Why bother with those wantonly oversized pale fruits that come in the plastic boxes all winter long from California, that give barely any aroma when sniffed? They are equivalents of the rock hard, styrafoam-textured Florida tomato – a freak of nature from an era when we thought we knew better. Don’t trouble yourself for the 3.99, 5.99, 4.99, whatever off-season cost; they might tempt, but they are pale harlots in comparison to the current yield from our local strawberry patches.
Yesterday, we stopped by the 82nd street Farmers Market to drop off some textile recycling, and found real strawberries: the crazy shapes, dotted with seeds that crunch in your teeth, and the heady scent. A quart came home with us. These are the berries my grandfather picked at the Pick-Your-Own patch, these are the berries that came sliced, with granulated sugar (amazingly) at my Mom Mom’s table, this is what I ate as a kid. Eschew those wan and flavorless wintertime substitutions: they will always leave you unsatisfied in the face of these beauties.