Yesterday I was on a mission to find strawberries. I don’t think I’d had a strawberry in about nine months and I was ready. Two farms were selling them but I was a little disappointed with what I saw. They looked a little on the under ripe side, and I wondered if I should hold off for one more week.
I don’t know if it’s the new setup of the market, or if there are new farmers there, or if its just that all of a sudden lots of things are in season, but I found myself drawn to a few stalls I had never noticed before. One had beautiful heads of butter and red oak leaf lettuce and bunches of multi-colored radishes so artfully arranged that I decided to forgo my usual mesclun greens and pick up a couple heads of lettuce instead. The nice man threw in an extra head of red oak leaf because he thought the one I picked was too small. At another stall I picked up a bunch of green garlic and a bunch of spring onions. I’ve never cooked with either before and I’m very excited about trying them. Maybe in something with that asparagus. I got some goat cheese and a sourdough baguette and some milk and a bag of the best pretzels in the world.
After about three laps around the market I decided I needed those strawberries, ripe or not. A few strawberries became casualties of the closing train doors. Last week it was the eggs, this week the strawberries. I got them home and rinsed off a handful. A few were a little on the pale side, but mostly they are perfectly ripe and delicious. Strawberries are one of those foods that have become so corrupted that its easy to forget what they are supposed to taste like. They are supposed to be red all the way through, they are supposed to ooze bright red juice when they are crushed between closing subway doors, and they are supposed to have an actual distinct flavor, sweet and fragrant.