape, and appearance of the strawberries.
The size, sweetness, and acidity of a strawberry are dependent on the variety. The most commonly grown winter/spring strawberry varieties are “Tochiotome,” “Sachinoka,” and “Benihoppe, while the commonly grown summer/autumn strawberry variety is “Suzu-Akane.”
In addition, the variety “Royal Queen” is also grown in Inakadate.
Strawberries gets damaged relatively easily making them not suitable for long-distance transport. Aomori strawberries are mainly shipped within the prefecture, but are also shipped as far away as Hokkaido by ferry from Hachinohe.
Tochiotome (Harvest season: November ~ June)
Characteristics: Large fruit, very sweet with little acidity
Sachinoka (Harvest season: November ~ June)
Characteristics: Very sweet and flavorful. Fragrant with firm flesh.
Suzuakane (Harvest season: June ~ November)
Characteristics: Little acidity and long shelf life when compared to other summer/autumn varieties
How to Choose the Best Strawberries
The secret to find particularly delicious strawberries is to choose those with a shiny appearance with fresh green leaves that are arched.