Strawberry Season Has Arrived!
Last week fresh strawberries started appearing in CSA shares around the Twin Cities, and even though it was raining, people seemed cheerier for it. There is something about eating a fresh strawberry that renders me blissful, and I know I'm not alone feeling this way. Everything I've heard indicates the strawberry crop in Minnesota is fantastic this year, and I intend to take advantage of it.
The good news is that even folks who don't have a CSA subscription can enjoy the seasonal freshness of strawberries by heading out to a u-pick farm. Kedem Nursery in Hastings offers organic u-pick strawberries, and now is their peak time for picking.
- Select only plump, firm, fully ripe berries. Smaller berries usually have the most flavor.
- Find out if you need to bring your own containers for picking, and ask if children are welcome.
- Most farms sell berries by the pound.
- Don’t heap the containers too full – you can easily bruise the berries on the bottom.
- Remember berries will only last a couple of days in the refrigerator. For fresh-tasting local berries year-round, plan to freeze extra berries or make jam or jelly within a day or two of purchase.
- Consumers will find 90 strawberry patches and pick-your-own farms listed in the 2010 Minnesota Grown Directory. Searching online at minnesotagrown.com makes it easy to locate a farm, get directions, and contact information to call ahead.
My favorite strawberry dish is so simple: Pick up a pint of Cedar Summit heavy whipping cream, pour it into a chilled stainless steel bowl, drizzle some local honey into it and whisk until peaks form. Slice some fresh strawberries into a bowl. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with additional berries and a bit of fresh mint.