Connecticut doesn’t stand out as a strawberry producer. The available berries are hand picked from local farms and sold for only a couple of weeks each summer. The first time we saw a sign for them saying “Native Strawberries,” we had no idea why an indigenous variety would be for sale. But it turned out that “native” just meant locally grown as opposed to imported from Florida or California. This week we went down the road to the produce stand and bought several boxes.
California and Florida strawberries flood our markets in May and June. They are big, bright red and usually pretty tasteless. They count on sugar and whipped cream to have much flavor. Local berries, however, don’t have to withstand long rides in refrigerated trucks, so they are more fragile and much more flavorful. The cost, usually twice that of imported berries, reflects the care taken to pick them by hand and bring them in each day. They are worth it.
Oregon, where I lived for most of my life, produces great strawberries. I would drive to a local farm, buy a couple of flats of them, and make strawberry jam. Here the price precludes that possibility. I remember Oregon berries tasting even sweeter than the native ones here, though that may just be nostalgia. At any rate, our local ones are good, available, and here for a very brief time.
In just a few weeks we will taste the first corn. “Native” of course.