During the fist week of May, artist Leah Gauither traveled from Harpswell, Maine to Orcas Island with a handful of Marshall Strawberry plants. The Marshall Strawberry - once deemed by James Bear as the tastiest berry ever grown - was on Slow Foods most endangered foods list just 8 years ago. During the 1930s and early 1940s, the Marshall Strawberry was grown on Orcas Island and disbursed throughout the mainland. However, with a shortage of field and barreling plant workers during World War II the plant became unattended to, sick and almost extinct...except for a few precious plants residing at the USDA's Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. Since 2007, Leah has been lovingly working to help revive this American treasure.
During her visit to our school garden, she spoke with our students about her revitalization work and even got her hands dirty teaching us how to carefully uproot and trim our garden grown strawberry shoots to ensure another successful growing season. To make her visit even more memorable, she graciously donated TWO Marshall Strawberry starts to allow our students to have a hand in helping this tasty berry make a come back!
Thank you so much Leah for sharing with us your amazing work. We can't wait to eat the berries that bloom from these plants!