Although Aregua´s annual “Expo-Frutilla” (Strawberry Festival) doesn´t officially begin until next weekend, the road between Areguá and Ypacaraí is already jam-packed (pun intended) with strawberry vendors.
Several communities in the towns of Areguá, Ypacaraí, and Itaguá, are known for their strawberry harvest. The region´s humidity and sandy soil (thanks nearby Lago Ypacaraí) are ideal for strawberry production. Every year at the height of the harvest strawberry growers set up stands along the road between Ypacaraí and Areguá to sell their goods. There are actually two festivals, one held at kilometer 33.5 and the other at kilometer 34.5. Though they are run by different strawberry producer associations they offer essentially the same thing: strawberries galore.
Most strawberry farms grow one of two varieties: Sweet Charlie and Dover. As the name indicates, Sweet Charlie strawberries (pronounced “sui charly” in Spanish) are sweeter than Dovers. Sweet Charlies are generally more expensive and better for eating plain. Dovers tend to be smaller, less sweet, and acidic. This makes them better for use in baked good, juices and jams, all of which are available for purchase at the strawberry stands.
There are strawberry deserts such as cakes and pies,
And lets not forget strawberry liquors
If your mouth is watering after seeing these photos then I suggest you head out to Areguá anytime between now and mid-September to sample a couple (or all) of the region´s strawberry offerings. Most stands are open between 7am and 7pm and all are very busy on the weekends. Don´t let the chance pass you by – once the season is over it is almost impossible to get strawberries in Paraguay. What are you waiting for? Go stuff yourself with strawberries!