The hunt for strawberries…

Martha and I had our dinner and movie night a couple of days ago. On Wednesdays, I am a guitar widow;  Rumpole goes from work directly to dinner with a friend and then to his standing weekly guitar lesson. Martha rented “Death at a Funeral” for our movie treat. She made a supper of ribs, salad and for special dessert, strawberries and raspberries au nature. This time of year is special for it is when that yearly gift of strawberries can be so briefly savoured and treasured.

Last week, Looking For Beauty, dropped by after one of her local shopping forays and shared her treasure trove of local organic strawberries with us. They were perfect, blood red throughout, plump and sweet. it occurred to me that it might be so pleasant to pull out of the freezer a little bag, during one of those cold, overcast winter days when root vegetable stews are a customary diet. So off this gift of strawberries went into the freezer.

The local  strawberry crop had been much reduced this year, due to inclement cold early summer days and rains. The farmers are hurting; their crop yield is more than halved. So acquiring a small amount of this fruit to put up for winter delight has become a challenge. Today, Martha and I are trekking out into the valley to farmer’s stands, on the lookout for a small amount of strawberries by which to remember summer during those long dark winter days. It seems, that, once in while, a ration of a couple of berries, thawed out, sprinkled with a small dusting of sugar  will be such a bounty to share with friends and family.

This is far more meaningful, in my opinion, than purchasing unripe strawberries at the supermarket; the ones that come from Chile or  other far-flung places during our winter season are inedible and a waste of resource to import. Better to appreciate small amouts of what our land and weather provide, closer to home, than to vainly pretend that the seasons do not in any way affect our lives and pleasures.

Strawberries are a luxury, a gift and a delight. Maybe the ones we find today will have come fresh from the fields, warm from the reflected heat of sun on soil. And then, tomorrow, when Byline Woman and The Engineer come for supper, we can celebrate 40+ years of friendship by ceremonially tasting a touch of a shared summer.

5 Responses to “The hunt for strawberries…”

  1. tugster Says:

    nice piece . . . especially the part about local strawberries. i see farming in my future, as it was in my past. the city has its fine points, but . . .

  2. suburbanlife Says:

    tugster – Will, I didn’t do too well on the hunt. Just scored a pint of rather overripe berries. But they smell wonderful and some can be frozen for later small treat. I see farming in much of our futures, in my case, small suburban veggie growing, on our small bit of land. Have you got some acreage? The city is exciting and exotic, but maybe as we age we need closer connection to the soil, especially someone like you who comes from farming stock. My Dad came from a peasant family, and in his late 50s bought a small acreage and grew masses of vegetables and fruits. He loved reconnecting to the life rhythms of his young years.

  3. tysdaddy Says:

    We have an orchard nearby where one can pick strawberries ad nauseum. My son, the ultimate strawberry fanatic, loves going there and eating way more than make it into his little basket.

    Tonight, before he heads off for a week of volunteer work at our local zoo, it’s strawberry cheesecake.


  4. joefelso Says:

    I’ve been enjoying strawberries from the green market in Lincoln Park here in Chicago. A couple of weeks ago we happened to have those and some from the supermarket and the contrast was marked. A perfect strawberry—whether they are common or scarce—is a rare and valuable thing, well worth saving for a winter’s day. Happy hunting!

  5. lookingforbeauty Says:

    The BC berries were so sweet this year – packed with flavor. They are the best!

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