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Daily Gullet Staff

Strawberries

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you're right, of course. were were talking about long-distant shipping, but i should have been more specific and said "continental united states".

Too bad, Russ. I picked a kilogram of wild strawberries last weekend (see here) and I could have sent you some :rolleyes: But I guess 'continental US' is a bit far after all :laugh: (Actually I've already made jam out of these, but I'm off to pick another kilogram on my secret wild strawberry field this weekend)

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oh ... that's just soooo not nice. actually, at the santa monica farmers market this morning one of my favorite growers had "wild" strawberries, though i'm sure that's not the same as picking them yourself. they have such an amazing candied flavor, like essence of strawberry.

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Three recent strawberry incidents:

1 - Had Tristar strawberries -- called such on the menu -- at Momofuku Ssam bar in NYC, as part of a strawberry shortcake. So delicious that it was a shame to serve them with cake, though the cream was nice.

2 - The grocery where I shop (Fairway) had "local strawberries" in cardboard tubs -- maybe 4X the size of a pint container -- for $4.99. Quite good.

3 - Bought some Earthbound Organic strawberries. These were just as bad as Driscoll's or any of the other non-organic brands.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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tri-stars are a fairly modern variety (they are day-neutral, meaning they'll bear for a long time), but they aren't used much "commercially" because they're soft. They're real popular with farmers market growers, particularly in the east and midwest because they come on fairly quickly.

local strawberries are always the best bet (i'd bet your tri-stars were grown locally, too).

as for earthbound organics ... that is hardly surprising. once more: follow flavor, not ideology.

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Interestingly enough, our local grocery store recently carried Dole strawberries (variety unknown, but California source) as well as Driscoll's. The difference in quality is pronounced, with Dole winning easily: softer, considerably riper berries that had a bit less white in the interior than the Driscoll's. They still aren't as good as locally-grown berries (the Bayfield, Wisconsin berries are hitting the stores here now) or the afore-mentioned and afore-worshipped Chandlers, but for commercially grown and shipped long-distance strawberries they're really quite good. I called the produce manager and told him so. I hope he tries to keep them coming in. My strawberry growing patch doesn't hold much promise, and the Bayfield berries will disappear in a couple of weeks.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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smithy, i'm curious: were those dole berries sold in pints or in clamshells (the sturdier clear plastic boxes)? i think clamshells hold a lot of promise for shipping fragile fruit, but so far, most packers use them for exactly the same fruit that goes into the pints. one exception is fresh figs, which would be all but unshippable without them.

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smithy, i'm curious: were those dole berries sold in pints or in clamshells (the sturdier clear plastic boxes)? i think clamshells hold a lot of promise for shipping fragile fruit, but so far, most packers use them for exactly the same fruit that goes into the pints. one exception is fresh figs, which would be all but unshippable without them.

Is the clamshell a clear plastic case, semi-rigid but crushable by hand, with vent holes cut around the base and top? If so, then as far as I know all the strawberries that come to this area from California are shipped in clamshells these days. The Dole clamshells were 4-lb packages, although I think I recall seeing them in 1-lb packages for a while. The smallest I've seen for strawberries in Duluth is a 1-lb package; without having one here to measure, I'd say it was about 10" x 6" x 4" dimensions. The 4-lb box was more the size of a half-flat of strawberries. Come to think of it, even cherry tomatoes come in pint-sized plastic clamshells these days. I can't remember the last time I saw the delicate plastic baskets in a grocery store around here, even though they're still common in California.

Strawberries brought in from Bayfield, WI only have about 50 miles to travel, so they're brought in cartons made of the same kind of "cardboard" that egg cartons are made from. The container is thoroughly wrapped in clear plastic wrap. Almost inevitably a berry or two is caught on the edge and dented, but there usually isn't much weeping.

Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries from the Pacific coast states all come in the same sort of clamshells (smaller, of course) to our stores. I think it's pretty good packaging, except that it's yet one more waste that may or may not be recyclable in our area.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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hiya music,

don't have any signings planned right now (well, there's one at my neighborhood library in Long Beach!), but i'm sure there will be more things as the summer moves along. signings are funny things and generally i try to keep them to a minimum and only at places i really feel good about--there's nothing like hanging out at a book store for 2 hours only to sell 5 copies. on the other hand, sometimes they turn out really well ... i signed at Politics and Prose in DC (hiya mr. and ms. busboy), and had a really great event in Santa Cruz, thanks to tana b.

I don't mean to put you on the spot :biggrin: but are you coming to Pasadena for a book signing?


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I had a botony professor that worked for Smucker's for 6 years, trying to develop a strawberry that shipped well AND tasted great. He couldn't do it. The poor guy can't even look at a strawberry now.

The season is waning but I think I bought 6 flats at farmer's markets in the past month, mostly just to gorge on, but some made their way into tarts, jam and shortcakes. I'd highly recommend the Strawberry-Creme Fraiche Tart in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours, if anyone is looking for a somewhat different strawberry recipe.

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I had a botony professor that worked for Smucker's for 6 years, trying to develop a strawberry that shipped well AND tasted great. He couldn't do it. The poor guy can't even look at a strawberry now.

The season is waning but I think I bought 6 flats at farmer's markets in the past month, mostly just to gorge on, but some made their way into tarts, jam and shortcakes. I'd highly recommend the Strawberry-Creme Fraiche Tart in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours, if anyone is looking for a somewhat different strawberry recipe.

Have you considered dehydrating some?. Strawberries make a nice addition to trail mix type snack foods.

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Hi all, thanks for such a good discussion on this. However, I'm afraid you have made a grave error....the omission of the fabulous Florida strawberry. I'm sure that there are many wonderful varieties in California and otherwise, but all the Plant City growers are absolutely fantastic. Perhaps the best part, though, is the ready availability at local grocery stores such as Publix. Any thoughts on this?


"Something about being in florida takes the edge off

laziness seduces you, invites you to take your shoes off and put your feet up, and whispers in your ear that nothing really matters

everybody else is having fun, playing golf, boating, lounging in the sun

it's hard to feel urgency about anything"

-Lee Irby

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especially at this time of year, there are fabulous berries all over the country. strawberries are one of the fruits that are most worth searching out at farmers markets (because most of the commercial berries are so lacking). they're like tomatoes and peaches that way ... so fragile the only way to get great ones is the FM or growing them yourself.

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Russ, I'm sorry I missed your book signing at the Hollywood Farmers Market.  I was expecting some kind of notice in the LA Times so that I would know when and where you were signing the book.  Are you doing any other book signings in the LA Area?

august 1st, wednesday at noon.

531 east colorado blvd

pasadena, ca 91011

the california school of culinary arts, lcb program retail and bookstore.

mapquest

it's very close to vroman's, but in the other side of the street. plenty to do before or after the book signing, it's a nice part of pasadena with lots of things to do, worth the drive if you aren't close to it.


I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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If you love strawberries, the place to go is the nursery, not the market I think. I found alpine strawberries at my local nursery, and as someone before me said, they are moron-easy to grow. Water them and they fruit. And if you hand one to someone to eat, they will know you love them dearly, to hand it over rather than hoard each one yourself.

That said, I still shiver when I recall Florence, with tiny strawberries everywhere, in the market and on gelato, tiny tart and sweet and dense with taste. Why do they live so well, why do we allow ourselves to be cheated?


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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