When is peak season for buying rhubarb (for strawberry-rhubarb pie) in Bay Area?
I'm a complete rhubarb newbie. I've never considered or sought out rhubarb before this Spring, so I don't know when or where to look. Does anyone have a suggestion on the best time of year to buy rhubarb in the Bay Area (for my first attempt at strawberry-rhubarb pie)? Do specific varieties of rhubarb matter for this pie? Does it even matter if I buy "local" rhubarb? (I saw light-red Oregon rhubarb at United Market last week. I think $2.48/lb.)
I've read on other sites that the end of rhubarb season overlaps with the beginning of strawberry season, but no regional information. I already (suprisingly) tried some pretty tasty strawberry samples at the Marin Civic Center farmers market on Easter Sunday. (Swanton was there, but unfortunatley no sample tray.)
Not sure about California, where agriculture is so highly engineered, but strawberry season would be the determinant, as it's much shorter. Where I grew up, it began and ended in June. Rhubarb basically grew all spring and all summer.
For those who think I have been disrespectful of California strawbs, here's what a REAL strawberry looks like:
Strawberry / rhubarb season coincide. Usually rhubarb comes first followed soon by the strawberries. Probably why that pie combo was invented.
I don't think that it matters in terms of rhubarb where you buy it as long as it looks fresh and the stalks are bright and not dull and old looking. Think of celery but a different color.
If you want to do a test run of a strawberry rhubarb combo, currently Sea Salt in Berkeley has a great rhubarb tart with a scoop of fresh strawberry ice cream.
The strawberry rhubarb combo is one of my favorites ... tart and sweet. Also, I grew up in New England and the rhubarb was the first thing in the garden to show life, sometimes pushing up through the last of the season's snow.
So rhubarb season is now.
I saw bright red organic rhubarb at both Whole Foods and the Bowl for about $4 to $5 per pound. I bought some at the Bowl last week and it was very tasty, just needed a bit of sugar after cooking.
At the beginning of April it was in stock but it looked green so I didn't buy it.