Insert Strawberry Here

Strawberries

Locally Grown Strawberries

I swear strawberries grow like weeds in California.  I drive by several huge fields of them each morning on my way to work.  According to the California Strawberry Commission, (which I didn’t even know existed until about five minutes ago, but they have a really cool thing on their website called the Berry Report which shows up-to-the day information about strawberry production,) California grows roughly 60% of the entire US’s strawberry supply.  It’s no wonder they’re everywhere.

My grandpa grew up in San Francisco during the Great Depression.  Like most families struggling to survive, his got by on what was plentiful and cheap.  In northern California, that meant strawberries.  As the story goes, they ate strawberry shortcake every night for dinner during the height of strawberry season.  (Hearing the story for the first time as an eight-year-old I thought, “How cool,” until my mom explained that they didn’t have whipped cream or fresh Bisquick biscuits.  That kinda killed it for me.)  My mom said that you couldn’t get my grandpa to eat a strawberry as an adult if you tried.

And I’m beginning to understand and share his feelings.  Which is a shame really, because strawberry season is in full swing and I’m already pretty sick of them.

This past Saturday, I was talking with one of the farmers at the farmers market and even though I had just paid for two baskets of strawberries, I complained that, “I was sooo over them.  I just want peaches, cherries and grapes.”  “But we’re just coming into strawberry season,” she said.  When I explained that we eat seasonally and the only fruit we’ve had for the past three months is citrus and strawberries, she laughed.  “Sounds like me.  Truth be told, I’m tired of them too.”

But there is something to be said for having giant, fresh, strawberries available year-round.  I’ve made just about everything you can make using them.  I’ve sliced and mixed them with yogurt and granola for breakfast and made strawberry shortcake, cobbler, tarts, crepes, blintzes and various pies.  I’ve pureed them, frozen them and dipped them in chocolate.

Last weekend, Madison “invented” her own strawberry snack – sliced strawberries and banana (ironically as rare in our house as strawberries are plentiful – they’re only available locally a few weeks out of the year) covered with half-and-half and a sprinkle of sugar.  She declared it, “a delicious snack!”

So I probably shouldn’t complain, because the fact is, strawberries are dirt cheap here too.  I can get three pints of organic strawberries for as little as $6 during the height of the season.  The first winter I committed to eating seasonally (and before I knew that these red berries would be available year-round) I stockpiled them.  I froze about 10 pints anticipating a need for them for future pies.  Ha!  That time never came and I actually just threw the freezer-burned bag out a few weeks ago.  Always having a fresh supply of strawberries means you never have to preserve them.

Unless of course you’re a fan of strawberry jam.

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2 comments on “Insert Strawberry Here

  1. Zen
    April 12, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    I love strawberry season, I can eat them till I feel sick!

  2. Harry Weisberger
    April 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    Tell Madisonthat Grandpa makes that strawberry/banana “snack” too. Yummy

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