As far as strawberry consumption and enjoyment goes, things were looking quite good back at the beginning of college. The discovery of how well they replaced bananas in corn flakes was revelatory in the dorm cafeteria, and they seemed to be good on their own when smuggled back to the dorm room and stashed in a fridge too small for much else.
Later that year a new friendship changed this blossoming fruit relationship into a full on binge courtesy of one Brian Driscoll. Raised on strawberries and the booming business that they had become for his family he naturally brought flats of them with him out to school after every trip home. In off campus housing by now, and with strawberries to spare, they found their way into margaritas, onto sandwiches, and into milkshakes.
At his wedding in Colorado a few years later papa Driscoll brought fist sized ones, replete with long stems which were dipped in chocolate and served fittingly before dessert. This should have been the height of strawberry consumption, but a strange thing happened. A move back east allowed for exposure to an entire other end of the spectrum – small berries, some even tiny.
Seemed that some lesser known varieties not suitable for the agribusiness world, due to yield and hardiness amongst other things, were being cultivated by East Coast farmers. Other berries such as the wild strawberries scattered all over Maine were also getting on the radar. These berries have a fantastic flavor and great texture, but hardly ever travel well. Excellent versions of some of these berries can be found at Greenmarkets throughout the NY Metro area, with special mention to Rick Bishop of Mountain Sweet Berry Farm for his Tristar berries. His berries are all over the menus of better restaurants in town as well including Lupa, The Tasting Room, WD-50 and Telepan.
Here are a few recipes from around the web where you can try your hand at an ingredient currently having its peak.
Claudia Fleming’s Strawberry Shortcake with Tarragon Cream
Strawberry Milkshakes – berries macerated in rum (registration may be required)