Hi. Barb here.
It’s finally strawberry season in Maine. We had a long, cold spring (okay, a longer, colder spring) and a long, snowy winter. Snow, it turns out, is good for strawberries because it protects them, and indeed, this year’s crop is delicious and super juicy.
For me, strawberries are always the most welcome indication that summer has finally arrived. When I was a kid, my father’s parents owned a summer home in Water Mill, Long Island. On the last day of school every year, my grandmother would pick me and my brother up, and whisk us, along with her father, my great-grandfather, out to Long Island Expressway for two weeks at the beach. We always stopped along the way and picked up the first strawberries of the season. Some of them even made it all the way to the house, where my grandmother would prepare her special shortcake biscuits. (So special, the recipe was miraculously printed on the Biscuit box.)
I love seasons, and I love things that are special because you can only get them in a certain season, for a limited time. Now that I’m a grown up, you can get strawberries at the supermarket almost all year round. Those berries don’t interest me.
But give me local berries straight out of the fields and I will eat them for three weeks straight, or however long they stay around. They’re precious, because they’re rare. And they tap our memories because we associate them with a time and a feeling.