Siberian strawberry growers are using greenhouses to supply the local market with fruit during the winter months, according to a report from the Siberian Times.
Despite the extremely low temperatures, which can plummet to as low as -20oC, farmers in Irkutsk, in eastern Russia, have succeeded in selling their own strawberries at the Central Market in Irkutsk, at a price of Rbs200 (€2.77) per 150g punnet.
The growers planted the strawberries in August, relying on bees imported from Israel to pollinate the plants. Other vegetables including tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and radishes are also reportedly being produced in the greenhouses.
"We plant the strawberries in a greenhouse in August, and they bear fruit all winter, until June," said Tatiana Skakovskaya, chief agronomist at Angara, one of the largest agricultural companies in the region. "We buy the strawberry seeds abroad, as well as the fertiliser and mineral wool on which the strawberries grow. We bought the seeds last year, before the crisis. Now all the prices have risen due to the currency rates."
Supermarkets in the region usually stock only strawberries from Turkey or Israel, with imports from the Netherlands halted during the current embargo.