The story behind the variety of strawberry we enjoy nowadays is a global affair that stretches across two centuries and three continents.
Way back in the 1500s, some French explorer noticed that the wild strawberries of Virginia had bigger fruits and brighter color than their European counterparts.
He brought some back to Europe and farmers started playing around with them. But it wasn’t until two centuries after that, that the modern strawberry began to take shape. This was thanks to another Frenchman, who noted while down in South America that the strawberries in Chile were even bigger and redder than the ones from Virginia.
Problem was, farmers couldn’t seem to get these Chilean strawberries to reproduce in France. They didn’t realize that the samples were all females and needed a little help to spur the reproductive process along. An accident solved the problem—some farmer over there planted some Virginia strawberries close enough to some Chile strawberries, and that got the romantic ball rolling.
A new breed was born: Fragaria x ananassa.