Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I went to the Lake Merritt farmer's market Saturday morning and got a basket of strawberries, and just now had some of them with my lunch. And I am here to tell you there really aren't too many things better than the sweet, dark, creamy fragrance of slightly over-ripe California strawberries in season. This incredible smell doesn't come from the strawberries that you buy at Safeway; I think the difference is that Safeway strawberries are picked green in order to make them travel well, and the farmer's market strawberries go more directly to the consumer - they are picked closer to ripening, and don't have to travel too far. To do it right, you really should go to the source - to the Central Coast, where I grew up, and get your strawberries from a location as close to the field as is available. And the strawberries you want are those ones that are just hitting that edge between ripe and rotting - based on my empirical research, there is a very short window for this, of about one or two days. And then you have your perfect strawberries, and that wonderful fragrance, which must be what it smells like in heaven.