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Are good strawberries to be had yet?

Brussels Sprout May 7, 2009 01:32 PM

I need them for a strawberry shortcake. Anyone had some good ones from WF, BF, Gelson's or, better yet, Farmer's Markets?

  1. mollyomormon May 7, 2009 01:46 PM

    They're everywhere! Harry's Barry's generally has the sweetest, I think, but I just bought a flat from another vendor at the Samo Farmer's market yesterday for $11 (Harry's sells a three-pack for $15) and they're still pretty wonderful. Still, if I was making a special dessert instead of just chopping them up for my oatmeal, I'd splurge on Harry's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon
      Amuse Bouches May 7, 2009 04:21 PM

      Harry's Berries are the best but the most expensive, because they grow varieties that require more careful handling. They really are worth it though (and my cousin works at Per Se in NYC and says they get all of their strawberries from Harry's, so clearly Thomas Keller agrees with me).

      Savour Fare, a recipe blog

      1. re: Amuse Bouches
        condiment May 8, 2009 07:46 AM

        How on earth do they get them to NYC? The gaviotas barely make it home from the farmers market before they collapse into clots of red goo.

        1. re: condiment
          Jack Flash May 8, 2009 12:00 PM

          Last week, they told me that Martha Stewart had recently paid them a ton of money to hand-select a flat of Gaviotas and FedEx [or whatever] them to Chicago.

        2. re: Amuse Bouches
          young_chower May 11, 2009 08:13 PM

          Bought some Seascapes from Harry Berries at the Torrance FM last saturday. I think they were pretty good, a step above the ones I got the week before. They kind of reminded me of the strawberries from Chino Farms in Rancho Sante Fe (SD County). However, they are indeed very expensive and I'm not sure the higher level of taste justifies paying 2x-3x more. I'd get a basket to try them but stick to my prior source for the majority of my strawberries.

      2. o
        ozhead May 7, 2009 02:10 PM

        I have been buying excellent strawberries from one of the vendors at the Calabasas farmers market (Sat. AM) for several weeks -- Albion variety, grown in Oxnard. Sweet, firm, great color, minimal open space in the middle, large, and quite long-lasting. I have been paying $6 for a 3-pack; I forget what they are charging for a flat, because I don't buy that many at a time.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ozhead
          Wolfgang May 7, 2009 02:27 PM

          I had some great small Camarosas from original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax last week. $7 for a 3pack.

        2. r
          Rosiepigs May 7, 2009 02:46 PM

          i've gotten good ones at both studio city and hollywood Sunday Farmer's Markets. Anyone know their exact season, and peak?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rosiepigs
            Phurstluv May 7, 2009 03:46 PM

            I thought they peaked in June. Anyway, Ralph's had Driscoll's on sale last week 2 # for 1 and have to say they were only so-so. Better off at the F-Ms.

          2. j
            jillso May 7, 2009 03:25 PM

            They've been great for about a month now.....picked some terrific big deep-red pick-ur-own at Cal Poly Pomona campus Farmstore a couple of weeks ago.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jillso
              Dommy May 7, 2009 04:21 PM

              LOVE the Cal Poly Pomona ones... so well priced too! :DD


            2. g
              GK in SO May 7, 2009 03:50 PM

              Since strawberries are on the "must have organic" list (for us, anyways; it's on many of the lists of high pesticide fruits), I only buy mine from the Givens Organic stand at the Encino Farmers Market on Sunday mornings.

              The berries now are so big, sweet and juicy. Go see Hank who tends the stand, you won't be sorry! He's generous w/samples, too. A little pricey at $10 for a three pack, but well worth it to me.

              1 Reply
              1. re: GK in SO
                jillso May 8, 2009 06:16 PM

                I agree you should try to go organic with Strawberries. They can't even sell U.S. strawberries in Canada because they don't meet canadian standards for pesticides.
                Unfortunately , a lot of what is sold here in the U.S. as organic is not organic at all. I know an organic farmer who's farm gets inspected once every 3 years, and they tell him a month ahead of time that they're coming :(

              2. j
                Jack Flash May 7, 2009 04:19 PM

                Harry's has had their Gaviota variety at the local farmers' markets for about a month now; the Seascapes arrive sometime next month. Though they are not certified as organic, the folks at Harry's have assured us that they do not use any chemical sprays on their berries. Not the cheapest, but they may be the best and most consistent berry I've found.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Jack Flash
                  oldiebutfoodie May 7, 2009 07:01 PM

                  Harry's has Seascapes now. Got a 3-pack at Pasadena on Saturday. They are pricey, look a little funny, but taste INCREDIBLE! Understand they're to be found at Santa Monica also.

                  1. re: Jack Flash
                    kainzero May 8, 2009 09:43 AM

                    the gaviotas are certainly the best but they haven't been consistent for me at all.

                    over the past 4 weeks it's went from "omg i paid $15 for this?" to "omg i only paid $15 for this?" to just "pretty good"

                    1. re: kainzero
                      soniabegonia May 13, 2009 10:47 AM

                      those gaviotas have ruined me. can't eat any other strawberries. damn you, harry's, for having the best, juiciest, more flavorful strawberries I've had in a long, long time and costing me dearly - $5/pint is steep but I guess I'd rather pay that for great strawberries than $2 or $3/pint for mediocre ones. i've been disappointed so many times by bad strawberries. looking forward to trying seascapes...

                      1. re: soniabegonia
                        baloney May 13, 2009 11:48 AM

                        I bought Harry's seascapes once and sorely regretted not getting the gaviotas. I've never bought any other strawberry besides the gaviotas ever since I first tasted Harry's. And sonia, you're lucky as I can't resist buying the 3 basket tray. WEEKLY. And sometimes twice a week!

                        1. re: baloney
                          kainzero May 13, 2009 12:23 PM

                          the seascapes are good, but more for things like fruit tarts and smoothies where the sweetness of the gaviota is lost and the meatiness of the seascape comes through.

                          gaviotas are the best for eating out of hand, though. except for that offday i've described, it's always worth it and i also buy 3 baskets a week =)

                    2. re: Jack Flash
                      Professor Salt May 13, 2009 11:47 AM

                      Thanks for the Harry's rec. I picked up some of their Gaviotas at the Torrance farmer's market yesterday. They have a handwritten sign explaining that Gaviotas are softer and sweeter than Seascapes, and they are. Very flavorful, sweet and because of their softish texture, readily give up their juices in the mouth.

                      Three pints seemed like a lot to buy for my small family, but we inhaled two of them by the end of the night. Compared to a simliar quantity of crappy supermarket berries, which we never manage to eat before they go bad, I guess $15 for really good Gaviotas is money well spent.

                    3. y
                      young_chower May 7, 2009 04:58 PM

                      I bought some great tasty strawberries from the Torrance Farmer's market. They were from the Nakamura Farm (I'm butchering the spelling but it's something like that) stand, which is on the south side of the market, somewhere in the middle or so. They claim they don't use any pesticides. I bought 3 containers for $5. Great flavor... I'm still eating through the strawberry pie I made from them!

                      1. Will Owen May 7, 2009 05:46 PM

                        I made strawberry shortcakes for the family Easter lunch from berries I bought at the Pasadena Saturday FM...and I was buying berries there for a month before that. Not at their peak, maybe, but damn good anyway. I get them from the folks who have the space backing up to the playing field, mostly because I get them for Papa and that's who he likes.

                        1. Kitchen Queen May 7, 2009 10:32 PM

                          If you have the time get 'em straight from the source -
                          I work in Camarillo and see the berry pickers every morning. You can drive up the 101 and exit off Central. Right on the corner you'll find a nice bunch of guys who sell that mornings pick. 1/2 flat (6 very full baskets) is 12$ and a full flat is 20$ - Huge, juicy, meaty and very strawberryish in flavor. You can also approach from the other direction as well by taking the 5 through Valencia and exiting off to Hwy 126 (just past Magic Mtn Pkwy) drive about 10 minutes W to the first or second kiosk shop called Francisco's. This is a lovely group of young women and they sell the 1/2 flat for 9.99$ and a full for 20$. It's worth the drive in either direction. These kiosks sell other things too. At the one in Camarillo off Central, there's fabulous flower bouquets for 5$, other friuts and fabulous veges. When I was there a few weeks ago, I bought beefsteak tomatoes that were really awesome. :)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Kitchen Queen
                            Wolfgang May 8, 2009 10:00 AM


                            Do you get them from Miriam's, the stand on the East / mountain side of the freeway or from the shack on the west/ocean side of the freeway at the Central exit?

                            1. re: Wolfgang
                              Kitchen Queen May 8, 2009 11:10 PM

                              I get them mountain side right off the freeway. I asked the chaps there for the mornings pick and they go to the shelf in the back. I bought a whole flat for Passover and they were 5* quality. Also bought a beautiful bouquet with those yummy smelling stargazers for 5$!! Was tempted again today as the heat lifted a sweet aroma through the air.

                          2. h
                            heckonwheels May 8, 2009 08:07 AM

                            Got the best I've had all season last night at the La Verne Farmer's Market. $6 for three baskets.

                            1. Das Ubergeek May 8, 2009 01:19 PM

                              They're everywhere. Any farmers' market will be overrun with strawberries. I just bought some from the farm stand on Sunkist and Cerritos in Anaheim (a quarter mile from the Honda Centre), picked about an hour ago and $2.50 a punnet. They're going for $2 a punnet at the Irvine Farmers' Market (Saturdays 8-noon, Bridge and Stanford near UCI).

                              1. WildSwede May 11, 2009 12:50 PM

                                Believe it or not, I bought some of the best strawberries I have ever had at the Fresh and Easy in Arcadia yesterday. As my mom bit into one, her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she said "now THAT is what a strawberry should taste like!".

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