The other day I teared up at the grocery store, my eyes welling up unexpectedly. I’d not been prepared to see an old friend, a friend that I had said goodbye to in June.
The local strawberries had arrived, pollen still clinging to their little green tops.
I eschew strawberries all year except when they are in season where I live. Why? Because I don’t like strawberry-scented, uber-disappointing, you-hoodwinked-me-again cartons from afar that woo me with their bright red fruit and BOGO status.
Ripe strawberries are deep red and sweet, and I am so happy to enjoy them again. A strawberry means so much more than stellar smoothies and the perfect topping for my goat cheese and kale salad.
To me, it means the start of something, the beginning of my favorite time of year when I can’t eat enough cucumbers, okra is coming in, and my neighbors are trying to sneak yet another bag of eggplant onto my screen door handle.
Summer is coming.
This is from a woman who as a child really only liked the tropical fruits (and hey, Charlotte was a long way from Hawaii). My little tongue was more than occasionally coated with Little Debbie Zebra Cakes or sugar sandwiches my grandmother snuck me when no one was looking, so I couldn’t see the big deal about strawberries. They weren’t cinnamon Pop-Tarts, so I didn’t crave them.
But a few years ago, when I signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture program), the weekly bag of seasonal produce helped push me to find my “sweet spot”—eating local in season with very little processed food. So strawberries became by Little Debbies, and I have to say, they make her sugary smile feel hollow.
Go to the fields. Go to the store. Go to the farmstand. Strawberries are here, and summer is around the corner.