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Strawberry season starts - stand & shortcake sightings?

So ... What have you seen so far?

Junie D says the Napa stands are open.
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/391117

jillyju and lexdevil shared that there's strawberry shortcake at Bakesale Betty's
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/393827
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/393137

Ruth Lafler's said she saw Santa Maria strawberries at a the San Leandro Bayfair Farmer's market
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/394148

I spotted fresh strawberries tarts at Nations today. Shoulda stopped. Here's last year's report.
http://www.chowhound.com/topics/45289

Raley's has a $2 lb strawberry sale but right now the Driscolls are slightly sour & squishy. Skip them this week. Not as sweet as last season.

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  1. I've been buying delicious strawberries at the Berkeley farmer's markets (Tuesday & Saturday) for a few weeks now (Lucero and many others have them). They've actually been surprisingly sweet. Also, Sketch had fresh strawberry ice cream recently. Really good. They were out of the strawberry shortcake at Bakesale Betty's on Friday, so if you want it I guess you have to go early.

    1. New Mey Wah grocery on Clement had some baskets which I picked up on two different occasions. The first one was surprisingly sweet and delicious! The second time I went and picked up a basket, they were a little on the bland side. I think they were $2.99.

      1. Not shortcake, but Tartine had strawberries on its bread pudding this morning, and it was a delicious combo.

        1 Reply
        1. re: vinchar

          That means that Tartine's stawberry galettes can't be far behind. I know various 'hounds don't love all or even most Tartine pastries, but there really can be no resisting their strawberry galettes--keep an eye out.
          And speaking of which, Mission Pie (at 25th & Mission) had strawberry galettes today, of which I'm eating a half as I type. Very satisfying in a homey way--pastry a tiny bit bland and chewy but all in all very good, and stawberries flavorful altough the flavor's mingled (enhanced? muddied? you be the judge) with something else, maybe rhubarb (sorry for lack of discrernment). All in all, quite good and worth a try (unless Tartine's got theirs for sale).

        2. They had a strawberry shortcake booth at the Japantown Cherry Blossom Festival both this week and last. I didn't indulge because I've long ago given up on California strawberries,

          5 Replies
          1. re: Gary Soup

            Given up on California strawberries...what does that mean? You don't eat strawberries or you get them from somewhere else? You mean to tell me that there isn't one grower in all of California who grows strawberries to your liking?

            1. re: Jim

              Just that no matter how expensive, they don't have anything near the flavor of the berries I remember as a kid, which grew wild (and were therefore free) but only were in season for two or three weeks.

              1. re: Gary Soup

                I agree, I've never had a really good store-bought strawberry. Even the most expensive, organic berries have been picked slightly unripe. Otherwise, they'd fall apart and rot very quickly. The ones I grow at home I have to "share" with slugs and pill bugs but they're soft, juicy and tasty. I've even gone to U-pick farms, but the berries there never are allowed to fully ripen either.

                1. re: Gary Soup

                  Have you tried Swanton's strawberries? I think they are unfailingly delicious--something about ripening slowly in the cool coast air and developing lots of sugar. I indulged in my first 2 pints of the season at the market on Saturday. The u-pick berries are even better because you can pick them completely ripe (assuming you are planning to eat them within a day.)

                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    I felt the same way until I got the berries in the Two Small Farms CSA box a few years ago. I always ate the whole basket before I got home with the rest of the box.

              2. the civic center farmer's market on wednesdays has a latino family farm stand (medina??... yellow sign, always on the market side of the plaza, between the bart exit and mcallister) that sells "red-heart" strawberries. last week they were $2.50 a basket. they are absolutely fantastic.

                they might even be certified organic this year; i remember them being in the end stages of certification last year.

                9 Replies
                1. re: artemis

                  Are they red all the way through?

                  1. re: Gary Soup

                    yep, the basket i picked up last week was!

                    1. re: artemis

                      That's the way I thought all strawberries were, when I was a kid. I also didn't get the concept of paying money for them, because they grew wild everywhere, or so I thought.

                      1. re: Gary Soup

                        Last weekend while on our way to Mendocino from Reno we stopped at a roadside vendor just outside of Yuba City on Highway 20. The strawberries we bought there were not only reasonably priced (5 bucks for a flat) but were some of the best I'd tasted in a long time.......You knew they would be good before you took a bite...they smelled lovely too!

                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          Geez. Where did you grow up? I'm jealous. I grew up on terrible grocery store strawberries (and tomatoes for that matter), so I'm thrilled when I can buy good, farmer's market strawberries.

                          1. re: Gary Soup

                            Gary, if you're really looking for sweet strawberries straight from the vines, then you really should make a drive to Fresno and buy from the street stands. When in season, the strawberries are huge and so sweet. I think if you try them, then you won't be able to say that "all" California strawberries aren't good. Because the Fresno ones will change your mind, IMHO.

                      2. re: artemis

                        I wonder if those are Albions -- I believe they're one of the "red-through" varieties, and to me they're the most strawberry tasting of the commercial varieties.

                        I was at the Temescal FM this morning -- there were half a dozen or more vendors with strawberries, including Lucero. I didn't try the Lucero, since I didn't see them until after I'd already bought a 3-pack from Yerena.

                        In my ongoing exploration of the mystery of the non-labelling of strawberry varieties, I asked three of the "strawberry-only" vendors what varieties their berries were. One didn't know (boo!), and his berries weren't very good. One said she had Aromas and Diamontes -- I tried an Aroma and wasn't impressed. Yerena had Camarosas, Albions and "C23" -- a more orange-tinged berry the guy said was very sweet. Once again, I preferred the Albions and had him pick me up a box from the unmarked assortment on the table. Again, I marvelled that people didn't realize that the strawberry they tasted from the sample basket might not be the same as the basket they purchased. Then I turned around and saw Lucero. Their berries are very frou-frou looking: much smaller and picked with long stems. They were busy and I didn't have a chance to ask them about their berries.

                        Bakesale Betties had signs plugging their shortcakes all over the market.

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I stopped by Lucero at the Grand Lake farmers' market this morning. I was all ready to buy some of those "frou-frou" berries until I tasted one. Yuck! Bitter and muddy-tasting with very little strawberry flavor. She said they were Seascapes. I really don't like Seascapes. I don't even like Swanton Seascapes -- I think maybe my bitter-sensitivity is picking up a bitter component to them that maybe others aren't.

                          At anyrate, I don't see how *anyone* could have liked the strawberry I had at Lucero this morning -- talk about a triumph of style over substance!

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            I was told that Swanton was only growing Chandlers as of last year, not Seascapes at all.