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Local strawberries - am I the only one disappointed this year?

Is it just me, or are they not as good as last year's? I've bought twice now and both have been not too sweet, on the tart side and very mushy. Is it the weather, or just my luck? Curious to know if others are finding the same thing.

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  1. I had some local strawberries in Windsor and they looked great, but were less tasty than the imported ones. They were also very small in comparison, which is fine. It's a bummer that the imported ones taste better. I'd much rather buy locally grown produce, when it's in season.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 1sweetpea

      I've had good local strawberries, three weeks in a row, from vendors both inside and just outside the north (farmer's) premises on Saturdays at the St. Lawrence Market ($5-6 a basket). And I expect them to get even better as we get deeper into the growing season within the next few weeks. They're small, sweet and not mushy at all. And, if you don't wash the berries till just before you're ready to use them, a basket will last about a week without the berries disintegrating into softness.

      -----
      St. Lawrence Market
      92 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E, CA

      1. re: 1sweetpea

        Actually, for a sweeter berry, you actually want a smaller better. Size does matter in strawberries...smaller is better.

      2. They haven't been great, have they? I feel like proper strawberry season hasn't fully kicked off yet, though, so maybe things will pick up.

        3 Replies
        1. re: ljamunds

          I agree. I usually don't really enjoy them until mid-July. Or I wait until the end of August and pick fraises des bois at my camp.

          SWS

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            The season is over by July. Jut a few everbearing left.

            1. re: jayt90

              No-I beg to differ. Its not necessarily over by mid-July. It depends on the weather patterns and also how "North" you are. Personally, I prefer Northern Ontario berries over Southern Ontario ones. Bigger flavour profile. This board isn't just about Toronto.

              SWS

        2. Yes - my friend brought some in that he bought from the market (not sure which one) and it was a big tart let down as soon as we ate the first one. Hopefully the ones in my garden will taste better.....

          2 Replies
          1. re: pinkprimp

            I'm happy to know that it's not just me selecting duds. We bought 2 weeks in a row at the Danforth Woodbine Farmers Market and not impressed. I had to pitch almost half from yesterday's purchase, and the rest were just bleh.

            I would have thought our weather would have been perfect for berries but maybe it's early yet. I also bought twice from the same person and thought maybe it was just his - but seems not the case.

            I can still recall last year's bounty - they were wonderful. I'm not giving up hope just yet.
            Sigh....maybe next week. Fingers crossed.

            1. re: millygirl

              Of course, there is the possibility that my friend is also buying from the same person and thus the unimpressive results... ;-p I will ask.

              (on a somewhat related note, i hope tomatoes and peaches are still good this growing season because i spend a good portion of the year looking forward to stuffing myself silly with GOOD tomatoes and peaches during the short weeks they are available)

              toes crossed too. please do post if you manage to find good strawberries!!

          2. Anyone remember the little tiny wild strawberries? When I was a kid, I have a vague memory of really tiny little wild strawberries that were just packed with flavor. My memory was jogged when someone on another forum mentioned them. What are these elusive berries, and why aren't they for sale anywhere? They packed such a flavor punch

            Am I hallucinating? Does anyone else remember these?

            11 Replies
            1. re: duckdown

              See my post above. You can also get them at the St. Lawrence market. There was a vendor that I purchased them from last year. I can't recall who though...

              1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                @SWS Darn, I never get to St. Lawrence market, I'm out in Peel.. do you know if they have a different name? What do they sell those tiny berries as? so delicious and sweet

                1. re: duckdown

                  They were not as tiny as the wild strawberries, but they were much smaller than the typical commercial hybrid and mis-shaped. The vendor was from a farm in London-a woman. I'm sorry I cannot recall her name. They were spectacular, the best I've had from Southern Ontario and the closest in flavour to the wild ones up North.

              2. re: duckdown

                They aren't good commercially, too small, too hard to find or pick.
                But you can get your own on hillsides or meadows, right about now.

                1. re: jayt90

                  @jayt90 I wish I knew some hillsides or meadows to find them! All the fields around here are now suburban complexes, friggin Brampton.. So I guess they're not readily available at any Peel or Oakville stores :(

                  1. re: duckdown

                    Why don't you give the Brampton, Caledon or Georgetown farmers' markets a try?

                    1. re: Tatai

                      Never knew if any of them were any good.. and I hear you gotta be up pretty early in the morning too! I sleep till noon :D

                  2. re: jayt90

                    The more rain you get, the worse the strawberries get, and all the rain of late has coincided exactly with the start of strawberry season. I got the first day's crop in Prince Edward County a week-and-a-half ago, just as the storm clouds were moving in. They were incredible—concentrated flavour, juicy, I actually said the words "oh my god" as I had the first one, and ran back for another two pints. I'm fairly certain they're the last good strawberries I'll have this year.

                  3. re: duckdown

                    In early July, I find these little tiny taste sensations for sale near my cottage, which is mid-way between Peterborough and Bancroft. They're usually around for less than two weeks.

                    1. re: 1sweetpea

                      @1sweetpea lucky you!! I remember them from when I was a small child, I desperately want to re-live the moment and find some.. Thats a great way to describe it, taste sensation

                    2. re: duckdown

                      A little treatise on the difference between the wild strawberries and garden strawberries is here:

                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7007...

                    3. It's early. Weather, so far, hasn't been maximal. Should be better in a week or two if the temps go up and the rain doesn't drown 'em.