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.


Photo: RL Fifield.

About Becky Fifield

Becky Fifield is a cultural heritage professional with 25 years experience in institutions large and small. She is currently Head of Collection Management for the Special Collections of the New York Public Library. An advocate for preventive conservation, Ms. Fifield is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation, Chair of the AIC Collection Care Network, and former Chair of Alliance for Response NYC. She is also a scholar of 18th century female unfree labor and dress. There's a bit of pun in the title The Still Room, delineating a quiet space brimming with the ingredients of memory, where consideration, analysis, and wordcraft can take place. Ms. Fifield’s interests include museum practice, dress history, historic preservation, transit, social and women’s history, food, current events, geneaology, roadtrips, and considerations on general sense of place. Becky and her husband, Dr. V, live in the Hudson Valley.