Strawberry season! A detour to the Carlsbad strawberry fields brought a rush of memories from a childhood filled with the decidedly California fruit which thrives along the coast. Rows upon rows of the plants with dark green shiny leaves and beautiful white blossoms fill crop land from San Diego north to Monterey Bay.
From the blossoms, come a pale green version of the deep red goodness to come. The University of Illinois Extension dedicates part of their website to “Strawberries & More.” Although strawberries are grown “in every state in America and also every province in Canada, 75% of the nation’s strawberry crops come from California.”
They are the perfect finger food. Everyone has their own favorite way to eat strawberries. You get a strategy of attack going, like with Oreos or Peanut Butter Cups. You can grab them by the stem and take a bite. Or cut off the stem and slice them for toppings. If you top the sliced berries with a little granulated sugar and pop them into the fridge, you’ve got an extra sugary, syrupy treat. Our favorite MESSY way to eat them as kids was to dip the raw fruit into powdered sugar. (But you have to be careful not to breathe in while you’re taking a bite! It’s a choke-fest if you accidentally inhale the sugar.)
Back as a kid, I also remember Mom buying those big “Tub O’ Strawberry Glaze” from the produce section to make a cold strawberry pie. Just top cut off the stems and leave the strawberries whole. Mix with the glaze and prettily place them in an already baked pie shell. I hated this version because I had to wait eat them.
Nope. The best way is fresh from the fields. Straight from the farmers. Or should I say, straight from the farming families like at the Carlsbad Strawberry Company. You buy your half flat (3 baskets) or full flat (6 baskets), and then nothing’s stopping you from eating at least one (or two or three) in the gravelly parking lot with a view of the fields. They are warm, full of sunshine and juicy enough to stain your shirt and drip on the ground.
Hungry yet? Here’s some other places to get strawberries (hopefully near you) . . .
- Carlsbad Strawberry Company (U-Pick starting on Cannon Road in mid-April this year)
- Tanaka Farms in Irvine (has a rather costly tour, but you can buy right from the stand w/o the tour)
- Manassero Farms Stands all over Orange County (Irvine, Brea, Cerritos, Tustin)
- Garden Grove Strawberry Festival (May 28th-31st, 2010)
- California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard (May 15th & 16th, 2010)
- Monterey Bay Strawberry Festival in Watsonville (July 31st & August 1, 2010)
- Don’t forget to find strawberry vendors/farms at your local Certified Farmers’ Markets in Orange County
- Visit the California Strawberry Commission site to get a FREE iPhone App called California Strawberries (which has 50 recipes!)
- You can even follow @CAStrawberries on Twitter or become a Facebook fan
*This is NOT a sponsored post.