Strawberries and Cream

There’s nothing like fresh strawberries in season. I took a trip to the local farmers market and sure enough, there were strawberries on the first table and Mennonite girls behind the table collecting money.

Perfect, that’s just what I’m looking for. But hmmm, that’s odd … they’re in plastic boxes. I wouldn’t expect Mennonites to be using plastic boxes.

Looking closer, it turns out they were selling California strawberries … and Canadian tomatoes … and Mexican plums. It looks like even at the farmers market you need to check your labels.

So what’s the difference between California strawberries trucked all the way to Northeast Ohio, and the ones grown right here?

To start with, the box on the left was originally $5 marked down to $3. The box on the right was half the size, and $5.

Second, the California berries were generally larger, but the local ones were generally darker red.

That’s it for differences you can see on the table. Now let’s prep some. First tear the leaves off the top.

There’s still a piece of stem you need to cut out. You can do this with a paring knife, but there’s a special tool for it.

Normally I don’t like single-use kitchen gadgets, but this one is so much faster it’s worth the minimal space it takes up. So how much faster is it?

Cut them in half and you’ll see the next difference. The California berries are hollow inside, the local ones are more solid all the way through.

Cut all the berries into bite-sized pieces.

Add some fresh, sweetened whipped cream.

And that’s it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Ryan for pointing out, somehow I forgot to mention — yes, the local berries were more flavorful. If you weren’t comparing them back-to-back you would probably never notice the difference. I suspect it will be the same with most local foods; the long-distance version will taste okay, until you compare it to local.

If you like food at all — and since you’re reading this I assume you do — you’ve got to check out this cartoon: Three Panel Soul