The Brief, Wondrous Strawberry Season
In my home state of New Jersey, the strawberry season is short—from the last week in May through early June. With this in mind, I decided that the only berries worthy of Mark Bittman’s almond crème anglaise in the New York Times last week were those that I could pick myself. My sister and I drove to Terhune Orchards, a 200-acre pick-your-own farm in Princeton that I’d found on LocalHarvest, a website with nationwide directories for small farms and farmer's markets. A week of rain had left the plants a bit droopy, but there was fruit galore and scrambling children competing to see who found the biggest strawberry. I chose only the darkest, most petite berries, which tended to be the ripest, while my sister preferred anything big and bright as a fire truck. I know my berries will be fabulous in a Melon-and-Strawberry Salad with Spicy Lemongrass Syrup or in a Warm Strawberry Crumb Cake from one of my favorite chefs, Gerard Craft of Niche in St. Louis. Or I might go the super-simple route and just top the berries with barely-whipped cream.