Saturday, April 7, 2012

First Strawberries

There is no food that says spring quite like the strawberry.  Each year, we anxiously anticipate their arrival and mourn their hasty departure.  The wonderful thing about this year is that the weather has been so warm that strawberries are making their appearances about two weeks early here in my part of NC, and that means that I woke up this morning with one thing on my to get my hands on some. 

Now, each year I purchase several flats of berries, but (and I am a little embarrassed to admit this) I have not picked my own berries since I was a kid.  I am not sure why.  Maybe it was my long-time hatred of insects (which has slowly decreased with age) or maybe it was that it just seemed so much easier to buy them from the farmers' market.  Either way, I have changed my ways.  Today, I went to a strawberry farm just outside the city and was converted into a pick-your-own fan. 

We really went to get a box of pre-picked berries, but once we got there, we thought, what the heck!  We grabbed a cardboard box made to hold 5 pounds of fruit and set out down the aisles of raised strawberry beds.  It was a little muddy since they ran the sprinklers last night to keep the berries from freezing, but it was so worth it.  As we walked the rows, we saw tiny bits of red peaking out from beneath leaves.  Some were not yet fully ripe, but oh the excitement when we came upon those that were.  It was like finding little hidden jewels.  We were quick to show off the best ones we found, and it developed into a little competition to see whose row had the most ripe and ready berries to pick.  I think my husband won, but all the berries went into the same box, so does it really matter?  I think not. 

When we got back to the car, I grabbed a berry, sat down in the driver's seat, and slowly ate it, savoring the taste of spring.  There is nothing like a strawberry.

Now, I realize I should post a recipe made with my bounty, but (as of yet) I cannot bring myself to do anything with them other than wash and eat. 

I hope you enjoy your first strawberry when it arrives.  Savor it and make it last as long as possible.  It will be so worth the wait!

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