When I was young, my father would wake me in the early morning to go strawberry picking. He didn’t know how to do my hair, so he would stuff it in a baseball cap. The vendors would think I was a boy. Sometimes, my sister would come with us, too. The house was searched for any empty container to bring with us to the strawberry field. It was a short ten minute ride from the house. Once there, we would go from row to row, eating and picking strawberries. As we brought our containers full of strawberries to the weighing center, my father would joke that my sister and I needed to be weighed, too. Once at home, we would help my father clean and trim the strawberries. Eating and laughing. I would say, “This berry doesn’t look good. What do you think?” He would place the berry in his mouth and proclaim, “It taste good to me!”
Growing up, strawberries were not available year round. Their appearance in the stores signified the arrival of summer. Today, with many produce available year-around, the specialty of berries has decreased. Ironically, the year-round selection doesn’t have the same sweetness as the local, seasonal variety.
As one can knows, there are no strawberry fields in New York. One of my first New York discoveries was walking straight into the middle of Union Square Farmer’s Market after one of my classes. It was a spring day, and rows of strawberries were displayed. I love the farmer’s market. It reminds me that I’m not far away from clean air, green fields and fresh produce, but I am eight to ten hours away from home.
Thanks Dad, for all the foodie memories. Happy Father’s Day!
No recipe for preparing strawberries in this post. I enjoy eating them with vanilla flavored soy milk. Some people love eating them with fresh cream. Depending on their sweetness, the amount of sugar or balsamic vinegar varies. Of course, add them to cereal, too. When I was in high school, a friend’s mom made us a delicious dinner, in which she served us a green salad with strawberries.