Monday, July 9, 2012

Strawberry Dreams

Maybe strawberries say summer to everyone.

Or maybe they say it to me because I grew up in a town that claimed to serve the World's Largest Strawberry Shortcake during it's annual Strawberry Festival.

Whatever it is, nothing makes me feel more summery than the moment I spot red fruit peeking out from underneath green leaves.

And yes, I know you can purchase strawberries all year round at the grocery store but those aren't really strawberries. They might be called strawberries, look sort of like strawberries, but after that they lose any relationship to a real strawberry picked warm from the sun and eaten straight off the strawberry bush.

Real strawberries, as opposed to their mutant grocery story cousins, are not very big and not deep dark red. These warm, and sometimes slightly dirty, strawberries encapsulate summer. They are sweet, brief and best consumed immediately.

A few years ago I planted a border of strawberry bushes all around the stone patio in our backyard. Those bushes have become my bellweather for summer. Each year when I spot their blooms I rejoice because I know warm weather with it's lazy days and slower pace isn't far behind.

My strawberry bushes often provide breakfast, mid-morning snack and the opportunity to make a fancy dessert. Even though my children won't share memories of the World's Largest Strawberry Shortcake with me, I'm confident they are creating their very own summer strawberry memories.

Each morning when they come home from their marathon morning swim practice they collapse in the grass, pick strawberries and talk about the important issues of the day: BeyBlades battles, what Child #2 will do for his birthday and who's going to win So You Think You Can Dance.

I never interrupt that time because it's just for them, their time to bond, eat and relish summer.

I know when they grow up they'll probably cheat on summer strawberries with the supermarket variety. But I hope that somewhere in the backs of their minds I've helped forge a connection for them.

Strawberries, summer and bliss.

25 comments:

Dianne K. Salerni said...

We had strawberries growing around the deck of my old house. You've just made me remember how nice that was. I ought to think about growing strawberries in the flower bed next to our pool. I can imagine the kids picking and eating them while they play with their friends!

Joshua said...

I see those strawberries, and now I'm distracted thinking about chocolate-covered strawberries.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fortunately we have enough farmer's markets around here that we do get real strawberries now and then.

Barbara Watson said...

So true about the mutant strawberries at the grocery store. Most don't even taste strawberry-ish. I have a perfect summer memory picking strawberries with my grandmother. Thanks for bringing it to mind this morning.

Cassie Mae said...

You are killing this pregnant woman and her cravings!!! Gah, I'm drooling so bad!

Emily R. King said...

Great memories of summer. For us it's the raspberry bush in our garden. We've been spending a half and hour a day picking the berries. They're yummy over vanilla ice cream.

Christine Murray said...

This post literally made my mouth water. Sigh. Unfortunately strawberry season is brief in Ireland.

Pk Hrezo said...

My parents used to take us strawberry picking and it was like pure torture for me. lol I hated strawberries and being in the sun picking food I didnt like was UGH!!
So i have a bad relationship with the innocent little berries. I still dont really like them, but can eat them in certain situations. Glad you've had a better experience with them! :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'm not a big strawberry fan. But replaces those little bushes with the bigger raspberries ones and then we're talking.
Also, i love your kids

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I spent many summers picking strawberries and the ones in Oregon really are huge compared to the ones on the east coast.

Raspberries in the store bug me. We used to grow them and a fresh raspberry is bright red, not dark, brick red. Those are rotting.

Johanna Garth said...

Dianne, happy to have inspired you.

Joshua, I'm prelunch and now I'm distracted by chocolate covered strawberry thoughts too.

Alex, farmer's market strawberries are yummy!

Barbara, sounds like a nice strawberry memory.

Sorry Cassie! No more food posts for the pregnant lady ;)

Emily, I'm addicted to raspberries!

Christine, the best fruit always seem to have the shortest seasons.

Pk, that sounds miserable. You were stawberry traumatized!

Thanks Sarah. I'm pretty crazy about them too ;)

Diane, I know. Fresh is the only way to go with raspberries too.

Joanne said...

You have summer nailed.

M Pax said...

We used to go pick strawberries. I usually ate most of mine. Now I zap the store variety in the microwave for 20 seconds. Still yummy.

Carol Kilgore said...

Strawberry season has passed here until next year. But I agree, there's little better. Unless it's a fresh tomato. Now I'm hungry.

Kristen Wixted said...

I took my kids strawberry picking this year at a local farm (my bushes just don't produce enough to feed us the amount we want.) We had so much fun I made a iMovie trailer about it! I wonder if I can post it on my blog--that would be fun.
Hmmm...
I love the part about how you never interrupt that time for the kids. So smart.
Some time we'll get together too. Sox-Yankees game someday?
You in?

KatieO said...

Blueberries say summer to me - we did something similar with blueberry bushes along our pool fence ;-)

I do love strawberries tho... especially covered in chocolate!

Shell Flower said...

I love how your kids have "strawberry time". I'm sure it will live on in their memories as a part of summer. We have some raspberry bushes right outside our front door and they kind of do that for us. Just the other day I pulled a quick pot-luck dish out of that bush, as well. And it's finally warm here! Yay for summer. Oh, and I love that you used the word "bellweather" :)

Morgan said...

I love your blog!

And I love how much this post made me smile :)

Rachel Morgan said...

I've cheated on real strawberries many times :-( But I do also know the joy of picking and eating strawberries fresh from the bush, even if I haven't had the opportunity to do so very often.

Melissa Bradley said...

I love your passion for the strawberry. I am that way about blueberries. I can't enough of them and there is nothing like picking them right off of the bush.

Burnt by The Sun said...

Your kids are really fortunate to have this in their lives. They will know what a real berry tastes like.

naida said...

What a great post Johanna :) your kids are lucky to have real strawberries ripe for picking!

Chuck said...

I used to love eating wild berries as a kid...strawberries, raspberries...yum. Never got into the local rhubarb festival though, just not my thing!

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Johanna! Thanks for your recent visit to my blog.

Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits. I agree with you. The store bought strawberries are nothing compared to the fresh picked ones eaten right off the vine.

Talli Roland said...

I'm sure you have! My family had a strawberry patch and I used to pick and weed it. Now, even though I'm a continent away, whenever I buy strawberries, I think of home. :)