Someone recently asked on Facebook where to buy organic strawberries without plastic packaging. The last few years I avoided fresh strawberries because of the chemicals sprayed on them and the excessive plastic, so what better opportunity to investigate and maybe find them organic and plastic-free.
All Dutch supermarkets stock frozen strawberries. They are sold in cardboard packaging at Jumbo, Albert Heijn, Dirk, Vomar and Aldi. The only supermarket without a cardboard option was Lidl whose frozen strawberries only came in plastic. None were marked as organic and there was no chance to buy fresh without plastic packaging in any of the branches I checked.
All the frozen strawberries were the same quality. The fruits were large and white inside, but suitable for example for smoothies. The box from Dirk contained an unnecessary foil bag inside the cardboard packaging. The same foil bag was also in the box from Vomar.
A market stall seemed like a good place to try. The Saturday organic market on the Noordermarkt only sold strawberries in a plastic tub. Eventually I found one stall at Albert Cuypstraat 135-137 with organic strawberries in cardboard and no plastic lid. The punnet cost 4 euro and the strawberries were very good the first day but unfortunately mushy by day two.
The recommendation on Facebook was Groenteboer Marco on Jan Evertsenstraat in de Baasjes. This grocer has a wide range of organic loose fruit and vegetables alongside some pantry items, a deli counter and prepacked soups. The recommendation was to ask for Lombada strawberries. Marco knew exactly which I wanted when I asked for the ‘famous’ strawberries but he only stocks what is in season and Lombada are ripe in March/April. My 4 euro punnet came in cardboard and they were delicious plus they stayed firmer longer than those from the Albert Cuypmarkt.
A week after first posting this I found plastic-free strawberries at the Chouffie stall on the Ten Katemarkt. This stall is located on the corner of Ten Katestraat and Bellamystraat. It has the least plastic of all the fruit and vegetables in the market if you bring your own bags and you can pay by PIN. The strawberries and stall are not marked as organic but they were the same as found in Marco’s but 50 cents cheaper.
Later I also found the Prestige strawberries in Daily Fresh at Haarlemmerstraat 5. These were not labelled as ‘organic’ and the store could not advise if they were or not, only that they had been grown here in The Netherlands. As with the same ones from Albert Cuypstraat they were good for 1 day but very mushy the next.
A couple of people on Facebook suggested the organic stores Ekoplaza and Marqt. I checked 2 branches of each including the Ekoplaza on Jan Pieter Heijestraat that was hyped for the plastic- free aisle. Both sell fresh organic strawberries but only in plastic. The Ekoplaza version did have a cardboard box just with a plastic lid unlike the other supermarkets an stalls. The Marqt offering was very packaged with extra- firm plastic and a closeable lid. Both may have been some amazingly biodegradable or compostable plant-based version of plastic but only interesting in this city for those with a garden or compost heap. An alternative view about the plastic in Ekoplaza can be found on the link below
The other facebook recommendation was the Fruittuin van West. According to their website they did still have strawberries this week but I only found one. It was hiding among the raspberries under a leaf and not yet ripe. There were also none from their local farmers in the organic shop.
So overall I only found plastic-free strawberries in 2 locations in Amsterdam, both of which were organic. I did check several more grocers than mentioned here and will keep up the search, Please do let me know if you find any more options so thru can be happily tried out!