Friday, June 27, 2008

Things I am Learning About Strawberries

Strawberries and spinach and chard are the first crops of mine that are ready to be harvested in the edibles garden Adam, my mom and I are religiously planting and tending. As I picked a mix of both alpine and garden strawberries today from our two big patches, I had some revelatory moments about this lovely plant which before had pretty much existed to me only in the form of berries in a plastic clamshell.

Strawberries are surprisingly generous.
They are like that friend who you think forgot your birthday, but then you come home and she has planned you a whole surprise party and all your friends are there. One day you are looking at the plant and thinking there may be a pretty scant supply for the summer, but then thte next day you look and you have to carry them in your dress because you can't fit them all in the little bowl you brought.

Strawberries are a lady.
They like to be picked gently off the plant by the stem. I always thought I would be plucking the berries themselves, but they don't roll that way. When I tried to do that they pretty much exploded in my hands, especially the alpine berries. I also destroyed quite a few by power washing them in a colander. I forgot that these are truly ripe berries that need to be handled with care, not the store bought faux ripe ones that you could send through a car wash without incident. 

Strawberries are nomads.
Hey, Strawberry! What are you doing in my lettuce patch? You girls are crazy!

Strawberries are simple.
Before moving here I pictured myself making all manner of strawberry pancakes, pies, jams, and ice creams out of the harvest from these plants, but I have not been able to bring myself to fry, bake, stew or chop even one berry. I'll leave that to the U-Pick berries I'll be getting and throwing into my freezer in a few weeks, for now, this is the taste of early summer at it's most unabashed and stained with pink smears.

picture of stawberries to come...


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