The fact that strawberries are on the Dirty Dozen list totally bums me out. They’re always at least double the price of conventional strawberries, and they often look rather…mushy.
I looooove local strawberries. You cannot beat the taste of a strawberry that was on the vine in the morning and on your plate by lunchtime (or sooner!). And even if you can get pretty close to the price of U-pick when California strawberries are on sale for $1/lb., there are still a lot of good reasons to buy locally.
Dear Michigan Strawberry,
I can’t wait until you’re ripe, my darlings. The first week of June, I’ll be checking the local farm’s website for your start pick date. How do I love you? Let me count the ways:
- You aren’t bred for longevity and firmness, but for – oh yes! – taste. Strawberries that travel across country have to sacrifice taste for looks.
- You didn’t burn gallons of precious fossil fuel traveling in a semi truck halfway across the country.
- You help me support local, family farms and keep small businesses alive. As someone who grew up in a small town as the daughter of a small business owner, I know the value of keeping my money local, even though it’s increasingly more difficult in this hyper-connected age.
- You give us a family outing to pick strawberries: outside, connected to the earth, teaching our children about science and Creation, and enjoying the fruits of our labor…literally. The value of hard work and traditional tasks can’t be underestimated in today’s fast-paced society.
- You make my kitchen smell FABulous when you’re sitting in the flat waiting to be cleaned.
- You’re so delicious in smoothies when I freeze you whole.
- You’re so delicious in yogurt when I freeze you sliced.
- You’re so delicious over ice cream when I freeze you sliced and sweetened.
- You go great in a dip when you’re fresh! And *fresh* is what I love most about you.
- You start to rot quickly. Strange, I know, but everyone has something odd they appreciate about the one they love that no one else can understand. I know that when fruit is fresh and real, the second it’s picked, it should begin to deteriorate. You push me to clean, store, bake with and – oh yes! – eat you quickly, and I don’t even mind it. I know that means you’ll be sweeter and juicier and even more full of Vitamin C to nourish my kiddos’ bodies.
- You made me laugh the first time we took our little guy picking. His bottom was entirely stained red from sitting in the patch, and he was so focused he picked a whole quart without even eating one! I dressed him to match you, in red overalls, but the white shirt underneath wasn’t so lucky!
We’re still finishing up the very last of last year’s pickings from the freezer and looking forward to FRESH. Much love – see you in a few weeks!
Yours in fruit, Katie
Check your local paper/websites for farms in your area, and buy local!
See the Food for Thought this week for nutrition info on strawberries.
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