17 Apr 2023

Mourning the passing of Bernadine Strik


Italian Berry joins in mourning the passing of Bernadine Strik (pictured on the cover during a training meeting held at St. Ursula's Producers in January 2020) remembering her with a profile of her just published by our partners at Blueberries Consulting.

From Blueberries Consulting we make a very heartfelt acknowledgement in memory of Bernadine Strik, who will always be a reference point in the sense of constantly seeking more knowledge to collaborate in the development of blueberry as a product and as an industry globally.

We join the mourning of the international industry at blueberry and want to emphasize that Bernadine always had the special ability to connect with producers, to visit farms, to listen and observe every detail, identifying the problems that really affected them in their production processes. After these field trips, she designed her own research projects and studies, recognized for their scientific rigor, that went to the heart of these challenges, and then shared the results and how they were applied with producers and participants in the crop and its industry, because decision management and cost-benefit analysis have always played an important role in Bernadine's research.


When Strik began his career at Oregon State University in 1987, the industry standard was to plant blueberries five feet apart, in rows covered with sawdust or with bare soil and no trellis. Today, thanks to Bernadine's research, blueberries are grown two to three meters apart with the help of trellises, and the use of mulch is common. Industry profits in recent years, thanks to the development of this technology, have increased exponentially.


Bernadine Cornelia Strik was born in 1962 in The Hague, Netherlands, and spent the early years of her life on the family farm. At the age of three, her parents decided to move to Australia, mainly out of an interest in living in a new place. Six years later the family moved again, this time to Vancouver Island, Canada, where Bernadine's parents started an ornamental nursery farm and retail nursery, and it is here that Bernadine grew up.


In the fall of 1979, Bernadine began her undergraduate studies at the University of Victoria. He initially intended to major in marine biology, but fortunately changed his major to botany after being inspired by an influential professor. He eventually majored in plant physiology.


Berardine Strik and Gianluca Savini in meeting with St. Ursula producers in January 2020

In 1987 she moved to Oregon State University (OSU) where she taught and conducted research, and in 1992 Bernadine became Berry Crop Research Program Leader at the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) with the goal of developing better varieties of blueberry for the Pacific Northwest.

In 2003 he received the Outstanding Leader in the Blueberry Industry award from the Oregon Growers Association at blueberries for developing the high-density plant spacing method, which greatly increased yields.


Her research on blueberries production and nutrient management has had an impact that few have matched, and berry industries around the world have benefited from Bernadine Strik's research and her work as an academic lecturer.

Bernadine has authored or coauthored more than 150 papers, many published in peer-reviewed research journals and others for members of the berry industry. She has served on the board of the International Society for Horticultural Science and has devoted herself to research on numerous berry crops, as well as to improving machine harvest efficiency, production for the fresh market, and development of organic systems.

He has also been a member of the American Society for Horticultural Sciences, recipient of the Duke Galletta Award for excellence in horticultural research, the North American Blueberry Council; the Distinguished Service Award of the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Growers Association, and the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Oregon Blueberry Industry, in addition to many other awards during his lifetime.

With Bernadine, surely the wide meadows of Paradise will be dressed in blue very soon....

Source: Blueberries Consulting
Blueberries Consulting is part of the global network of Italian Berry

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