Friday, August 6, 2010
Strawberries: not just good, but good for you!
A few weeks ago, as I was selecting beautifully fragrant strawberries at the local farmers’ market, the enterprising young grower selling them told me I could come and pick them myself – at half the price he was charging at the market! My family and I went for a short drive to the strawberry farm and as we got out of our car, a beauteous scene unfolded before our eyes: row after row of ruby-red, ripe strawberries glistening in the afternoon sun.
We were handed two wooden crates and set about filling them in the company of the friendly farm dog. Within ½ hour we had picked 8 kilograms of sweet, aromatic mara des bois strawberries, probably the most fragrant of all strawberry varieties, with a flavor resembling the sweet, spicy miniature forest berries you sometimes discover on particularly successful country walks. (They remind us why the Italian name for strawberry is fragola – essentially meaning ‘fragrant.’)
Best of all, the berries had not been treated with any chemicals; to rein in the weeds, the farmer had covered much of his field with black plastic sheeting into which he had cut holes for the strawberry bushes to grow through.
To ring in the changes, I recently came up with a savory strawberry sauce that’s delicious with chicken or duck; if you would like to try it, I have posted it on my website.