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Jun 14, 2009 03:18 PM

LI Strawberry festivals?

OK, getting a bit late for this, but any recommendations?
I'd been to a couple over the last year or so--one I recall in the North Bellmore area, I think by the Lion's Club or something like that--and been very disappointed. The strawberries were from Driscoll's in California! Geez, if I'm going to a LI strawberry festival, I want LI strawberries. Not to mention that the rest of the fest consisted of the usual craft stands and kiddie rides. Ho-hum.

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  1. I stopped going to the Mattituck festival a few years ago after about 3 straight years of California strawberries being served. I agree -- what's the point? Now, we just take the weekend to go to U-Picks. I will begrudgingly admit that the quality of the Driscoll's have improved over the past few years. They used to be entirely tasteless; now they DO taste like strawberries. Better living through genetic manipulation, I suppose.

    1. While your Driscoll's Strawberries were probably grown and picked in California at this time of year, not all berries distributed by Driscoll's are grown in California. You can enter the tracking number on the Driscoll's clamshell on the website to find out where your berries were grown.

      Driscoll's strawberry breeding program is the largest in the world. We are constantly developing and testing new varieties. All our new variety development is done the old fashioned way - cross fertilization of berry plants. Enjoy!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Bleacher Dave

        In my particular case, the boxes at the stands specifically stated that they were a product of California. That's OK for the supermarket out of season, but when you're going to a local strawberry festival it's shameful.

        1. re: Bleacher Dave

          Hi Dave, Just want to compliment Driscoll's for all their organic berries, which are very sweet and delicious. Thanks for the time and effort you've invested to provide a viable alternative in a difficult competitive marketplace.

          1. re: Bleacher Dave

            Nice to hear from the source. Since the difference between the out of season strawberries I was used to having just 10 years ago and the ones I tasted a few months ago were so stark, I presumed there was some technological leap at work. Good job Driscolls!

            1. re: Bleacher Dave

              I think Driscoll's and the other berry distributors have really stepped up the quality over the past 2-3 years. Between CA, FL, and Mexico there's almost a year-round supply of decent strawberries at reasonable prices. The FL berries available in the East can have a very good flavor, but I think that's more due to spending 1 or 2 days less in the truck than anything else. But FL is a lot like local berries, a very short season and then it's too hot down there. We really depend on coastal CA for an almost constant supply.

            2. I live on the North Fork and I don't think this year's crop of strawberries have much taste. This is the lousiest spring weather we've had in a very long time and the berries reflect that.

              18 Replies
              1. re: msv

                I hadn't even thought of this year's crop, the weather has been so lousy. I posted last year, almost to the day, that the LI crop had very little flavor (looked great, no taste). That's two years in a row of subpar strawberries! A real shame.

                1. re: msv

                  I totally disagree (respectfully of course) the strawberries out here this year are awesome! I even found some beautiful ones growing wild in my yard for the first time. They are so deliciousthat I bought two quarts the other day and made preserves, and I haven't done that in years. I've been getting them at the same farm in Riverhead, maybe he has a different variety?

                    1. re: Scott_R

                      Just north of Home Depot on Mill Road, just passed by and he was all stocked up (grows them himself). Also ask if he has any Carolina tomatoes, they are as close to summer as you will get right now, we've been pigging out!

                      1. re: coll

                        I love their tomatoes! I get them every year, however haven't been this year, because i've been growing my own. I'll have to remember his strawberries next June. I have to say, I spent twelve dollars on a box of nectarines from Wickhams and was not that pleased.

                        1. re: chowareyou

                          I grew a couple of tomato plants on the porch, heirlooms (got at Peconic Herb), one very spindly with two tomatoes, the other heartier with maybe a dozen but some have blossom end rot. Good thing there are so many farm stands around: pricewise hard to beat Bayview.

                          1. re: coll

                            Speaking of Bayview, you have to try their goatmilk soap products. It's a white bottle with maroon lettering. It's in their backroom. They make nice gifts if you get a few different products. Guess what? This year my tomatoes didn't do much of anything. I got them at Glass Greenhouse in Jamesport.

                            1. re: chowareyou

                              That hot spell probably knocked the life out of them. The goatmilk soap is probably Catapano's, they sell it at Agway too, I love that back room and always forget when I need a unique gift.

                              1. re: coll

                                Nope. It's not Catapanos. It has a french name I think. Catapanos is more down-home. This is more commercial. That back room is interesting. I always wonder who buys all that john deere stuff they have. Checkout the little country store in Jamesport or the gift shoppe on the side of LLK in Mattituck. That one is pricey though. Thank God for Home Goods lol

                                1. re: chowareyou

                                  Home goods, Target and TJ Maxx, plus Tangers Mall is probably why I never remember to go the ye olde country gift shoppes. And if I was going to buy John Deere (nothing runs like a Deere!) I'd just go straight to the source on Edwards Ave I guess.

                                  Well I'll keep the goat milk products in mind, with the holidays coming up. It's so rare to find anything special in that dept.

                                  1. re: coll

                                    It is Canus. That is the brand. I just came across it in Sayville last Sat. I just did the whole circuit of stores this week after work. You know how the weekends are! Back to food, I have to say the salad bar at schmidts in East hampton is really good! The stuff is fresh and it's maintained, very clean. There is a vast array of items. I really enjoyed it today. Their mashed potatoes are quite good as well. I find their sandwiches really overpriced. Considering you can get an entire hero sandwich at My Butcher (opposite Foccacia place in Wading River) for twelve dollars. They make the sandwich on an entire loaf of Italian bread. It is huge. You can feed a few people off of that sandwich. Schmidts charges for lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. I think I ordered roast beef once on bread, with nothing on it and it came to almost nine dollars. Definitely try a whole hero from My Butcher. You will not be disappointed and Pete the owner and staff are SO nice!

                                    1. re: chowareyou

                                      Everything is so overpriced at Schmidts, but the quality is always impeccable. It's the best place locally to get proscuitto, when I feel like paying $25/lb. I didn't know they had a place in Easthampton, I always go to Southampton, and I know they opened a fish market just up the road from there too.

                                      I used to go to My Butcher when I could afford $30 a lb for prime steak. I know Pete, and his brother too (doesn't work there) but never bought anything from the deli section. I'll keep it in mind! But wow, is that how much delis get for heroes now? I guess one on an entire loaf of bread could feed a couple of people, but do they sell halves? I usually go to Wading River Deli, they make a nice Italian hero on normal hero bread if you're not that hungry.

                                      Wading River Deli
                                      6263 Route 25A, Wading River, NY 11792

                                      1. re: coll

                                        Oh yes, they sell halves. I like his lamb sausage as well. Not like Villa Italian Specialities in East Hampton, that sells lamb sausage with pork in it. As far as the seafood Schmidts, I did stop by there two weeks ago and tried their soup. I think it was a lobster bisque. They gave me a taste because they had just made a batch, and it was good! I drive by there every day and can tell they have done a renovation on the inside. I still go to Cor-J for fish though. Coll, today I went to the Old Cider Mill in Laurel to get a thanksgiving pie. OMG the smell when you walk in there is to DIE for. The blueberry crumb is magnificent so I would imagine the rest is all good. They are only open two more weeks so please try to get in there. They are open tomorrow until two. Honestly, the smell is so divine, you won't want to leave the place. Happy TG!

                                        1. re: chowareyou

                                          Well that's a great holiday present. I never even heard of Old Cider Mill and will take a ride, I need to get out and about after this weekend anyway. I'm really picky about pies, I hope they are better than any farm pies I've tried lately. But all set with home baked pies this weekend, and everything else too I guess. It'll be awhile til there's any room in the fridge I'd say! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and hope everyone has an abundance of eats.

                                          Have you been to Mastic Seafood?

                                          1. re: coll

                                            Hey Coll, I have been so busy with the holiday preparations, that I haven't been on. I went to the cider mill and it's actually called Hallock's Cider Mill. It is closed until spring now, but I know you are going to like it. I tried the blueberry crumb and the apple crumb and was very pleased. The place smells to die for. I can't wait til you try it. Good luck with the aftermath of this blizzard! So windy!!

                                            1. re: chowareyou

                                              I have to go to Jamesport this week so will seek it out. Sounds heavenly. Just took the garbage out and thought I might blow away, and I'm not a skinny little thing anymore. Thank goodness we only got about 6 inches.

                    2. re: coll

                      Good to know. As I said, last year was awful. Looks like a jaunt out East is inevitable.

                      1. re: sbp

                        Just picked up my CSA share and there was a pint of strawberries. Smallish and tasty--not the best I've had, but enjoyable.

                  1. We picked up our share on Friday from the Hamlet Organic Garden in Brookhaven and were super-pleased with the strawberries. All of them had great flavor; red throughout the berry, very little white. There sizes ranged from large to small; Driscoll's Strawberries are more extra-large.

                    We were concerned that with all the rain that the crop would go to waste, but so far it has been very good.