I know someone who absolutely loathes the cafe/bakery Bittersweet. I don't, but I always think of that person, her story, when I think of Bittersweet. And I always think of Bittersweet when I think of strawberries. See, nine times out of ten, if you shop/eat at Bittersweet, you will see something done with strawberries. It will be very pretty, exactly sliced, glazed with apricot in the French style, showcased. A perfect, ideal example of what a strawberry is not. Because strawberries are red.
The Bittersweet strawberry, like so many strawberries looks like a candy cane, perhaps a chioggia beet if trendy. It tastes, well at times there may be a fleeting sample of that light red flavor, the one not quite cherry, that is called strawberry, but mostly they taste like fruity potatoes. Strawberries should be red. Ripe. Like amply found at Green City yesterday.
A lot of produce sings farmers market to me: heirloom tomatoes, concord grapes, sugar snap peas, but strawberries top them all. It is a product so rooted in local and seasonal and so abused by our industrial food chain. Let me skip the rest of the details. Just get yourself to a farmers market soon. The strawberry season is short.
Of course there are strawberries and there are strawberries. And of course, I'm a bit bias towards my friend Farmer Vicki of Genesis Growers, but if her Earliglo strawberries were being sold in San Francisco, She'd be in the Slow Food book. I found almost as good strawberries at Hardin Farms and Country Cottage. I was less impressed with what Krug Farms had (now, their asparagus, that's another story that I'll get to in a second). I'm a big fan of Nicholl's Farm's strawberries, but I did not get any this time.
Besides strawberries, well as I said, Krug's asparagus, giant shivs of purple; Russ Parsons in his How to Pick a Peach weighs in on the thick/thin asparagus debate (finding like me, merits in both); these giants, he would say, have more of the tender aspa-flesh under their deep purple skin (too bad that purple goes away in the pot).
I've really been liking the stuff at Growing Power (great cause too).
We got some tomatoes, some lettuce, a chicken, more edible flowers...
Other purchases: Green Acres=watercress, young shallots, cavalo nero, some other cooking green; Genesis Growers=arugula, thyme, icicle radishes; Nicholl's Farm=spinach