Plump, red, sweet, juicy…how many adjectives can you think of to describe strawberries?
Michigan strawberry season begins this week, and will last for about three weeks.
There are many new varieties of strawberries being developed that produce a large spring crop, and continue to bear fruit all summer and fall, extending the season. A member of the rose family, strawberries are the only fruit to bear seeds on the outside.
A native North American plant, strawberries were discovered by European explorers in 1588. American Indians are thought to have made the first strawberry shortcakes. Journals mention bread made of ground corn meal eaten with fresh berries picked carefully cultivated patches.
“The crazy weather this year has affected the berries,” says Dwight Carpenter of CARPENTERS ORGANICS at the Northville Farmers Market. “The berries started blooming early in the warm spell, but the cool nights are slowing down the ripening. Within the next ten days or so the strawberries should peak.”
Strawberries don’t continue to ripen after they’re picked. For maximum freshness, choose plump, red berries with bright green caps. Pick through the berries and
remove any bruised or moldy ones. Don’t remove the caps, or wash the berries, but store them uncovered in the refrigerator. Just before serving, wash the berries briefly in cold water, but don’t soak them, remove caps, serve and enjoy.
In spite of the crazy Michigan spring weather, according to Dwight
Carpenter, the two biggest problems that growers have with strawberries are
hungry birds, and hungry berry pickers!
Michigan grown strawberries are available at the Market from several vendors beginning this week.
See you at the Market!