Last Thursday, our friends at Rittman Orchards came by with cases of juicy bright strawberries – homegrown meltingly tender strawberries-the kind that really taste like strawberries! Yes the short (and sweet) season for local strawberries is upon us and we’re excited to serve them. The uses for strawberries in delicious, dreamy recipes are nearly limitless. Of course we always like to showcase them at the forefront of a dish so that sweet juicy flavor and stunning bright color can really shine.
What makes these local berries the better of commercial strawberry varieties that appear, nearly 52 weeks a year at your local grocery? To put it succinctly, it’s a matter of good breeding and proximity. Commercial strawberry researchers worked to develop plants with a longer season, easier picking attributes and greater disease resistance. Growers sought to create fruit with extended shelf life, and a tougher texture that could be shipped long distances. Our farmers though, choose strawberry varieties that emphasize flavor above all other qualities. Typically these strawberries are smaller, and rounder without that fibrous white core you find in commercial berries. The smaller more delicate fruit is succulent, juicy and flavorful. But these fragile little fruits need to be delicately harvested and quickly deployed to happy eaters. Tender locally grown strawberries don’t offer the shelf life of their commercial cousins.
The arrival of the local strawberry season inspires us. We’re serving fresh local strawberries in a variety of ways. Try our endive salad with Rittman Orchard strawberries, local radish, candied walnuts, lucky penny goat cheese and champagne vinaigrette. How about our strawberry rhubarb crisp with ginger ice cream, or one of several other strawberry preparations you’ll find throughout the menu. Hurray in though because the season for local strawberries is short. Don’t miss out on all this berry good deliciousness.
Post and photos by Amy Viny