by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | “Strawberry Fields Forever” was a song evocative of childhood, not only for its writer, John Lennon, but also for untold others out there. Even if you’re not a Beatles fan (but that’s ridiculous, really), the words ‘strawberry fields’ surely evoke at least one memory at a local u-pick farm, eating the sun-kissed berries in the sunshine. With the recent burst of good-ish weather we’ve been having, the strawberries are ripe and bountiful. Go to a farm and pick some organically grown ones; visit the farmers’ market and pick up a pint or two; or grow some yourself! One thing to note – if you obtain strawberries in any of these ways, you get to eat them at their peak – as opposed to when you purchase strawberries in the grocery store (for which they’re most often picked under-ripe). Strawberries have a very short shelf life when picked ripe, keep in mind, so have your uses for them ready. Strawberries have been fervently adored and cultivated in France as early as the 14th century, and varieties native to the Pacific Northwest, such as Pacific Beach Strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) and Wood Strawberry (Frageria vesca) have a long history of being foraged in the wild. There are June-bearing varieties, which are currently in season, and ever-bearing varieties that set fruit throughout the Summer and into Fall.
But what to do with all of them? Eat ’em right off the plant to feel the complete satisfaction for sure, but also make jam, pies, strawberry shortcake, and you can freeze a few bags, too, but resist the temptation to buy imported, commercial, tasteless strawberries later on in the dead of winter when you’re crave them for restorative smoothies. Oh, and one last idea…
Simple Strawberry Mint Sangria
1 bottle of rose, your choice – dry or sweet
½ cup Triple Sec
¼ cup simple syrup
2 cups sliced strawberries that you picked yourself
1 lime, thinly sliced
¼ cup mint, torn up and bruised
Throw all of these delicious ingredients in a pitcher, let mingle for 2 hours, and then serve over ice. Hello summer!
Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.