Nothing tastes like summer like a punnet of fresh strawberries, and in Scotland we produce the best in the world.
Fruit growers are thankful for the “goldilocks” weather – it’s just right – that makes for perfect growing conditions with longer hours of sunshine and cool breezes so the sugars have time to build up slowly as the fruit ripens.
In Lidl, the strawberries come from the beautiful Fife coast where Andrew Todd and his family have been farming for decades. “It’s mum, dad, brother and myself – a real family business,” says Andrew.
“Mum and dad came over from Northern Ireland 30 years ago and bought this farm where there were five acres of raspberries and five acres of strawberries, all outdoors at that stage, which they had to pick – and they loved it.”
Today the farm also has polytunnels and they have invested in a renewable biomass boiler for heat, extending the growing season from April to mid-November.
Each strawberry is hand-picked directly into the punnets by expert pickers, taking care not to bruise the delicate fruit.
“A lot of care has gone into the process, the pickers are trained not to touch the strawberry at all, they take it by the stalk and gently place it into the punnet. Attention to detail is crucial,” explains Andrew.
Winners of the Fresh Produce Retailer of the Year in the Retail Industry Awards 2021, Lidl are proud of the close relationship they have with their farmers and growers, building better partnerships based on shared values – including having as low an impact on the planet as possible.
By 2023, all Lidl non-organic British fruit and veg farms will be LEAF Marque certified, meaning a commitment to increase the environmental standards of its fresh produce range.
Lidl is also investing £15billion into British food, farming and production over the next five years and 60 per cent of Lidl’s products are sourced from British suppliers.
Sustainability is also very important to farmer Andrew.
“We’re always looking at ways of improving, and are investing in renewables. It’s been good working with Lidl because we’re cutting out food miles, with the depot only an hour down the road. We’re recycling all the plastic and all our punnets are 100 per cent recyclable. It’s a key part of our business.”
For the Eton Mess (serves 6)
1 punnet strawberries
300 ml double cream
3 meringue nests (crushed into small chunks)
Method :This hybrid dessert combines two iconic British food traditions, Eton mess and jammy scones, into one delicious teatime treat that everyone will love.
But whether you assemble them jam or cream first, well, we’ll leave that one up to you …
1. Hull the strawberries and dice into small chunks.
2. Whip the rich cream, using either a hand whisk or stand mixer, until stiff. Gently fold through two thirds of the strawberries and all the meringue for some crunch, mixing until well combined.
3. To assemble, slice the scones in half and spread with a thick layer of strawberry jam for a bit of stickiness. Divide the cream mixture between the scones and sprinkle over the remaining strawberries for a bit of bite. Top with the scone ‘lid’ and serve immediately.