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Any good strawberries yet this year?

I fondly remember the big gorgeous strawberries I used to get at my favorite farmers market (no longer in existence).

Stopped by the new tiny farmers market in Marinwood Sat. and saw two vendors selling strawberries. The berries didn't look very promising but I bought a box anyway ($3.50).

Had some for breakfast, and they didn't taste any better than they looked. Small, seedy, and none too sweet.

So -- is it a weather thing? Too early in the season? Are there great berries at other markets this year?

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  1. Temescal Farmers Market 5/9/10
    Organic Lucero with stems, $3.50/pint

    2 Replies
    1. re: oaktowngirl

      I dunno - maybe it's just me, but I haven't been very impressed by Lucero's berries, pretty as they are. Especially when comparison-tasted alongside some other offerings at the farmers' markets, I've found them gritty and lacking in strawberry-ness. The Saturday Berkeley farmers' market did a free strawberry tasting a year or two ago (pretty sure they do it every year), and it was eye-opening to me how much better many of the other berries were, compared with the ones that got all the popular attention (Lucero, even Swanton was just OK) - Catalan had one of the best-tasting ones then, and I still prefer them to Lucero.

      1. re: Spatlese

        Who has the best berries varies from year to year & sometimes week to week within the season. I do remember there was one year that Catalan pretty much kicked ass all summer long. But Lucero & Swanton are always in my taste tests, & both of them win frequently. I agree recently Lucero has had the best-looking berries but the flavor hasn't quite come in yet. Overall it has been a late season. I'm sure we will have great strawberries from all 3 farms very soon.

    2. They are just starting to show up now. I saw some at a couple of farmers markets this week. Those market strawberries looked oversized and a little fake so I skipped them. But I picked some this weekend in Sonoma County that were amazing.

      1. The farmers Market at the College of San Mateo had several vendors selling really good looking strawberries. Overall it is a pretty good market too.

        College of San Mateo
        1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: Cheshire_Cat

          I have tried all the vendors at the CSM market selling strawberries, and IMO the best ones are from Nunez Organic Farms.

        2. Maybe this will be of interest:

          Free strawberry tasting on Saturday May 15
          Berkeley Farmers' Market, Center St. at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley.

          1. Cold weather. The ones I tasted and bought this week were the best yet for the season but they're well short of peak ripeness. I thought the best at the Berkeley Saturday market were the Swanton second crop (smaller berries).

            1. I generally avoid strawberries like hte plague because most comersh ones are loaded with chemicals and pesticides.

              I do recommend Kitty Dolcini's organic ones grown on the Pt Reyes Petaluma road and sold onsite. They haven't come in yet. but they will soon.

              1. The strawberry stand on the Silverado Trail, just north of Trancas on the west side, has been harvesting ripe, sweet berries for about three weeks. Even the big ones are red throughout, and so very tasty. Cole's and other Napa restaurants feature these berries on their dessert menus.

                1 Reply
                1. re: jimtak

                  Second that, needed something to show after not finding Raymond Cheese up the road on Friday. My wife also liked the cherries from that stand.

                2. Their was a vendor at Sat's San Mateo Farmers Market that was selling Chandler, Albion and Sea-something(?) varities. Sorry, didn't catch the name. Except for one vendor who was selling 3 boxes/$5, everyone else was 3 for $7. This vendor was 3 for $8. The Chandlers were astounding. Well worth the extra buck.

                  Also, it was Galetti Bros' first week selling cherries (Brooks). However, I thought they were too tart and passed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. Lake Merritt farmers' market this past Saturday had the best I've had yet this season (which is not to say they were super-sweet). I believe the vendor was County Line Harvest. The Seascapes were mild, pleasant and fairly sweet, but the Chandlers were tastier and sweeter -- and softer than the rather crunchy strawberries I've had recently. Chandlers were good to eat, but perhaps even better for cooking -- they made fairly tasty jam.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bgbc

                      Has anyone bought strawberries from these guys setting shop on the street corners of SF? I've seen them on Lake/15th Ave, Blanken/Tunnel near the CalTrain stop, Persia/Dublin, etc... I've never bothered to ask how much they are. Some of them are also selling oranges and mangoes.

                    2. I've been buying excellent organic Chandlers at the Campbell farmers market for the last couple of Sundays (2 boxes for $6, 3 for $8). Chandlers are really strawberry-flavored strawberries, if you know what I mean! I don't remember what the farm's name is, though. I'm sure they sell at other markets as well.

                      1 Reply
                        1. I've been testing the berries at the strawberry patch on higway 12 in kenwood, sonoma for the last few weeks. After being so so for a few weeks they excelled last w'enk following hte hot sun. I think the rian y'day will take away the flavor until we get another spell of heat. In general you want to correlate flavor expectations to weather - alittle rain followed by a couple of days of hot sun brings out the flavor -

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sonomajom

                            are the kenwood strawberries organically grown? at least pesticide-free?


                            1. re: Columba

                              pesticide free but not oficially organic

                          2. A few days ago I got a basket of big beautiful berries from United Market in San Rafael. They turned out to be kind of bland.

                            United Market
                            515 3rd St, San Rafael, CA 94901

                            1. There are some pretty good berries at both Bi-Rite and Rainbow right now. They're tiny, juicy, and sweet. They'll be even better as the season progresses, but if you need a berry fix, these should do the trick.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: possumspice

                                Did you happen to see which farm Rainbow has right now? They had Alba a few weeks ago; they often have Swanton and Sandpiper, but I haven't seen either yet this year. The Albas they had didn't look quite as ripe as the Albas a friend bought at Monterrey Market.

                                Whoever is the produce buyer at Rainbow that gets the strawberries is definitely chowish.

                                1. re: SteveG

                                  Rainbow had swantons last weekend, and they weren't flavorful at all.