London - There's a new way to ingest strawberries at Wimbledon this year but
the public isn't invited and the famous berries from the nearby English county
of Kent aren't eaten with a spoon and don't come with cream either.
They are being blended to bits in a special type of "smoothie".
To keep up with the ever more arcane dietary demands of professional tennis
players, the Wimbledon catering service, which sells 28 tonnes of Kent
strawberries doused in 7,000 litres of Devon cream every championship, this
year installed Nutribullet food "extractors" in the players' restaurant.
"It was something we'd seen was becoming popular in Britain and so we
thought we should be offering it," said Jonathan Parker, Wimbledon's
director of catering.
The choice of ingredients for the "smoothie", including kale and
spinach, sunflower, pumpkin or flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, cashews, kiwis,
blueberries, raspberries, mineral water, ice, and, yes, the very same Kentish
strawberries sold to the public.
The blender breaks down the cell walls of fibrous plant foods and out comes
something that can be described as green liquid, with bits of other things
"They say they taste better than they look," said Emma Farrow, 21,
one of the servers at the "smoothie" bar - which also has normal
"smoothie makers", in the players' restaurant, on the top floor of a
pavilion with a delightful outdoor dining area overlooking the courts.
"It tastes very healthy," added co-worker Rhea Vernon, 20.
Parker said that only about 15 percent of the 500 or so
"smoothies" served up daily in the players' restaurant are of the
Nutribullet variety, but they have filled a need.
"Some of the players have got certain things they want in their diet
and that's what they do," he said.
As for the public getting a taste, that is as unlikely as one of the
thousands of people standing in Wimbledon's famous "Queue" for day
tickets being offered a free pair of Centre Court seats for the men's final.
"We would never keep up" with demand, Parker said. "We have
to be very careful with the products we have for the public, they need to be
The traditional strawberries and cream, meanwhile, remain all the rage with
the general public.
"It's a tradition," said Monique Valk, who works in insurance in
Rotterdam and was sitting on a bench enjoying a plastic bowl of the fruit with
She said she thought Dutch strawberries were sweeter, but she wasn't
complaining about the price.
"I think it's reasonable, £2.50 (R48) for 10
strawberries, or 12... that's typical Dutch, to count the strawberries,"