The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross


Dear Sisters in Beta Sigma Phi,

A letter from one of our sisters in Texas was recently received requesting information on how the strawberry came to be the official fruit of Beta Sigma Phi.

Bill asked me to respond to this letter and following is the story.

I've been a collector of strawberry 'things' for over 30 years (I was very young!). A dear friend and former neighbor once asked me what fruit or flower I thought most beautiful. My immediate reply was the strawberry. She started me with my first collectible piece which was a large gold thimble filled with ceramic strawberries, blossoms and leaves trimmed with gold edges. These many years later, that special friend is still one of my best, dearest and closest friends and her remembrance has taken pride-of-place among my collection albeit a treasured piece. As a result of that first strawberry piece, my kitchen has always been filled with strawberries of every size, kind and use! At first I was going to limit where those beautiful berries would be in our home, but it's amazing how they've slowly found their way into other rooms and are used in a myriad of ways!!! Everything from dishes to teapots, picture frames to watercolor paintings to glass candies; handbags, clothes, pillows, pins to a specially made Beta Sigma Phi Friendship Quilt--all beautifully display my passion for strawberries! And there is so much more . . . .

Through the years, many of the new chapters I've established and later advised have showered me with strawberry Christmas tree ornaments. It's fun to decorate that special tree every year and think about those lovely Beta Sigma Phi sisters who gave me those exquisite strawberry ornaments! Some of you may know that our wedding rings were designed with the strawberry in mind, too. They are gold circles of engraved blossoms and mine has a heart-shaped ruby strawberry in the center with emerald leaves. Bill's ring is a gold circle of engraved blossoms.

Ever since I met Bill, I kept mentioning how neat it would be to have the strawberry as our 'official fruit.' We had our sorority flower; we could have our sorority fruit, too! It was all in fun. After we married, I started a campaign, so-to-speak, mentioning it to members whenever I had a chance. Coincidentally, it seemed that strawberries are the fruit most often served at meetings or conventions, no matter where we go around the world! I even thought about carrying a petition to those meetings and conventions and many of our sorority sisters encouraged me to do so! Perhaps I wore him down, wore him out or maybe he just got tired of hearing it but much to my surprise and delight I learned from Bill in January of 2000 that indeed, the International Executive Council had approved the strawberry as the official fruit of Beta Sigma Phi. Perseverance pays!!! ;-)

The yellow rose became our sorority flower because two members in California suggested it to our Founder. They thought it was so beautiful and could symbolize the Love and Friendship we share as sisters in our glorious sisterhood. If they could suggest the yellow rose, I could suggest the strawberry! There is another connection here as well. The strawberry is a member of the rose family. (Please refer to the information sheet that appears in The Strawberry Patch in The Beta Journal. You can log-on directly at It includes my thoughts about why the strawberry is ideal as our sorority fruit.

It is meant to be fun! Since we are now well into a new century, it is good to have something new and fun for all of us in Beta Sigma Phi. It has received great reviews with the membership for which I am truly grateful and absolutely delighted!

So there it is, the story of how the strawberry came to be the official fruit of Beta Sigma Phi. Perhaps Dr. William Butler, on the strawberry, 17th century, said it best: "Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did!"

Sending Beta Hugs, Strawberry Wishes and with a hand clasped in Friendship across the miles, I am

 'Thy Sister'

 Marilyn Ross

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