My parents would come wake me just after dawn on those blurry summer mornings. The air was still crisp and cool, with a heavy dew weighing down the grass under my feet. As the sun rose, a shadowy light encompassed the pristine green fields – rows and rows of fresh, ripe strawberries just waiting to be picked. I never particularly liked the picking part – my hands would get scratched and sore and I was still drowsy from the stolen hours of sleep. But I did like the results of the picking – the most flavorful, colorful, juicy strawberries you could ever eat, perfect for pies, shortcakes, on cereal, or even just on their own.
My parents stopped going to the “pick them yourself” strawberry fields eventually, mainly because supermarket strawberries became more and more affordable, and somehow it just wasn’t worth the price of gas (or the sound of whining children) to drive an hour or two out of town to get fresh strawberries. Supermarket berries just never tasted the same. Sure they were good, they were strawberries after all, but they didn’t have that rich, juicy – almost electric – flavor of a fresh picked berry.
It has been years - twenty? twenty-five? – since I’ve tasted such a strawberry, but the memory of it has remained in my taste buds. At the beginning of May, a new produce shop opened up right across the street from us, and when we bought our first strawberries there, I thought they looked extremely fresh. When I took my first bite I knew – these weren’t any ordinary supermarket strawberries, these babies were fresh picked, probably the same day! What paradise had I stumbled upon?
My husband and I can’t get enough of these berries. They are so delicious, so juicy, so fabulous. And just for a second they take me back to sleepy summer mornings in